It was now noon and the sun was beating down cruelly on the man, he trudged forward as well as he was able through the unforgiving terrain. Not used to this much exercise, Andrew was sweating profusely. Taking shallow breathes through his parched and chapped lips, he struggled to keep moving. Although he wanted to take a small sip of water badly, he ignored his dried and swollen tongue. He knew that running out of water in such a place would mean dying of thirst. Pacing himself, he walked for two hours, than rested for fifteen minutes, rewarding himself with a small sip of water. Now on his second day of walking, he was beginning to feel hopeless about his situation. Although he was nowhere near running out of food or water he knew he didn’t have the stamina to keep up his pathetically slow pace. Spying a boulder, he decided that he would rest until night, and then resume his journey. Using his blanket, he set up a lean-to to shade him from the harsh light of the sun. Sitting with his back to the boulder, he closed his tired eyes and tried to get a little rest before nightfall.
“Awoohh!” the howl echoed throughout the chilly night air waking Andrew up from his fitful sleep. Startled, he reached for his tire iron and gingerly looked outside his lean-to, involuntarily shivering and holding his breath as he listened for any approaching predators. Only the sound of his heart beat could be heard, as it reverberated throughout the lean-to while he gripped the tire iron like his life depended on it. Slowly getting up, he scanned the darkness looking for the source of the howling that had woken him up. Thirty seconds later, howls nowhere as loud as the one that woke him echoed through the crisp night air. Realizing he was far away from the owners of the howls, the office workers relaxed, and prepared to resume his trek towards the mountains.
Thanks to the full moon illuminating his path, and the cool night air kissing his sunburnt skin. Andrew found that walking at night rather than day was much easier. The gravel beneath his feet crunched, as he plodded towards mountains that seemed like they would never come any closer. His legs and joints felt as if they were on fire, but he had no choice but to move forward. As he walked, he noticed that there seemed to be less scrub and more leafy plants now. Stooping to investigate some of the vegetation, he found nothing edible. But on a closer investigation, decided that the broad shape of the leaves was a sign that water was near. Feeling that he might find a source of fresh water soon, he began picking up his pace.
Three hours later, Andrew discovered what looked like an old trail that headed to the northwest. Deciding to follow the path, he was shortly rewarded by seeing signs of civilization. Namely a sign covered with faded and illegible lettering, standing on the side of the path. About a quarter mile ahead of his position, the road dipped into a small valley ahead. Desperate for relief from his travels, he began pushing himself forward trying to reach the bend as quickly as he could. In his haste to reach the valley, he tripped over something. Picking himself up and dusting off his pants, he looked down at what had tripped him. Half buried in the dirt was a tiny bleached skull unlike any that had ever seen before. If he didn’t know better he might have thought it belonged to a cat, but the teeth were all wrong they belonged to an herbivore. Plus, it had a small, singular, spiral horn that had grown out of the middle of the forehead, almost as if it belonged to a baby unicorn or something.
“Weird,” was all Andrew could say, as he tried examining the tiny skull in the dim lighting provided by the moon. Stopping to look for the rest of the skeleton, he pawed at the dusty earth. After about twenty minutes, he decided to give up and continued his trek toward civilization. Placing the tiny skull with the rest of his things on his makeshift sled, he resumed he journey. Filled with cheer over the prospect of getting a proper bed, he had a small spring in his step as he walked. Once he reached the bend he stopped.
Looking down at the valley, he saw what appeared to be a ghost town full of weeds and collapsing buildings. Andrew’s disappointment was palpable as he moaned out loud, “Man… I just can’t catch any breaks, can I?” he asked himself.
Deciding that the town might have a source of fresh water, Andrew decided to camp here for the next day to rest and recuperate from his travels. Approaching the town, all he could hear was the occasional sound of the derelict buildings settling. Occasionally, he heard a door open or close. Hearing the unexpected sounds made him freeze, as he tightly gripped his tire iron. He kept reminding himself, “It’s just the wind. It’s just the wind. It’s just the wind, I hope…” he chanted quietly to himself, as he cautiously approached the town.
Once inside the town square he found something rather peculiar, all the buildings seemed too small. “That’s odd,” he thought to himself. “Did I stumble on a midget ghost town?”
Checking the buildings, Andrew noticed an odd theme, horses. In fact even the dried up fountain in the middle of town shared this feature. Three small horse statues or more likely ponies were in various poses in the middle of the fountain. One of the statues had outstretched wings that seemed to want to fly off the fountain’s pedestal. The second bore a horn, just like the skull he found earlier. It was rearing it’s front legs high in the air, as if it was challenging some unknown foe. The last statue had neither a horn nor wings, and seemed much sturdier than the other two. It was bucking with both hind legs while it’s mane flew wildly. As he inspecting the old statues, something at the bottom of the fountain caught his eye. The moonlight was being reflected off something metal. Bending down to pick it up, he found what appeared to be a dusty gold coin. Inspecting it further, he found the face of the coin had two winged and horned horses chasing each other in a circle. Flipping the coin over, he saw that the back of the coin contained some sort of foreign script. Deciding to inspect the coin later he placed it in his pocket and looked for someplace to hole up for the night. Lying against the fountain, the tired, lost man slowly drifted off to sleep, to dream of happier times.