Sheridan stood at the helm of the truck bed, his face taut and dry, his lips cracked, the crisp wind whipping through his graying hair. Far from the cloistered life of his quiet bookshop, the experience of the open road stoked his relic-hunting instincts. His dormant senses began to stir. The dullness began to part. He could feel the shift, a current of energy pulsing through his torpid body. His latent muscles began to flex with strength. His lungs expanded with renewed breath. The muted monaural sounds of the caravan expanded with the depth and breadth of three-dimensional resonance. In the firm grip of his hand, holding fast to a makeshift railing of two-inch pipe, the dimpled metal’s paint and rust read like Shakespeare in Braille.
Sheridan pulled his leather jacket tight, his wind-chilled fingers fumbling with the top button. He turned a closed mind to the sensory overload, retiring to his preferred haunt of solitude. Withdrawing deeper still to a familiar retreat of unlit grief; he entered a solitary dungeon where unanswered questions sustained an inescapable longing. And there, in that secluded darkness, it appeared. It was tiny, infinitesimal really, no more than a spark, like the intermittent flicker of a firefly. But in a black cesspool of misery it shown like a lighthouse on a distant shore. It had been the last presence to forsake him and one he had swore he would never welcome again. He had once longed to be visited by the captivating light but in his darkest hour he had grown to distrust its counsel and resent its company. Yet there it was once again—the glimmering light of hope.
Sheridan knew why it had suddenly chosen to make its appearance; it was always the ready companion of a dream. But for Sheridan this expedition bore none of the illusions of a dream. It was a Hail-Mary pass, a last ditch effort, Sheridan’s last stand. For dreams required faith and carried a price he no longer could afford. Sheridan began to think on these things when, from the depths of his emptiness, a melody arose to accompany his poignant reflection:
Sheridan’s dance with disenchantment came to an end when he realized the song had no ending, just the endless loop of a disappointing refrain.
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