A Sammie Light Tale
By John Pirillo
Sammie dropped the stone as if he had been burned, causing his mop of blonde hair, which was dripping wet from the heat to fall into his eyes.
He eyed the desert uncertainly. His eyes matched the blueness of the skies as he searched the Joshua trees extending as far as the eye could see. He had driven to the Mojave Desert from Las Vegas on his electric bike. He had pulled an electric motor, and hooked it up to the gears of the back wheel of the back, packed on two solar batteries capable of powering it, alternating between the two, and set up a scratch generator that would generate power whenever he slowed down, turned or braked. Between the solar power and the scratch generator he had enough power to go the distance. It was just one of his inventions he found time to fool around with in his garage whenever spare time allowed, which wasn't often since he was involved in Baseball, Track, Swimming and Football, as well as DJ'd the dances at school whenever he could. Sometimes it helped to be the tallest guy at the school.
He had a busy life. Maybe it was because he had such an active mind, or maybe it was because he saw so much more than most people did. You see, Sammie was spiritually aware. Some call people like that psychic, but it's just another name for someone who can see the dead, the future, the past and auras among many other things.
Sammie had gone with Jimbo numerous times to visit psychics only to find out that they were smoke and mirrors and it was easy to see why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle spent the latter part of his life exposing them, because they preyed on the weak minded and the ignorant.
"What do you think, Sammie?" He asked himself, swatting a huge fly from his forehead where beads of sweat were drizzling down from the hot sun overhead. "Home or stone?"
He tossed a coin, and then caught it on the back of his elbow. Heads. "Stone."
He pulled his electric bike further off the dirt path he had followed from the 15 South and parked it against a large Joshua Tree in the shade so the handlebars wouldn't scald his fingers and palms, and then he searched the brush for a time, making a kind of weaving pattern of search and seize. Lately he had been able to tune into which rocks to try first, but still got disappointed occasionally when the rocks proved to be only whiffs...not true impressions, such as the first one he had experienced.
Sometimes he was able to get a glimpse into the far past. Once he had seen a miner fall into the open hole of his own silver mine, another miner with a smoking gun in his hand and a nasty grin on his face. That dead miner had risen from his grave and attached himself to the violent one who had struck him dead with a bullet. Smiling at the man he was now settling over, he had said. "And now I'm going to haunt you until the day you die, you bastard coyote sonuva bitch!"
That was Sammie's first clue that people didn't just die, but that they also made choices. They could stay on the earth or go on...into a kind of tunnel of white light. He had seen one of those just weeks ago and was still trying to figure out the mechanics of that, but the possession thing, that truly frightened him. How could one know they were possessed, if the spirit attached to them became part of them?
He shook his head. Not his problem to solve. Yet.
He found his rock. It lay next to a rusty arrowhead that had been dug up by a prairie dog as it made its hole next to a Joshua tree. The dog looked out at him from its hole and began scalding him for interrupting its peace and quiet.
"Sorry, little guy." He told it, and then dropped to a knee. He plucked a bag of peanuts from his wind jacket and laid out a course of them near the hole. The prairie dog squeaked at him as if saying, "Not that easy I'm not!" Then the little guy swiftly grabbed a nut and disappeared into its hole. Several moments later it peeked out to see if Sammie was still there and watching, then shot out and grabbed another peanut. It repeated its forays for food until all the nuts were gone. It vanished into its hole a long time, and Sammie thought he could grab the stone t hen, but as he started to reach the prairie dog stuck its head out and began scalding him again.
Sighing, Sammie put a mound of nuts in the palm of his hand and laid it down before him. The prairie dog cocked an eye on him, then on the nuts. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. It crept over slowly, its tail bouncing, and then stiffening tensely as it neared his palm of nuts. Finally, it sniffed at his palm, made a coughing, wheezing sound, then reached out with its dainty front paws, took a nut and without running, began to eat the nuts until they were all gone. Finished, it laid down next to his palm, its eyes on his face.
"You're really cute." Sammie told it.
The prairie dog made a tiny barking sound like laughter, swished its tail, gave him a quick nuzzle with its nose on his wrist, then flung itself back into its hole.
Sammie laughed, and then grabbed the stone.
Sammie stood before a vast lake that shimmered over the desert. It had snowed this winter, but the hot sun had started melting it and distributing its drizzling remains across the desert floor, allowing tiny pools of water and ponds to form. He looked at his hands and noticed he had a bow and arrow in them.
He raised his palms and saw they were weathered and quite reddish brown, as if baked in an oven. He squinted to the East and saw the smoky mountains in the distance and brief flares of lighting and then distant thunders.
"We must get home, Bright Feather." His companion told him.
He turned to look in the face of an older man. His father. Chief Sky in the Clouds. He was the oldest of their tribe and its leader. He put a hand warmly on his son's bow hand. "Don't feel bad, Bright Feather, there will be other days to hunt. But the storm is coming and I fear it will be a nasty one."
They rushed across the desert, jogging, making good time, but the storm clouds were already sweeping overhead. Lances of lightning struck the ground behind them, sending blasts of warm air at their heels.
"The Sky Father is angry with us, father." He said.
"No. We were foolish not to have run sooner." His father said, and then stumbled as a bolt of lightning as bright as the sun flung itself into his back, lancing him from behind.
He stopped and dropped beside his father, who lay still. His back was smoking. His father looked up in to his eyes. "Run, Bright Feather. Run. The Sky Father comes for us both this day." And then his spirit departed. He could see his father rise like smoke from the smoldering body and leap onto a sky pony and fling into the skies high above the bastard storm and lightning.
Sammie found himself lying beside the Joshua tree; the prairie dog was licking on his face and making fearful sounds. When his eyes opened, it scampered away a safe distance and began scalding him. Foolish human, leave the dead to the dead.
Sammie smiled. It was more likely saying "How about some more peanuts?"
Sammie groaned. His forehead was cut from grazing the sharp blades of the Joshua tree, but he would survive. He groaned again, and then rose to his feet. He took the rest of the bag of peanuts, and then sprinkled them all before the prairie dog, which immediately began eating them; stopping only to give him a quick bark of thanks or scalding, then continue eating again.
Sammie found his electric bike, pulled it to the dirt path he had driven into the desert on and started it. He drove off, pondering what he had seen. He didn't get far when something caught his eye. He stopped the bike, and got off. He tramped about three yards into the rougher part of the desert, avoiding holes and drop-offs until he found the broken wood he had spotted. It was ancient and rotting. But there was no question it was the remains of a bow.
He stooped to pick it up.
Sammie ran and ran and ran, but the lightning strikes were coming closer and closer. He saw the safety of a clump of Joshua Trees and headed for it, but before he could reach them he was lit up like a gigantic bonfire for a tribal feast. He felt his spirit flung from his body. He turned to look back and saw his body laying on the desert floor, smoking, and his sparse clothing on fire.
"Bright Fire." His father said. "I warned you to run quickly."
He turned around. His father stood before a huge tunnel of white light, smiling. He opened his eyes. "Come my son, we have much to talk about in our new home."
"I'm afraid, Father."
His father smiled. "Sky Father waits for us. See?"
He pointed to the white tunnel of light and a huge warrior with a very kind face stood there, smiling at them. His right hand held a large eagle feather that glowed with a golden light. His left hand held a beautiful white owl. "He is very handsome, father."
"Yes. Come. Your mother is waiting for us too."
He felt like weeping. "She is..."
His father smiled even more broadly. "...Waiting for us. See?"
His mother stepped from the tunnel of white light and opened her arms to him. He wept for joy and raced to her, letting her hold him close to her bosom. He wept and wept and wept. His father came and held t hem both close. "We are tired of this desert, son. Let us go to the land where cold and ice, hot and dark are no more."
His father let go and he and his mother stepped into the tunnel of White Light.
Sammie stumbled uncertainly, almost losing his balance, letting the bow drop to the ground. It was no longer needed on this world or the next. He wiped at tears in his own eyes and smiled. He looked up into the skies and waved as what could have been two Indian braves rode a Sky Pony in the bright sunlight into the clouds.