The Eagle's Nest


"Aquila the Eagle"

Echoes From The Past (Part II)
(A Ghost Story)

When I left Yucca Valley, the "Time and Temperature" sign at the bank on Joshua Lane had read 100 degrees. Now, with the car struggling up the ever increasing incline, and the air conditioner running at full force, the needle on the temperature gauge on the dashboard was edging dangerously close to the top.
"Time to rough it", I thought, as I took the last mouthful from the first can of Coke, turned off the air, and opened the window. The first rush of hot air hit me in the face like a blast furnace, so I reached for the second can of soda and downed it in one long, satisfying drink.
"Gotta' remember to stretch the next one", I said to myself. "No telling what I'll be able to get to drink in Pioneertown".

As I continued up the hill, I started to take notice of the surrounding landscape. What forces of nature could have torn these rocks apart, and then put them back together again, so snugly that they don't even move?
At this point, I realized that something strange was happening. I don't know if it was the heat getting to me or what, but the different rock formations seemed to take on a personality and an entity of their own. As I looked at each one I started to name them.
"That one looks like a 'Gatekeeper'" , I mused, "those two look like 'Sentinels' and I'll call that one 'The Guardian'"
I suddenly realized that I was talking out loud to no one in particular.
"Hold on, BJ", I thought, "get a hold of yourself. The rocks are not people and you've got to cool down. Only one soda left, and that's probably warm by now".
"By now! How long have I been driving?", I shouted. "This was supposed to be a twenty minute trip and it seems like an hour".

And then I saw a group of rocks that really frightened me. It seemed to breathe on it's own and had a look about it of pure evil. I shuddered as I seemed to be looking directly at Satan himself. his dark eyes peering into space. It had to be 115 degrees in the car and I was breaking out in a cold sweat. As I accelerated the car to get away from the dark, sinister eyes of my imaginary monster, I felt like I was driving directly into the Devil's Canyon.

It was then that I noticed the old man with the horse and wagon coming down the road.
"Strange", I thought, "he looks like Gabby Hayes, with beard, beat up hat, and no teeth".
But as he came closer, I realized that he was just another old grizzled mountain man.
When he came along side, I called out "Excuse me, how much farther is Pioneertown?"
"Just up the road a piece, Sonny". And he pointed to a sign at the side of the road.
"Just follow your nose or the Joshua trees. They'll show you the way"
He never turned his head to speak, but looked straight ahead.
"Thanks", I said, and started to drive up the hill. I slammed on the brakes and jumped out of the car to ask if there was a place where I could get something to drink. As I turned to call out the question, I saw that the old man, the horse, the wagon and even the sign had vanished into thin air.

Shaking my head in disbelief, I got back in my car and decided to give it maybe ten minutes more. After all, the old man, if he was real, and not just a figment of my imagination, had said "Just up the road a piece", so I thought, "What have I got to lose?"

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