As the door folds open, the stranger's words still echo in the sun-drenched bus. He lets them scatter like a handful of loose change before the driver lets him out. A cloud of dust envelops him as he heads for the hills along the lonely dirt road. A worn leather suitcase is clasped to his chest. A black hat bobs atop his bald head, looking as if it has been punched into shape. It's noon and he has no shadow to speak of.
The bus belches a cloud of greasy smoke and clatters off. Later, the travelers won’t remember the man or his words, just the stop in the middle of nowhere.
The road stretches east. The ancient ruts are filled with dust. Tufts of yellowish grass rise up through the pebbles. The village remains out of sight for almost the entire walk, but the man counts his steps, just as he measures everything, and he knows exactly when he’ll arrive. The insects leave him be, while the lizards watch him from afar.
As he walks, cloaked in dust, he observes the arcing jumps of the grasshoppers and the hectic calligraphy of the birds pinning them to the ground to devour them. Everything is a symbol. Everything is a sign . . .