Several of the boys — old enough to think we were tough, not yet old enough for scars — followed the prophet as he made his way into the hills. We kept our distance, hiding behind rocks and trees, never getting close enough to be heard, fooling ourselves into thinking he was not aware of us. When the light faded we turned back; for the rest of them he was gone from memory by morning. He stayed in my thoughts. Many years later I made the climb, searching for the man who went searching. I found his cave after three days. There were no scrolls, no records of visions, no cure for sin, no diary of pronouncements on how life should be lived. No, there was merely a skeleton, hunched naked by the ashy remains of a long cold fire. I sat next to him for several hours, contemplating what he must have seen in the last flickers of flame, before leaving him as I found him, and heading back down the mountain.
Seeker of secrets,
unholy union; power,