Mystery led John to the next spot very slow. John didn’t mind it either. He came to the sad conclusion that whatever was happening wasn’t going to be over anytime soon and that there wasn’t just a simple, easy answer. There were many pieces of the puzzle that just weren’t there. The first piece was parts of John’s memory. He remembered everything about himself except what happened between falling asleep on the park pench and waking up on the desert with the card on his chest.
The searing heat didn’t let up on second. John felt like his was in an oven. When he checked the sky, there wasn’t a sun. The sky was blue with a touch of haze.
“This isn’t my world, is it?” John asked patting Mystery’s head. “Better yet, don’t answer me.”
The object in the sand kept its small shape. The closer they got to it, the smaller it was. It was like the object was moving away or shrinking… or sinking into the sand.
“Are we going to catch up to that thing soon?” John asked.
Mystery nodded its head. It kept its steps one by one.
“Do you need water?”
Mystery ignored the question. John felt silly for even asking it.
Of course he does, John thought. And there’s none here…
John looked down and let out a long sigh. He held the reins tight and then closed his eyes. He knew it was childish but he imagined the park bench. He saw himself lying on it, with his feet crossed. He stared up into the blue, cool sky. He saw puffy clouds, one that looked like a dog’s head. He heard the rustle of the trees from the a soothing early summer wind. He then saw himself falling asleep… he tried to scream inside his head… to wake himself up…
“DON’T SLEEP!” John screamed.
He opened his eyes and jumped. He was still riding Mystery, still in the desert, still with the memory of the zombie and the mean people in that mirage bar.
Mystery let out a long neigh. John looked and the small object was now something much different.
“Another bar?” John asked. He could feel his voice breaking up.
John pulled the reigns and Mystery stopped.
“I don’t think I can do this again,” John said. “Last time was too risky.”
Mystery shook its head.
“They wanted to eat you!” John yelled. “What would I do without you?”
John felt a lump climb up his throat. His eyes went blurry and he held his breath for a second, fighting back the tears.
John looked to the bar. The neon signs were blinking… in unison with his breaths. At first, he thought it was coincidence. He helf his breath again and the neon sign went out. As he exhaled his breath, the neon sign lit up. He inhaled, the light slowly went out…
“Do you see that?” John asked.
“What’s happening? Is this another mirage?”
Mystery didn’t move.
John felt his stomach rumble and a wave of anger come over him. He blinked and the neon sign changed wording…
It went from COLD BEER to COME JOHN.
John blinked his eyes and the sign was the same… COME JOHN. And it blinked with his breaths.
“You know what? I have a plan.”
John climbed off of Mystery. He checked his guns. He made sure they were both loaded and ready to go.
“I’m going to bust into the bar and just kill everyone. If it is a mirage, then it’s like I’m not really killing anyone, right?”
Mystery just blinked.
“Then as long as I stay in there, it won’t go away. It can’t, right?”
Mystery had that look again, like the horse wanted to shrug its shoulders.
“And I’ll eat. I’ll drink. And I’ll find the biggest bucket of water and ice for you. Hell, I’ll even bring you a burger!”
John laughed. He spirits were suddenly at an all time high again. There may not have been much hope in the desert but maybe once he got a full stomach, things would make sense.
John walked up to the bar, pulled back the hammer on both guns, and kicked the door open.