As the sun set over the Mojave Desert, the
Sierra Nevada Mountains were roughly defined
against a dramatic sky of crimson and lavender blue.
The warm breeze undulated through the ponderosa
pines, sounding like the wise old whispers of the
Indians buried thousands of feet below in the
windblown sands. A vulture hovered high above the
foothills, an eerie screech foreboding as it circled the
Easing his midnight blue SUV around the
horseshoe bend in the sloping ridge, Charles thought
about his wife. Jill had died two years ago of cancer
and the following day was the anniversary of her
death. Frustrated, his eyes filled with tears. His
vision blurred and he swiped at his eyes with the
back of his hand. He was angry at the whole world
and at God.
His heart was breaking. What kind of a God
would take away the love of his life, his reason for
living? How was he supposed to go on living when
the best part of him was gone? More tears spilled
down his cheeks. He wanted Jill back. He needed
her and wanted her with him, where she belonged.
He envisioned her out in her rose garden,
clipping and pruning them to sheer perfection. How
sheâ€™d loved the yellow rose, and as much as he used
to love them, he didnâ€™t any more. Baskets and
baskets of yellow roses had been crammed into the
funeral home, permeating the air with the funereal
smell of death.
She was so pretty. Her serene green eyes were
Â the color of the sea. He pictured her digging her
hands in the rich fertile soil, looking so peaceful and
content. Bathed in sunlight, she had the face of an
angel. She had a mega-watt smile that totally
beguiled him. No matter how hot or humid it was,
she always looked fresh and lovely. She had a habit
of toying with a strand of her long blonde hair,
twirling it between her fingers until it waved. Under
the amber glow of the hot desert sun, it flickered like
wildfire. Lord, he missed that woman.
As Charles drove deeper into the foothills, the
terrain became noticeably rougher, more
uncultivated. The air hummed with just a hint of
danger. The pioneer spirit of the Wild West was still
palpable as burros and wild horses galloped amidst
the sloping landscape. How he missed those long
afternoon drives through the wilderness with Jill,
imagining what life must have been like in the days
of the Wild, Wild West.
More memories of Jill flashed through his mind,
filling him with a deep sense of foreboding sadness.
Tears streamed down his cheeks. The desolate road
weaving in and out of the canyon was flanked with
sagebrush and tumbleweed, and deep in the
underbrush, mountain lions and bobcats roamed
free. A coyote yipped in the distance, its howling
wail slicing through the thick humid air.
As the sun disappeared behind the Sierra
Nevada Mountains, the sky blended into a
menagerie of pale peach, rich magenta, and deep
indigo. Charles thought of all the sunsets heâ€™d seen
with Jill. All those good times, better times. She
should be here to watch the sunset with him. Why
wasnâ€™t she? Why did she have to die? He felt so
betrayed. Life wasnâ€™t fair.
White hot fury bubbled up inside him until it
erupted like a quaking volcano. Pulling off to the
side of the road, he hopped out of his vehicle. He
Â stared up at the heavens and shook his fist at God.
He wanted answers. He needed answers. Angry and
frustrated, he bellowed at the top of his lungs.
â€œWhy did you take my Jill from me?â€ his voice
echoed across the canyon. â€œHow could you take the
love of my life away? How could you? How could a
loving God do something so cruel? I love her! I want
her here with me! I want her back!â€
The air carried with it the scent of a coming
storm. Thunder exploded in the distance. A desert
storm was closing in on the Mojave. The wind
rippled through the surrounding Joshua trees. The
mournful cry of a desert thrasher sliced through the
night. Charles was as restless as the approaching
storm. He looked down. The hillside gave way to
steep ravines, tumbling down over rugged cliffs to
the valley below. The only thing separating him from
a drop of several thousand feet was a mound of
crumbled rock. He took a step closer.
Just as he was about to jump, a flash of
lightning illuminated the sky. He thought he saw
Jill. Pellets of hard rain pounded on his back,
soaking him to the bone. He blinked several times,
but whatever heâ€™d seen was gone. Thunder exploded
in the sky, the sound ricocheting through the
heavens. Over the rumbling, he heard Jillâ€™s sweet
melodic voice. â€œNo, Charles. Donâ€™t jump. Itâ€™s not your
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- About the Author
- Posts in the Past
Sharon Donovan has been writing stories of inspiration and suspense since the loss of her vision due to diabetic retinopathy. Prior to this, she was a legal secretary in the Court of Common Pleas where she prepared cases for judges. Sharon has certificates in both business and medical transcription. Art was her passion. Devastated when she could no longer paint, a new dream resurrected. Today, instead of painting her pictures on canvas, she paints her pictures with words.