Ready… once again, as the circle returns.
I can almost taste it as it curves along those invisible walls that make up the magnetic fields of our existence. The sound of that bullet, bursting forth in anticipated explosion, waiting, waiting as it pierces the air with hot precision.
We wait as the circle curves back and we prepare once more. All of us, here with our attention, as the stars tell stories from above. The horses neigh in the background beneath leafy trees. The smell of sweet, crisp water overwhelms the charcoal, earthy odor of our shots.
We lay in the brush. The dry leaves press against my sweaty chest. With one eye closed I find my target, alive and filled with force, his gun glittering in the moonlight.
The sky, always dark with wide clouds that shift and turn. In the silence between bullets, before I draw from the endless cycle and aim once again, I turn towards the road. In just a moment I feel its long dusty tongue lick the dirt from my rough skin. Its gaze of passive indifference opens like a wide tunnel and I see myself on horseback, riding west beneath a sky so vast and endless it brings tears and fills my chest with indescribable longing.
The road, it cares neither for the sun, moon or children of stars. I am nothing to it, it takes the salt of my death and turns me into the path itself. I am the ground and move over purple mountains taking the silent message of choice up and up, zigzagging forest-covered mountains, down through the open ranges of the yellow valleys, through rain, over desert so parched and white that nothing lives, nothing can live. The sound of bullets ding and clatter from above. The horses stir and I squint once more.