The Sun was scorching. Sand was everywhere; it was built up in great dunes in all directions as far as one could see; with every gust of wind, it sought to rebuke the pair of travelers that dared its vast and brutal expanse; it dug its way into every nook and cranny, soiling clothes and grinding harshly against skin. Even so, horse and rider pushed onward. They were wanderers by nature; self-declared adventurers; vagabonds and vagrants to many they crossed; pilgrims in their own rite, trekking toward the ever-moving temple of discovery and experience.
The horse was a great ebony stallion with a coat so Stygian it put Black Beauty to shame. Its eyes burned with fierce determination and heroism. He showed no signs of slowing, despite jogging across endless sands. The rider was bundled tightly, duster billowing in the wind. A handkerchief covered the lower half of the face. A roughly worn hat hid the rest, and was held in place by one leather-gloved hand; the other clung tightly to the pommel of the saddle. Those possessing an eye for such things would be capable of immediately recognizing this figure as an experienced horseback rider by the posture.
Thirst was the one thing on the rider's mind; that and reaching their destination. Nothing else mattered at that moment in time.
A tumbleweed flew over the dune ahead of this pair; rolled toward them; tumbled by- something they were prone to doing.
Good, "Calamity" Jane Smith thought to herself. Just a little farther and... They surmounted the dune's apex, earning them a clear view of what was to come. Yes! There! Sand aside, there was one thing that stood ahead of them. The hoodoo! The end! This of course referred to an odd rock formation, this one taking a shape similar to an hourglass that was tilting to the left, about ready to snap in half.
Filled with a sudden rush of energy and excitement, Jane spurred on her nameless horse with a triumphant, "YAH!" The stallion neighed powerfully and sprinted down the dune at a reckless pace. Neither rider nor horse cared just then- the end of their travels was in sight! The hooves pounded, the sand tore at the duo trying to impede them, and Jane couldn't help but grin in her exhilaration. Gradually sand gave way to grass and other green life, which eventually gave way to concrete pavement and sidewalks. From this sprang homes and retailers and corporate facilities. People came into view and cars came to pass. They slowed, glad to breathe in air devoid of sand. Jane drank from a leather pouch.
These two paid no heed to the variety of glances flashed their way; they were strangers everywhere they went, and this was nothing unusual. Jane simply smiled and waved. She received very few waves in return, which was perfectly alright. A friendly stranger was an odd sight these days indeed.
The mare came to a halt at a crowded intersection corner and shared a sigh of relief with his partner, who was gazing gleefully at their surroundings, one hand still holding her hat and the other still gripping the saddle's pommel. The sun was bright, the people seemed friendly, and the journey had been tiring but clearly well worth it.
Look out Osaka, Japan, "Calamity" Jane Smith had arrived.
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