“Tell us, old man, what is so important that you have travelled so far to find us,” a young man asked as an even younger women leaned in to dab the sweet off his forehead.
As the old man started to speak, the nurse tilted his head up and brought a glass of water to his lips. The water was discolored, almost brown, but the old man drank greedily.
“He needs to rest. Come back tomorrow morning, maybe then he can talk,” the nurse said as she took the glass away and whipped his chin clean.
“No, we need to know what he knows.” The young man answered back, brushing the nurse aside. “If he is who I think he is, what he has to tell us won’t, can’t wait.”
“He is right,” the old man answered back, thanking the nurse for the water as she left.
“Tell us old man, tell us what you have seen.” For a moment the old mans eyes rolled back inside his head. “Have you seen THEM? Have you seen where they are made.” The younger man shook him violently.
His eye lids fluttered open with a startle as he nodded his head yes.
“Then tell us, and tell us quick, I fear you will not survive the night.”
“I found where they are made, out past the sea of bones and even further still. Farther then I have ever been, out west.”
Rushed, the young man took a map from out of his pocket and held it up for the man to see. At the top was a single name – Denver – printed in large, yellow letters. “Where,” he asked taking the mans hand and helping him to extend his finger.
The older man whose eyes seemed unable to focus on much of anything starred at the map. He recognized street names and landmarks. He saw the name of the street that he used to walk into the city – 6th Avenue – although it was hardly recognizable now. Off at the end of the map he followed 6th Avenue to the intersection of I-70 and stopped as his finger reached the edge.
“No,” the old man said, his voice failing. “Far west. I came to two holes in a mountain, that is where they are made, where the road reaches it’s highest point, just before it drops down into a valley on the other side.” Again, the man closed his eyes and struggled to to take a deep breathe. “Hower Tunnel,” where his final words before all the muscles in his body seemed to go limp, allowing a dusty notebook, which he had kept clutched tightly to his chest, to fall to the floor.
The young men stood around him starring in disbelief as the last breath left his body. Then, after the realization that the man was dead seemed to sink in, one of them reached down and picked up the book.
With a quick swipe of his hand, he dusted off the front cover, and then flipped it open to the first page.