Petr ran closer to where the white buck had disappeared. It had disappeared down into something. He marked the spot mentally because if it was a canyon it was hidden from below. Five minutes of steep climbing later, he found the entrance. Well, well, well.
A crevice choked with brambles, cut and carefully placed–dried and withered and pale as if they had been placed long ago–to hide a hiding place. But why hide a canyon? What lay beyond the narrow gap? This must be something special. He got down on hands and knees.
After a few feet of scratchy crawling, he exited a bramble tunnel–and found himself inside a narrow canyon of silvery granite. Indians had hidden this canyon and used it–but for what? What would Indians hide from the world? What did they really care about?
It was a V-shaped canyon, remote, and forbidding. For the first time that afternoon he thought: Maybe I won’t be home for supper.
An unexpected memory came, a nightmare he’d had since he was ten, when he began thinking of girls differently from boys, returning powerfully now as he walked slowly up the narrow ramp of the little canyon. In the dream, he saw a beautiful girl with a face much like his own, a sun-ripened beauty, warm as living sunshine. He was strolling arm-in-arm with this perfectly matched to him female, perfectly happy. Then as in the way of dreams, he lost her. He could not find her anywhere; he seemed to have missed her only by minutes wherever he searched. He could picture her, almost hear her, feel her. And yet–in his dream–he never saw her again. He had lost her forever leaving a terrible loneliness inside him as if his soul was dying. Now the aching loneliness hit him hard.
He sat on a rock and covered his eyes. He noticed a faint breeze, scented as if someone had just struck a match. Sulfur? His next though was a double lightning flash.
Don’t go any farther! But it’s the gold lake!
He scanned the loose gravel for what had to be there: silver-dollar-sized-deer-tracks. There were none. The path was smooth. No one here for a long time, not even animals. He swallowed hard and again began walking deeper into the canyon now steeply uphill. An icy chill shivered up his back. He saw something up ahead, man-made–Indian-made.