So in the shadow of the rock he sat, crunching on dry beans and choking them down with as little water as he could manage. The sun demolished the landscape to the horizon, leaving nothing untouched; no plant unchoked, no animal comfortable with shelter and relief; no spot of earth smooth with moisture, the cracks left behind bursting with white heat; no wind unbound swept through the empty spaces, but instead a staleness in the air quivered visibly before James' eyes.
"This is where they come to die," he whispered, not bothering to consider who "they" might be. What he knew was that he had left one place busy with people and filled with suffering for another, one that scorned life but spilled over with pain in much the same way.


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