As consciousness slowly nudged him awake he felt the sun high overhead nibbling his neck and warming his back. He was naked. He lay face down unmoving for a moment, trying to remember where he was. He tried to clear his head, but the haze wouldn’t lift. He felt the sand under his body. He smelled the soft breeze and felt it blow his hair. Slowly he forced himself to roll over, then to sit up and stretch. It felt good to move. He bent his legs and encircled them with his arms, gripped his left wrist with his right hand and pulled his legs up tight against his chest. To his sides and by his feet lie small lengths of cloth. He rolled to his left, pushing himself up to his knees first with his right hand then with both. He rocked himself back onto the balls of his feet. As he rose from the sand he brushed it from the thick dark hair on his chest and thighs.
He turned and saw large boulders surrounding and protecting the clearing in which he awoke. The sun was warm, not hot. It was pleasant on his skin. Low scrub brush bearded the white, sun bleached boulders. It was quiet, totally quiet. He stretched, arms extended towards the sun. He didn’t mind being outside naked, alone. He was warm and comfortable, at ease with himself, confident and at peace, a man used to being alone. That someone may stumble upon his shelter did not concern him, as it did not appear this was a frequently traveled area.
His robe was neatly folded and placed on a flat smooth rock nearby. Reaching for his robe, he stopped, looking around more closely. He noticed the remnants of a fire to his right. Ashes and unburned wood remained in a small charred pile near the center of the clearing. Gently lifting his robe from the rock, he shook it to remove any sand caught in the weave. There was a knife hidden under the robe. Slowly he picked it up and looked at it closely. He knew this knife. It was his father’s… his father’s sacrificial knife. Looking back at the remnants of the fire he realized it was not just a fire, but was a sacrificial fire. The pile was actually charred remains, and bones. He did not remember helping his father with a sacrifice; he must have fallen asleep before they began.
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