The low beep emitting from David’s watch woke him in the still dark morning. The watch was the only personal item David took with him on his journey. He could only take one. One thing for a whole year alone on a hill.
David’s father had brought a book, For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemingway. He talked about his journey often. So often that David began to think there was nothing else his father had done worth talking about. Before or since.
David cupped his hand over his watch’s face to see better, but he knew what time it was. Four o’clock in the morning. Every morning it was four o’clock. It wasn’t bad enough that David had left his family and friends and everything important in his life, but he must carry out the tasks of worship each day, and not fail, not even a single time, to carry out his duty.
So David brought a watch. In the thirteen years he had prepped for the journey the only aspect that frightened him was remembering to wake up and do his worship. David had trouble remembering if he was hungry, let alone what time a day it is. David held the two silver buttons on the side of his black digital watch and the face lit up in a low blue light. He smiled.
“Well,” David said, “Let’s get to work.”
David turned down the sheepskin blanket that covered him from the knees down and stayed hunched over as he moved about the small hovel, picking up a worn pair of boots, a large black rock, and a rectangular metal file. After pulling on his boots in the dim watch light and throwing the sheepskin over his shoulders, he exited his hole and breathed in the morning air outside. He stretched his back and pulled his limbs back to his core and enjoyed the softness of the skin.
The worship hovel was built by David, an important part of the journey, and a mound of bright gray stones were stacked, just outside the shelter, with dew stricken branches of reeds and grass, selected for their burning qualities. The wilderness rolled on below David’s hill and the shuffling of life was all around David.
David crouched to one knee in front of his mound of stones and he checked his watch. He searched the horizon, but there was only other hill tops and darkness. David blew some moisture off the mound and went to working the file and black rock together above the mound, dripping bright sparks onto the grass and reeds. He worked at lighting his mound and checked the horizon again before returning to his work with more excitement.
After several moments the grass caught and the brush was alive with flame. David clapped and blew on the flame to help it catch all the fuel.
After the little flame was going on its own, David checked the horizon again and waited. Then he saw it, the second light in the distance, this time in the East.
“Getting faster,” David muttered to himself. He sat, legs crossed in front of his burning mound and he lifted his face and palms to the sky and began to pray.