“Are you there, God? It’s me. I know I don’t deserve you listening to me. I think the last time I called on you was when I was just a child. But if you are there, I could really use your help.”
The dry desert air made the coolness seem more acceptable. Jason stayed on his knees with his hands cuffed, looking into the clear, starry night. His cuts on his face and arms had already clotted.
“I know I haven’t called on you, or prayed, or… whatever. But if you exist, I could really use your help.”
He could still see the taillights of the SUV that had just left him in the Nevada desert driving away. He was thankful that they did not kill him and leave him for dead. But leave him to die on his own thirty miles from any civilization.
As Jason looks into the night sky, he realizes how ridiculous he looks. Praying to someone that he felt did not exist. And even if God was real, why would he want to save a wretched man like him?
Jason turns around and lies down on the warm desert sand. He looks at the stars and wonders how one man, like himself, could have any significance in life on Earth—after all, he was just one man. As he looks to the sky, Jason slowly falls asleep, fearing he had just witnessed his last night sky.
It’s twelve hours later, and Jason is just waking up. He remembers where he is and closes his eyes, disappointed that he is not dead. He does his best to fall asleep again to end it all. Minutes later, he hears a truck approaching from the east. He feels he needs to sit up, but he also fears it is the men that had left him there in the first place to die. Jason lies still.
He hears heavy footsteps approaching. Jason feels a subtle kick on his side and then a man on his walkie-talkie. “Dispatch. I have a body out here. About twenty miles west of the highway. Can you notify the Sherriff?”
Jason knew from the sound of the man’s voice it was not the same men that came to kill him. Jason used what little strength he had to move his left hand and arm and moans while he moves.
“HOLY SHIT!” the man says. “Dispatch! He’s still alive. We’ll need a medic as well.”
The man returns to his truck and retrieves a first aid kit, a blanket, and a towel. “Mister! Mister. Stay still. Help is coming.” He rolls the towel up as a pillow while covering him with the blanket. “Are you hurt?”
Jason just lies there. He tries to say something, but as he attempts to talk, he realizes his mouth is only spurting out moans and groans.
“My name is Dave. I called for help. They’ll be here soon.”
Jason stays motionless, conserving his energy, wondering why he is still alive.
Dave places a blanket over Jason as he visually looks over his body for severe cuts that need attention. “How the hell did you end up out here?” Dave asks. “Don’t answer. There’s only one way you would be here looking like this. Believe it or not, you’re not the first body I’ve found out here. But you are the first one I’ve found alive.”
As Dave makes Jason feel as comfortable as possible, he receives a call on the radio. “Unit 12, this is Adam-6. I’m en route to your location, code three. EMTs are also in route.”
“Copy that,” Dave responds. “Hang with me, buddy. Help is on the way.”
Jason wakes up to blistering heat from the sun beating down on his face. He stands up and looks around. He realizes the hope that help was coming had only been a dream. His priority was to find shelter, shade, or somewhere he could relieve himself from the direct sunlight that was blistering his skin.
He spots a large rock that only shows a few inches of shade. His plan was to huddle next to the rock and follow the shade. It would not be great, but at least part of his body would get relief in the shade.
As he walks towards the rock, he sees a pickup truck a quarter of a mile away. He waves his arms in hopes the driver will see him. The truck slows down and turns towards Jason. For the moment, he’s relieved the driver saw him.
The truck eventually makes its way to Jason. The driver looks familiar to him. “Dave?” he asks.
“Yeah, how did you know my name?” The driver of the truck is seasoned and had more mileage on his body than the old truck he was driving. His raspy voice and less than welcoming demeanor made Jason question whether getting in the truck would be a good idea.
“Well,” Dave says. “Are you getting in or not? I haven’t got all day.”
Jason moves to the passenger side of the truck and gets in. “Thanks, Dave. I appreciate this.”
Dave looks at Jason with a questionable glare. “How the hell do you know my name?”
Jason thinks for a moment. “I guess I had a dream you were going to pick me up.”
“You damn kids,” Dave responds in an angry, raspy voice. “Every damn weekend, I find one of ya’s out here on my property. You’re the first one I’ve found alive.”
Jason’s eyes widen. “You find people out here a lot?”
“You’re the second one this weekend. The sheriff doesn’t even take my calls anymore.”
“Speaking of the sheriff, don’t you want to call him and let him know you found me?”
Dave looks at Jason with a scowl as he hits the gas pedal harder. Now each divot in the road felt like the truck would fall apart.
“I ain’t calling the sheriff. I ain’t calling nobody. I’m taking you to the highway. Then you’re on your own.”
Jason’s eyes widen at the response he got from Dave. “Do you have any water that I can have?”
“Water? You can get water if you make it to the next town. I just want you out of my property.”
“Where’s the next town?” Jason asks.
Dave pulls his truck to the side of the highway and points to the west. “Just follow this road.”
Jason exits the truck and looks down the highway where Dave was pointing. “Where’s the town?”
“You’ll see it when you get there?” Dave responds, turning the truck around before Jason shuts the door.
Jason looks down the highway and sees only a two-lane road heading towards the desert. The opposite way was the same. He took the advice of the bitter trucker and walked west. After an hour on the road, he realized Dave had either lied or made him think the town was closer than it really was.
Jason finds a giant cactus casting a shadow on the ground and sits to rest. He looks up to the blue sky, with the heat waves bouncing off of the cactus behind him. He says, “Are you there, God? It’s me.”