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Across a searing desert, the Hunter rode. Atop a black horse, he stopped near a gully and scanned the horizon. Nothing! Only tumbleweeds propelled by the arid winds. His face was weathered, with a week's worth of beard. His black, wide brimmed hat sat low on his head, over his long, sun bleached shaggy hair, that was tangled by the blistering breeze. He was low on water. For himself and his horse. No pond, river, or lake was nearby in any direction for hundreds, if not thousands, of miles. He guessed! In reality, he didn't know exactly where he was. But he instinctively knew he was on the right path. The Smoke Man had passed this way. No more than two days ago. He just felt it! So he rode on. Down into the gully. Further on. Suddenly, his horse reared up! "Easy, Katie girl, easy!" he said, to soothe the animal's fear. A rustle behind some sagebrush immediately caught his attention. He quickly drew his Colt revolver! "I hear ya!" he called out, "come out slowly so there's no misunderstanding!" A young boy emerged from the brush! "Where you come from?" the Hunter asked. The boy gazed up. "About a few miles, that way," the boy said, pointing west. "What are you doing way out here?" the Hunter asked. "Waiting for you!" the boy replied. The Hunter placed the revolver back into its holster. "How did you know I was coming?" the Hunter asked. The boy shrugged, "I just know things. Everyone's always said I was special!" "If you're so special," the Hunter said, "then tell me where I can get some water!" "Just follow the trail you're on," the boy replied, "it'll take you to a town. There's water and what you're looking for!" "What do you think I'm looking for?" The Hunter amusingly asked. "The Smoke Man, ain't ya?" the boy said, with an eerie smile that sent a shiver down the Hunter's spine! "Now what do you know about a Smoke Man?" The boy shrugged again, "I just know He's not what you think He is!" The Hunter frowned, "Don't know what you're talking about, I just need water that's all. Much obliged for the info." As the Hunter started to ride on, he called back to the boy, "What's your name?" But when he glanced back, the boy had vanished! Next Chap. 2 "The Storm"