There were mosquitoes in
Alaska the size of ponies and the
temperature was a tepid 69 F under the midday summer sun; but Pet did a pretty
good job of not thinking about those things too much. The scenery on Kodiak
Island was mind boggling almost, Pet’s eyes ached from trying to
take it all in; trying to etch every magnificent detail into her memory. Of course she had taken plenty of pictures of
everything since she left Sacramento
four months earlier, and even a few videos for YouTube. But pictures just could not do it justice;
they were all much too small.
Her blog had moved with her, Pet shared new photos almost daily and there were progress reports, updates and new findings two to three times a week. Fifty thousand new people were reading now, after the discovery of the third rune in
Oregon the national press had taken a brief
and tiny interest with a few stories. So
far the established academics were dismissing the runes as modern graffiti, but
Pet knew in her heart that they were much older.
It was hard to tell how old though, but she was beginning to suspect that the scale of time was much, much bigger than she originally thought. Traditional runes didn’t really turn up in history until around the first century A.D., but these west coast specimens seemed to predate them all based on the erosion. There were plenty of other rock carvings in the West that went back more than five thousand years, but they were the symbols and languages of the paleo Indians and completely unlike Pet’s runes. Now that there were three, it seemed more than apparent to her that they were related not only to each other, but to a common written language with European roots.
Sonoma and Point Reyes runes were the same; two straight lines
followed by a third one curved on both ends and a fourth that was almost like a
slash. The Oregon
rune was slightly different in the curve of the third line, but Oregon also had the full circular rock carving that was
only hinted at in Point Reyes. It was just a large circle empty but for the
smaller circle that joined it like a bubble near the bottom, but it was still
fairly well etched in the stone.
There were many other initials, crude drawings and other works of modern artists in that cave, so the rune was easy to miss. Two other carvers had worked it into their pieces, but the rune came to life once Pet traced it out with chalk. Three of them was no coincidence, three virtually identical runes within a thousand miles of each other along the west coast was a sign of some kind. A message.
Whoever had sent those messages had not intended them for her eyes, but
had intercepted them and maybe she had been supposed to all along. Maybe they were somehow destined for her eyes
so that she could finally deliver that message.
It was a romantic notion and Pet did not have a romantic heart, but it
was a thought that would not leave her alone anymore.
How could it not be romance when her heart pounded like a drum, when her blood raced through her veins at breakneck speed and all she wanted was more? Pet could almost hear the echo of her pounding heart inside that small, battered cave on
Kodiak Island and her hands were shaking as they traced
the faint lines in the rock like a lover.
Four runes were more than a message, they were a love letter made of stone and
surrendered to the romance.