Pet liked doing research most of the time, but she was getting weary of this project and even wearier of getting nowhere. She had learned some about early runes from other projects, but this was the first time her interest focused on the runes themselves. There were several versions of the Sonoma rune decorating the walls of Pet’s office; pictures of it from different angles that had been enlarged and the charcoal rubbing Pet made the day she fell down the hole.
But none of those runes were her rune, in a way they all vaguely resembled hers, but only at a distance and if you kind of squinted. There were no direct matches to be found anywhere and Pet’s hazel eyes ached from the trying. She had early hopes of getting some kind of hit from one of her readers, someone who had seen it in a book or another cave in
or something of that nature. There was
still hope of course, who could know when and if the right pair of eyes will
ever find you in the vastness of the World Wide Web.
She flopped down on the old leather sofa that still smelled of her grandfather’s cigars and thought about the rune. Actually, Pet had thought of little else since she had first seen it and suspected that it might soon become an outright obsession. But she couldn't stop wondering about it, how long it had been there and whose hands did the carving. Good science suggested that if your theory could find no evidence to support it, then perhaps it was time for a new theory.
So what if the rune was not of European origin? What if it was something indigenous? The rune was not like any of the other rock carvings by the native people of
those were of animals, people and other things in the environment. But this rune seemed much more like a letter or
other symbol of a written language. Most
of the native runes were also out in the open, on large flat rocks where they
would be seen by many eyes. To carve
something in a cave is to also invite less incidental traffic to see it, to be
seen primarily by those who knew where to look.
Pet sighed and looked at her favorite picture; one of her dad’s friends had taken it and Pet stood between her smiling parents in the opening of a cave near Oroville. He had been a machinist by trade, but a geologist at heart and was an enthusiastic amateur scientist. Pet’s mom gamely played along for the most part and weekends often found the family out on some sort of expedition. They had traveled all over the state examining the rocks, exploring caves and enjoying the spectacular scenic beauty of
from the Mojave to the Redwoods.
Pet always understood the rocks and why her father loved them so; rocks don’t lie, not ever, they do not know how to lie. Everything else on the planet and in the cosmos lies, people, water, trees, cats, everything but rocks. A seeker of pure truth will always find that in stone and Raymond Brazil was a joyful seeker indeed. He saw that his only child knew what he knew, that’s why he always called her Petra – that and the fact he hated Gwendolyn and had objected to its use from the start.
But it was the carvings that captured Pet’s attention, she remembered the first one she saw and how mesmerized she had become that someone had taken all that time to create a small piece of art in the stone. Pet had traced the lines with her four year old fingers and asked her father in whispered awe what the glyph said.
“Amos,” Ray had whispered back almost reverentially.
That long forgotten gold miner who had come for the
California dream and was
most likely left broken and poverty stricken had ensured that somehow he would
live forever. Amos was practically a
deity to Pet now and the rubbing had a place of honor in its frame over her
bed. That had started her need to see
them all, to touch them all and feel the essence of their creators. Pet wanted to know their stories and what had
compelled them to carve those stories in stone.
The phone rang, forcing Pet to push up heavily from the couch and answer dully; she was in no mood to listen to a sales pitch.
“Bad day?” Tass wasn't asking in a bitchy way, just asking.
Pet sighed into the phone, “Not bad, frustrating. How’s yours?”
“Looking up, I got tucking laid off,” she replied. Tass did not really like her job at the mall, but there weren't many other opportunities.
“How is that ‘up’?”
“Because now there is no stupid cask job keeping me from going with you,” Tass said smoothly and Pet could practically see her friend’s evil smile.
“I know a guy, says he’s seen a rune, even gave me a map.” Tass paused for several seconds to let this bit of news soak in before finishing, “Meet me at Fords and buy me a burger, I’m unemployed, but I am still chucking fabulous.”