Even with my parched throat, I was eager to ask my desert companion questions but he wasn’t very talkative. I took his brief answers as a verbal preference and let him be. I didn’t want to annoy the very person who was leading me to salvation. I reassured myself that if I kept putting my lead-weighted legs forward, I would soon be back with my loved ones. The familiar stranger seemed to know the way back to the road. My trust and fate were ultimately in his hands.
After an hour or so, I could actually see the interstate in the distance! My truck was still parked behind the rock where I had left it two days earlier. I trudged ahead of my mysterious benefactor to reassure myself that it wasn’t another cruel mirage. I almost ran to the truck, remembering that it contained a bottle of water. At that point, even hot water was welcome. After I had downed the entire jug in a desperate frenzy, I turned to thank him for saving my life. Incredibly, Mr. Bonney and his horse slowly faded away and were gone!
Almost immediately it dawned on me who my phantom guide was; or rather had been. I had seen his photographs in old western history books. William Bonney was also known in the annals of crime as Billy the Kid. The “B.t. K.” initials from the cryptic sand message finally made sense. Later I learned that he had robbed several stage coaches and banks in the area but none of the stolen property was ever recovered.
Not long afterward he had his infamous and fatal gun battle with Sheriff Pat Garrett. That information added a considerable amount of creditability to my experience but it was still hard to accept. I still didn’t understand what really happened during those two harrowing days in the desert. Had I really been rescued by the spirit of William Bonney, or had it all been a delirious delusion? I will never know for certain because I’ll never set foot in the desert again.
Those supposed riches buried under the sand don’t interest me enough to go back there, if they are there at all. The wandering spirit of William Bonney gave me a far more valuable gift than any strongbox of valuables. He rescued me from certain death and showed me the way out of the desert.
Perhaps his lost spirit had to perform an unselfish deed of salvation for another lost soul, as recompense for his earthly crimes. Either that or he wanted me away from his buried treasure. Either way, thanks Billy. Rest in Peace.