TITLE: Superstition Summer
Something red slithered beneath a tumbleweed. Dylan froze. A snake, two feet long, with a black head and red-and-yellow-banded body rustled the brittle bush. He lifted his camera, focused, and captured the creature before it disappeared.
His first Arizona picture and a whole summer to explore--gila monsters, tarantulas, sidewinders, and whatever else he found. Dylan left his camera bag and tripod under a cottonwood tree near the corral and slid down the bank into a dry streambed.
Wait. Scan. Focus. Shoot.
He wandered on, fascinated by the desertscape so alien from the trees and lakes of home. Afternoon heat rose from the ground and fell from the sky to cook everything in between, but Dylan hardly noticed how his bare arms or back of his neck baked.
In the middle of shooting a red-tailed hawk diving for a meal, his battery died. No! He'd left the extra one in his camera bag. Time to head back anyway. He shaded his eyes. Where was the winding streambed to his uncle's ranch? Or the corral and stable near the cottonwood?
Although the land was flat he couldn't see clearly through the sweltering air. The desert horizon warped in shimmering heat waves. He'd also left his water bottle behind. Always have water with you his aunt had warned. Sweat stung his eyes and the sun seared through his T-shirt. How long had he wandered? An hour? Two?
No problem, he'd use the GPS on his smartphone.
Big problem. No signal.