The Lost Well

Chuck and Suzanne parked the Jeep on the North rim of the Canyon De Chelly. It is the only national monument entirely owned by the Navajo. The only trail rides and hikes allowed into the canyon are led by a Navajo guide. It is a rule that Chuck and Suzanne have ignored for the entirety of their vacation.

Chuck pulled the camouflaged canvas tarp over the top of the Jeep after they donned their gear.

“It’s a ten-mile hike Sue. We’ll be back before noon.”

“Not with your sissy stride.” She looked over her shades, shrugged on the CamelBak, and checked the water flow from the bladder.

He loved every bit of her, especially the taunting. Chuck pulled the map from his leg pouch with the handheld GPS, laid it on the hood of the Jeep, and marked two spots on the map. He then rolled it up and tried to put them back into his pouch as he ran to catch up to Suzanne.

“You are always run’n off.” He tied his favorite bandanna around his head and looked at her beautiful shape walking ahead of him.

“You are always try’n to catch me.”

The first hour of the hike Chuck and Suzanne found nothing that they hadn’t seen already on this vacation. Willows, Cottonwood, Russian Olive, rocks, sand. Suzanne and Chuck planned the route they were taking the night before in between calls from the Observatory. It was roughly a ten-mile loop with the apex nearing an abandoned archaeological site.

“This place better be as good as you said it would be Chuck-E-Boy. And we better not get caught.” They slowed their pace to work their way down the talus slope and onto the canyon floor.

“It’s over 130 square miles of canyon. Believe me, it isn’t patrolled nightly, like your apartment in Sells.” Loose rock shifted under Chuck’s feet and he fell. Tumbling through the scree he cursed loudly.

Suzanne rushed to reach him at the bottom of the slope. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I just twisted my ankle. I guess my sissy stride will slow us down even further now.” He grinned up at her.

“We should make our way back.” She reached down to look at his foot.

He pushed her hand aside, “No. We are almost there anyway and it is roughly the same distance back.” He stood on one leg and tested his weight on the injured foot. “I think it is fine anyway.”

“Are you sure? I don’t want to have to carry you out of here on my back.”

“Don’t worry, that won’t happen. The dig site is just around the bend anyway.”

“The Lost Well isn’t that important.”

Already walking toward the ruin he said, “Yes, it is.”

Suzanne and Chuck peeked around the entrance to the shallow cave. Chuck clicked the flashlight on showing the petroglyphs of hands, animals, men and women that lined the walls. At the back of the cave a dark hole blew cool, damp air onto their faces. They walked carefully to the edge of the well.

“How did you find out about this place?” Suzanne whispered to Chuck.

He pulled her close to his face and looked deep into her eyes. “The name of the well is actually, Lover’s Well. Before the Navajo settled here, this place had a magic about it. It was said that a man could bring his love to the well and divine her intent and their compatibility.”

She removed her backpack, grinned slightly and kissed him softly on the lips.

He lifted her in an embrace, turned and pushed her into the well. Tears poured down his cheeks. He loved her entirely. But, the magic of the well knew best. He kicked her backpack in after her, walked out of the cave, and looked at his watch. “I guess you were right, Sue. It will be after noon before I get back to the Jeep.”

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