The night of celebration had arrived, one oppressively hot and humid, but nobody seemed to mind. On the flat expanse of pasture they had built a bonfire, the massive cone rising like an active volcano out of fertile, farmland soil. It stood at the height of four or five men, the width of a school bus, and put off heat like the innards of a blast furnace. It was the center of their ceremony, this blazing symbol of power amid meek countryside; the farmhouses, feedlots, and green fields of corn. The sun had set to the west, and across the valley one could see the half-moon high above the dark arc of a humpbacked hill. Despite nightfall, the summer heat remained, and the rugged inhabitants came out in droves, sweat staining their shirts, their pants, sweat slathered over every pore. Being late August of 1999, they knew the last summer of the millennium would soon die. Winter usually dug in long and hard, so people kept the sweltering complaints to themselves, even the older folk. But the teenagers were operating on a different vibe, dancing roundabout the fire as if one with some divine transmission.
Their leader, who danced and yipped among his band like the incarnation of a young warrior king, was seventeen-year-old Brock Bowman.Read More