“Daddy what is that?” Little Raye asked, as she struggled to close the car door. “I got it little lady.” Sonny Ray smiled as he took his daughters hand. They opened the gate and walked in among the quiet, and restful sleepers. After a short time, Sonny Ray found the headstone of his father. “I’m sorry honey what did you ask daddy earlier? ”
“Oh it was just a big bird flying around. Did you see it daddy?” Raye asked, looking with her right hand above her eyebrows. “No baby,
I missed him I guess.” Sonny Ray and his young daughter stood at the foot of his dad’s semi freshly dug grave. Sonny Ray stood quietly, as his first born leaned in close, sensing her father’s sadness. Sonny Ray had noticed as they were walking toward his dad’s grave; a small pile of sand that was obscuring words carved on the white marble headstone.
It was an odd pile of sand.
The sand was inverted, and cone like in shape. It reminded Sonny Ray of a volcano. It was perhaps two feet in circumference. The inverted volcano seemed so perfect, like every grain of sand was in place. Sonny Ray smiled. Now he remembered. As a kid, he and his brothers used to catch ants and drop them into a sand lion pit.
As children they would watch with grave and serious intent, as the ants would disappear, soundless into the abyss of sand death. Sonny Ray wondered how big the sand lion was; to make such a big sand trap. “Well big or not you gotta move son,” Sonny Ray said, talking to himself. He started to level it with his foot when he noticed a slight movement at the bottom of the sand lion pit. A little more sand moved, and then again. Little Raye wandered a couple of headstones over, after asking her father permission to pick a few wild flowers growing near the fence. After explaining cemetery etiquette to his five year old, little Raye went on to embark on one of her first adventures. Meanwhile, Sonny Ray turned his attention to the sand lion pit. As Sonny Ray bent down, he began a search. He was looking to locate a hard working, blue collar, custodian of the earth, type of ant. “Black or red, the lion must be fed. Sorry partner but you have been selected to be the next contestant on; Escaping the sand lions lair,” Sonny Ray said in his best game show host voice. He spoke at a volume slightly above a whisper so as not to have his daughter question his sanity at a later date. Sonny Ray carefully placed the ant on the lip; on the precipice of sand lion country. The Ant, though perhaps being the hardest worker on the planet, was not necessarily the smartest. It promptly walked down to the bottom of the pit to face a certain and prescribed end. There. He saw it again. The dance of death had begun. Little grains of sand began to move with incidental stir; as the sand lion tied his apron. The sand lion prepared a salad, and would soon sharpen his knife. The end for Mr. Ant was eminent. Sonny Ray focused his attention to the bottom of the sand lion arena, not wanting to miss a thing. The sand suddenly began to move violently, as the face of Sonny Ray’s father emerged from the bottom of the pit. Sonny Ray heard himself gasp, as his father’s face; blackened and ashy, was clearly seen. He looked around wildly for his daughter. She could not be found. A shadow crossed over his father’s grave. Sonny Ray raised his eyes upward, and saw the large black eagle hovering, circling in a slow tight spiral.
Sonny Ray began to slide into his own personal descent; a sand like confusion that terrified Sonny Ray.
He again looked into the pit of the sand lion. Sand began to rise, up to his knees it seemed to go. Sand continued to cover his dead father’s eye’s, but his mouth began to speak. “No he’s not, Sonny Ray, no he’s not, no, Sonny Ray.” His dead dad’s legacy of denial, echoed in the canyon of his live son’s mind.