For the last several miles, Johnny swore he saw the light cutting straight between the red mountains, giving him a beacon after an eternity of crawling in the dark. It had to be a fiction, a fantasy he'd imagined, something to give him guidance. He had no map to lead him to the tree, only have remembered fairy tales and local superstitions. He'd thought about turning back time and time again, but the path had disappeared, subsumed by the ever lengthening fields.
Despite being in the grip of spring, these rolling hills had adopted an autumn hue. He kept his eyes trained on the pillar of white light, fearful it would vanish if he lost sight of it, a more fickle beast than a rainbow after a fresh rain. But he was in luck, the oddity held its grip, as if calling him forward, whispering promises of reunion. He'd shed his pack, anything that would slow him down. Thirst burned his throat, his muscles ached, the wind whipped at his ears, but he trudged forward through the amber grass.
As he crested the final hill, he saw the motionless tree, stark white amidst the crimson stalks and saw a figure there, impossibly dark, but waiting. Waiting for him.