The Reverend loomed over the barren plain. He stared at the blank horizon as if in search of something, although to Grace’s eyes, nothing of significance was out there. Sunset burned his silhouette into a vast and gaudy sky. Standing tall in his long coat on the porch above his wife and son, he appeared to be a giant–grand and otherworldly. Perhaps this was how the Chinese saw him, she thought. Her husband spread his arms toward the blazing clouds and shadowed flatlands as if to say that all this was now in the Lord’s embrace. The breeze shifted, and billows of smoke circled their way. Grace watched the Reverend’s outline waft and shimmer. She would not have been surprised if his body had gone up in flames right there before her eyes, ignited in a holy conflagration with only a pile of ash left behind to mark his time on this earth. Grace shook the strange notion from her mind, although she wondered how so good a man could appear so sinister in such glorious light.
As he started down the porch steps, Grace roused their sleeping child from beside her on the sat of the buckboard. “We’re here,” she whispered. “Our sweet vacation home.”