He felt the hot breath of the bison, heard the beating of its hooves, tasted the dust it kicked before it and closed his eyes as he pushed the return on his machine. His heart was racing at almost 200 beats a minute as he stood in the middle of his living room. It was quiet, but it took his brain some moments to register the fact he was not dead. He had not been trampled by the herd.
Tom slowly came back to the present, the world, his world of 2222, and worked to calm his breathing and his heart. He knew his grand adventure was over, for although he could start over with the preparation and planning he had learned an important lesson.
While he had wide-open space before him, he was never truly alone. The beauty of nature, with its vast expanse, crystal clear nights, and distant sounds filled the space with a peace and majesty unmatched by any human construction. But even in the quietest of solitude there was something that provided the comfort of companionship. He couldn’t quite put his finger on what that was, he had never been a religious man, but there in the open space of the plains, with only his horse and the two mules to keep him company he found companionship that silenced the fears and troubles of his soul.
Tom sat for a long time considering this revelation and tried to decide his next move. Would he choose a new time and place to explore, or would he begin to explore himself, to see if he could understand that companion he found in the plains of the mid-west?