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Phoenix

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PROLOGUE

In nearly every great civilization exists mythology about a bird of fire. The ancient Egyptians had Bennu, who was born in the flames of a burning holy tree standing in the temple of the sungod Ra. The Persians had Huma, known for its compassion and to bring good fortune. In Hinduism, Garuda served as a chariot for the god Vishnu, the beginning of all souls and worlds.

The Greeks, Romans and in time, Christians, had the Phoenix.

The bird is a stunning creature with long beautiful feathers, it’s color ranging from a bright, fiery crimson to royal purple. It’s been the symbol of ancient gods and medieval kings, known for bringing peace and as a symbol of virtue and unity.

In China, Feng-huang symbolizes completeness and the joining of yin and yang.

The essence of this magical bird and the thing joining each of these incarnations and civilizations, eons and continents apart, is the possibility of rebirth. The bird is said to hold an unnaturally long life. When it ends, it’s engulfed in flames and then from the ashes is reborn.

As she walked across the never-ending stretch of land, all two thousand four hundred and fifty-six acres of it, the woman in billowing skirts lifted her hands to her hair and freed it, letting it fall down her back in a waterfall of dark curls.

She held her hands turned towards the ground and let them rest at the sides of her hips as she walked across the land, the long, untouched grass tickling her palms. Every direction she turned was wilderness. Empty, unspoiled wilderness.

There were no factories spitting out their filth into the air, no carriages making the streets unsafe and turning them into mud soiling the hem of her skirts. They might be just plain cotton, but still, she wanted them clean.

Here there were no loud noises from the taverns, no drunks or prostitutes littering the alleys. No husband falling in through the door, the stench surrounding him telling her that the week's wages were already gone.

Everything was new and whatever came out of it, would be up to her. Looking down at her feet on the small boy sitting by them, she smiled and then turned her face up to the sun and spread her arms, as she reveled in a freedom she’d never before experienced.

Here, she would build her home and leave a legacy her son could build on. Under this Colorado sun she would become engulfed in flames and be reborn into the person she had always wanted to be.

On these two thousand four hundred and fifty-six acres, she would build The Phoenix Ranch.