Soon we were parched and needed more water. Butch, who understood this land better than just about anyone, had fewer problems. He knew the springs and secret seeps that kept him one step ahead of lawmen, who feared they'd die of thirst if they chased him into the Roost. After an hour of hunting around and cursing, we finally came across a seep under a cliff furred with supple vegetation. It dripped as slowly as a stopped clock, and we spent another hour in the sun, battling the gnats, to gather one liter of the precious stuff. At one point, I thought I heard the voices of other people coming to the spring for water. "We'll have to fight 'em for it," said Travis, practicing his Texan tough-guy twang. No one appeared, but Travis still drew the pistol and fired 50 rounds into the ground, the reports launching against the canyon walls. The gigantic silence squelched the last of the shots, and we ate canned sardines and couscous for lunch, with an aftertaste of dirt. We never found the caves.
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