returners, 14

They sat on the ruins and waited for the sun to set. Dozens of other people were scattered around the hilltop. From this point, all of the temples in the vast complex were visible. The five peaks of the largest complex looked deceptively tiny from this point, the serene stone faces barely visible with the distance. The giant, rectangular ponds were still, the channels running from them long dry.

The sun flared behind the monuments and fields, inviting dusk. In the twilight, the spectators rose from their places on stone ruins that had long been overgrown with grass and trees. The more prepared ones turned on their flashlights to make their way to the base of the hill, the others strained their eyes for the next step. Sneakers and sandals and flip-flops crunched on the gravel toward the bottom, and went on their way, back to the hotels, the resorts, and, maybe, to their homes.