The story begins here
The stainless steel bars of the ladder were cold and slippery with condensation. In my younger days I would have thought nothing of it, but this day I climbed carefully, never lifting more than one hand or one foot at a time. The clouds hit an abrupt ceiling some ten feet below the top of the tower and I climbed from the murky underworld into the glorious clear air, gleaming with the horizontal rays of the setting sun. To the west, the sky shown with streaks of sangria and gold and I had to hurry to catch the last of the light. I clambered up the rest of the way and turned to sit at the top of the latter, grasping the hand rails for safety as I enjoyed the rolling ocean of mist beneath me. It glowed white at first, but then, quickly, the dying sun lent it a brilliant array of colors and then the spot of bright crimson appeared; starting out small and growing outward in the shape of a fan as though spraying from the mountain.
I was so mesmerized by the sight that I almost leapt from the tower when the voice behind me spoke: "What are you looking for?"
I spun around to behold a tall, lean shape standing dangerously close to the unguarded edge of the tower. I tried to see if he were wearing a uniform or the coverall of a workman who might have business here, but the man was between me and the sun, and I could make out almost nothing. "I'm just enjoying the scenery, I answered."
"You came to see the red streak." the man said.
"I didn't know the red streak would be here today," I corrected him, "but it is spectacular. I can imagine that it is a patch of Earth's own blood welling up, perhaps, from the great wound of the San Andreas fault just below us."
"What, you're a poet?" The man didn't seem impressed with my wordsmithing.
"No," I said, a bit defensively, "I'm a blogger and I was thinking about how I would describe this on my blog."
"The metaphor is heavy-handed and contrived."
"I suppose you could do better?"
I was actually hoping he could, but he didn't seem inclined to help, "Oh, no, I wouldn't presume to offer writing advice to a blogger."
OK, that was kind of cold, so I turned back to the beauty instead of letting myself get involved in a pointless exercise in chest thumping.
The shadow moved and I turned my head far enough to see the man coming toward me from the corner of my eye. I felt threatened so I quickly stood up and turned around to face him, my feet on the last step of the ladder, my hands grasping the rail firmly. As the figure slowly approached, its movement seemed timed to go with the setting of the sun.