Short Stories 215 — Writing Prompt 48

You fell asleep in the desert, wondering how you would survive the next day.

Mirage

Every breath is getting difficult than the previous one, my back is slumpy, my legs are heavy, and yet somehow I am walking on this forsaken desert. Nothing to measure how much I have walked, setting eyes on the dune ahead, and after reaching, lock eyes on the next one. That is how I have been walking for the past two days.

Food was exhausted on the first day, itself while saving water as much as possible, only lasted for one and a half-day. Two days without eating and a day without water, that is how bad it has gone. And yet, here I am walking.

No matter, how much distance I cover, there is no end to this desert. I was supposed to reach it within a day, but after 2 days of walking, I may have lost my way. Out of energy, I can’t even feel my legs. But somehow I keep moving forward. It feels as if I am not even walking. My feet are dragging on the sand, leaving a trail behind that will be gone in few hours.

After so many steps, one is bound to reach somewhere, at least that is what is going through my head. But it is leading to one mirage after another. All I can hope is one of these is real. Source of water right in front of my eyes, but away from my grasp. I know for a fact that it is not even real, but yet I keep chasing it. One has to be real, right?

My hands had started to dangle by my side. Everything feels like a drag. My legs are hurting, and the headache is killing me. Still, my eyes are set on the dune ahead of me, thinking, that might be the last one. And as I climbed it with all my limbs, reaching on top, and still there is no end. I wished there would be an oasis right in front of me, but it hurt me even more, seeing nothing, except sand.

My entire body ached as I stood there and no the internal had started to ache. I somehow withstood the external pressure, but the pain inside is strong enough to bring one to his knees. I feel on the ground. Until now, my brain wasn’t working, but right now it brew all the negative thoughts it could think of.

I started to question everything. “Why did I even start this journey?” was the first question that popped into my head. My chest felt heavy and the sorrow and the pain tried to come out through the mirror of the soul, called eyes. But there was no water left in my body, not even to shed a tear. Unable to cry, the pain increased, as I thought of the amazing days that I had ahead of me back on the farm.

“Why did I even leave my farm and my sheep?” All this began when I decided to sell my sheep. The sheep that I grew up with and the ones I took care of. And for my own personal gain, I sold them. “Maybe I deserve to die alone, like this in a desert,” I said to myself with pity.

“Even after selling the sheep, I could have stayed at the merchant's shop,” the place where I made enough money to buy three times the number of sheep I had, and yet there would be more to spare. That is the life I left behind, in search of a person who knows even exists or no. And here I am dying without a drop of water.

I could have lived happily there, without any worry. I made more money than I needed. And the amount would have increased substantially, but I gave it up. Life was good back then, and now it is nothing but turmoil, and suffering, and sand. All I had to do was, save the money and not spend it on useless things, and should have stayed here. But no, and now here I am dying alone.

Mentally I have given up, as I fell on my side, not the energy to spent, not food to eat, no water to drink, yet the eyes keep starring at the next dune. Here I am, after so many hardships, still somewhere deep down, I wanted to reach the next dune. it is fine if I die, but I have to reach to that one and see it with my own two eyes. I managed to get my hands together, placed them opposite the ground, and lifted myself, and here I was, ready to walk again. And after two steps, I fell to the ground. And slowly the dune ahead of me vanished, as my eyes closed slowly.

I wasn’t feeling good. As I opened my eyes, the sand was moving in front of my eyes. And my face felt wet, and I was above the ground. I was on something, a camel. And the pace at which it was walking, seemed like it was in a rush, and before I could understand what was going on, it fell unconscious again.

As my eyes opened once again, all I could see is a piece of cloth hanging on top of my head. It wasn’t hot, and there wasn’t enough sand, but there was shade. “Shade, in a desert, what is going on,” I said to myself and as I opened my eyes wider and tried to understand things, I realized I am in some kind of tent. I had fruits as well as water besides me, to which I reached out with both hands, eat, and drank to my heart's content.

“I am alive. And safe,” I thought. I wasn’t ware for how long was I unconscious but it must have been a day or two. I got up, it was difficult, as my legs pained a lot. I am conscious, but my injuries haven’t healed, yet I had to take a look outside. And so I did. As I walked out, the first thing I felt was the heat of the desert. And the next thing I noticed, is the massive trees in a straight line. And the next thing was the number of tents and people here. It wasn’t just an oasis, but an entire village.

I had survived the fatal desert and maybe, I am at the right place, I said to myself for once in so many years. A smile sat on my face as I enjoyed the view. The people in the city are extremely helpful. They are not only taking care of me but various other individuals that almost died at the hands of the desert, just like me.

Days passed. And I recovered. After a couple of weeks, I really liked this place. I did not want to go outside, as I knew the desert is a scary place to get lost in, and I did not want to deal with it again. And so I stayed there for a month. And another month passed. I am enjoying it here, but I am also running away, from my destination. And that was my gut feeling.

That only meant one thing, and it is to get out there once again, putting my life on the line. It took me a couple of weeks more to decide. And at the end, I decided to follow my heart and go with my gut feeling. Upon asking the villagers I had already found out about this person, who I was looking for. He is to the east, days away from here. So I had to make another journey. I wasn’t too keen on it, but I had to do it.

Somehow arranged a camel from a neighbor, without any money. Gathered all the food and water I could get and I would need for the trip. And in no time, it was time to head out again, in the maws of the desert. It did not feel good at all. I was once again, leaving a good life, in order to achieve something that may not even be there.

And just like that, I said my goodbyes to the people I was living with and embarked on another journey. Once again I saw myself, looking from dune to dune. But this time I had a companion, who is very good at walking, so it was much easier. And I had enough food and water supply for the trip both ways.

After two days of traveling, I came across a structure in the middle of the desert. A tent, small in size. I reached near it and got off the camel, to cover the distance on foot. I entered the tent and there was no one in there, but right as I turned around, a figure comes out of the sand, right from where I came. And it formed a human-like body. And a man appeared, out of the sand.

“I have been waiting for you,” said the Alchemist.

Not a pro write — trying to figure out writing and being articulate — just a side gig — not expecting much from it except learning—Hope you enjoy your stay.