The Desert - Snippet

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Literature Text

The Desert
Copyright © 2008 Bonnie Watson. All Rights Reserved.

They had already stopped twice during the day; once to refresh their empty stomachs. The other was due to the heat. He was losing them, and Wisdom knew it. The desert had proved far harsher than he had expected. If not for the plague looming over their homeland, he would have chosen another way.

The prince sighed as he sat upon a lone boulder jutting out of the sand. No telling how it got there, only that he had to follow. Each boulder had a separate mark, a symbol from one of his kind gone before him. As long as he followed, he was fine. Yet as he led the clan further from their homeland, from cool trees and luscious rivers, the harder it was to keep track. Some of the symbols were already corroding due to the harsh wind grinding sand against the rock’s surface. What would he do if he missed just one?

Wisdom wiped a hand across his pale brow. Sweat dripped from his palled curls. There was no mercy for an albino Healer. His people were used to forests, not barren wastelands. With trembling hand, he reached for the vial he kept tied around his neck. It was his only defense against the burning daylight hours. Here there were no plants to draw life from, no energy to replenish. The vial containing Pure Water was his only hope, and as long as he made good timing, there would be plenty to last for the next few days.

But a few days was all he had.

“You should eat something.” A young man approached the boulder.

Wisdom smiled. Such a sweet lad. Ashpin had been found in town when only twelve. He had no family, so Wisdom thought it best to raise him with little knowledge that he had just taken on role as master to a future apprentice and son-in-law.

“You don’t look well.” Ashpin noticed the rings from many sleepless nights under each eye.

“My priority is to the clan. You know that,” the prince replied between swallows. “I eat when they finish first.”

“When? In your sleep?” the young man teased, though his expression remained serious. “A few members are concerned. They say you haven’t been eating at all.”

Wisdom sighed. “What do you see here?” He held up the vial.

“I see liquid, but no food.”

“This is all the food I require.” He took another sip before corking the lid. When he spoke again, his voice was even lower. “Food doesn’t help against this heat, my lad. I need energy to replenish my magic. Without magic...” he paused when Ashpin’s face turned to worry. “Relax. There’s plenty to last.” He glanced over at the clan. “Ready?”

“As long as you are.” Ashpin turned and motioned for the members to rise and gather their belongings.

They continued on, stopping twice more before the chill of night settled in. As Wisdom lay curled against the last boulder for the day, he pondered what to do when tomorrow came. Wisdom’s fear was finally confirmed. The last of the markers had been rubbed off. Now he was left to the only sense he had left: his smell.

I’m close. I can smell the oasis. But the wind deceives. The smell could have traveled more than hundreds of miles from any direction.

He reached for the vial beneath his shirt. How cool it felt against his skin, more so than usual. Just the night air, he reasoned until he brushed against his damp shirt and realized a heart-aching truth. A crack along the bottom of the glass had allowed all the liquid to escape.

Too tired to even consider options, he finally slept…

Sleep little one
Sleep little one
Don’t you shed a tear.

Sleep little one
Dream little one
I will be right here.

Though the desert is full of sorrow
Not to worry ‘til tomorrow.

Sleep little one
Sleep little one
There’s no need to fear...
A short piece about what happens when Wisdom is forced to take his clan into the desert to avoid a plague...
© 2008 - 2024 bonbon3272
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bloodrose83's avatar
Wow, I hope he and his clan make it. He's in a bit of a bind without anything to help him out should something happen while they're out there, I mean, aside from the desert being enough to sap most peoples' strength. Very nice stuff, are you planning on continuing it off from there eventually?