The Waste (I)

THUMP! THUMP!  Whoooooosh. Ssssss.

THUMP! THUMP!  Whoooooosh. Ssssss.

THUMP! THUMP!  Whoooooosh. Ssssss.

THUMP! THUMP!  Whoooooosh. Ssssss.

Paris’s footfalls rapidly struck the dusty, dirt road. Stomped into the air, gritty brown particles rose in small puffs around the spots struck by his feet, hung in the desert air for a long breath, then returned to the road at the heavy handed coercion of gravity; then, upon once again making contact with the earth, they made a barely perceivable, clattering sound, like that of tiny raindrops alighting on a metal roof.

Adrenaline spiked by the terrifying encounter, Paris sprinted from the oasis.  Running with the frantic concern of one making distance from a bear, Paris fled his temporary respite from the harsh wasteland.  Fear powered his muscles, and in time, when he chanced a look over his shoulder at his recently abandoned shelter, thankfully, he found it,  a mere green and brown bubble in the distance.

His pace slowed. And, the intensity of his impacts upon the ground softened.

THUMP! THUMP!  Whoooooosh. Ssssss.

THUMP! THUMP!  Whoooooosh. Ssssss.

Thump! Thump! Whooosh. Sss.

Thump!               Thump!           Whoosh.        Ss.

Thump.                                         Thump.                                   Ss.                     Ss.

Thump.           Thump.           Ss.

Paris’s pace slowed to that of a brisk walk, which he then decreased even further, and in a very short timeafterwards, he recognized that his pace was stirring little of the dusty road beneath his soles.

He craned his neck and found the distant emerald and umber toned marble.  Whatever had assaulted him in the seemingly peaceful grove, was now far behind him.

He could feel his heart pounding in his chest, as his body struggled to decelerate from the spontaneous exertion in which Paris had recently engaged.  The frantic pace of his flight had been cooling on his skin.  But now that he had slowed to a stroll, his heightened body temperature, coupled with the sun rays from a cloudless sky, caused the few beads of sweat on his brow to multiply, and soon, rivulets were running down his face, curving around his ears, and meandering down the back of his neck.

His collar was soon moistened with perspiration, and the patch of cloth directly above his sternum, began to darken.

Paris fanned himself in futility, as he walked.  The persistent rays of the blazing orange sphere were not in a hurry to abate, thus providing him and relief from its heat.  There were no clouds in the sky, rendering Paris’s hopes for an overcast sky and a break from the heat, pointless.

Aside from the distant, looming, mountains, the dusty road upon which he strode, wound off into a landmarkless distance.

Paris sensed a momentary quivering, twitching, and gelatinous feeling in his legs, but attributed that to his recent, accelerated sprint.  In spite of his frantic exit from the oasis,  Paris felt a vigor in his musculature, and an overall, rejuvenated spirit.

He would will his body forward, and his feet would obey.  He had nourished his body with food, water, and rest in the oasis.  His spirit, though rattled by the curious encounter in the grove, was refreshed, and encouraged.   Satisfying his physical needs had bolstered his spirits.

He set his focus towards the farthest point that he could see on the trail, and committed his body to power through to dusk.

Hours passed, thousands of steps had been placed on the path, and the sun, slowly, gracefully danced into a new position on the powder-blue dance floor.

Around mid-afternoon, Paris glimpsed a small, dark object, that seemed to be located close to the trajectory of the dusty road.  He estimated, that the object was a thirty to forty minute walk from his position on the flat path.

Paris slapped his hand on the outside of his thighs several times, like a rider using a riding crop on a horse, telling his legs to pick up the pace.

Minute by minute, Paris closed on the object.  While any curiosity in the monotonous landscape was welcome, Paris soon found that the object which he was so eager to approach, was not one that was to be a beacon in the harsh wasteland.

In fact, the object was quite simply, a large boulder, situated a short distance left of the road.  When he drew near to the rock, his feet pulled him off of the trail towards the boulder, which was about twenty feet tall, and about one hundred paces around.

Paris walked completely around the boulder, and found nothing of substantial interest, other than a small clump of strange-looking grass, that grew on the, to Paris’s orientation, northern side of the rock.  Though the grass looked to be innocuous, after the experience amidst his most recent encounter with the green foliage of the oasis, Paris steered clear of this unexpected patch of plant life.

He found the side of the stone that was sheltered from the sun, selected what seemed to be a particularly cool patch, and shrugged his pack from his shoulders.   Paris placed his back against the cool side of the boulder, slowly lowered himself, until he was seated upon the ground, then deftly untangled the ties cinching the opening of the pack.  Paris then probed into the content of the pack with his fingers.  He found pliable leather, full of liquid within, and drew the water skin from the bag.

Paris removed the stopper, and raised the skin to his lips.  He drank deeply, and conscientiously, knowing his finite resources, and the lack of perceivable replenishment ahead.

Once he slaked his thirst, Paris replaced the stopper.  He did not immediately place the water skin back into his bag.  He drew it to his chest, and held it close, feeling the liquid sloshing back and forth along his breastplate, until finally, it stilled.

Paris relaxed in the shade, and even allowed his eyes to blink shut for a minute, then a minute longer, and ultimately, he found sleep in the shade of the rock.

Feeling an uncomfortable sensation in his lower back, he shifted, and suddenly found himself awake, and in complete darkness. The water skin, three-quarters full, was still in his hand.  He shifted the skin to his right hand, and groped for his pack with his left.

Thankfully, his pack was in the dirt nearby, and it took him less than several grasps to locate it.

Knowing that he was weary, and aware that a night against a hard rock would be less than beneficial to his frame, Paris retrieved the bedroll from his pack.

Temporarily shaking the fog of his recent unconsciousness, Paris set up his roughshod campsite.  He felt little inclination to forage for supplies to light a fire.  He laid out a thin padding that would soften the sensation of the hard earth against his flesh.  He drew the thin blanket over his body, and into it, he curled himself.  He rolled over to place the boulder at his back, making the last glimpse of his day, the mountains in the distance.

Paris found rest, though it would be experienced for a short time.

An intense, powerful gust of warm wind blew open Paris’s eyelids.  Paris ducked into his bedroll, yet the wind blew into his hair, and pushed back his thin blanket.  Confusion ensued, as grit and dust particles grated against the exposed flesh of his face and hands.   Paris turned toward the rock, and pulled the thin blanket up over his head, silently praying for relief.

The bellowing wind demon howled, but Paris had insulted himself against the barrage, even it would be temporarily.

Deep into the night, the winds beat against his camp cowl.  Paris could feel the sediment impact the blanket that shielded him against the barrage.  He was assaulted by both the temperature, physical impact of the raging of the wasteland storm, there was also an incredibly important side-effect. With the raging of this desert storm, Paris only found intermittent sleep.  He leapt between dreams, and wind, and dirt, and semi-consciousness, Paris swam through dreamscape and reality, until….

Despite the barrage of sensory stimuli, his weariness overcame him.  Curled against the extremely uncomfortable, boulder, Paris finally found sleep.





Leave a Reply