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message 1: by Datminv (new)

Datminv (DatM) | 4 comments Desert

The three-digit temperature in the desert beat down on a boy, who, close to death, was staggering towards a village he saw in the distance. He had no water; he had drunk the last of it hours ago. He dearly regretted that long drink he had then. If only he had controlled himself…

But he did not waste energy on idle thoughts; nor on forlorn hopes; he concentrated every cell in his body towards reaching that village. He dropped the last of his possessions, a jeweled dagger he found in a cave, among other treasures, and struggled on. His mouth was as dry as his teacher’s wit, and he kept it shut tighter than a clam to prevent the heat from evaporating the water inside his body as well.

Just one more hill, he thought, just one more. He kept that thought in his mind as he descended the penultimate dune. Just one more, just one more, just one more, almost there, one more, almost there, one more, almost there… and then the air shimmered in a heat wave and the village disappeared. Just a mirage.

The bitter disappointment coupled with extreme dehydration, and he felt bile rise into his mouth as he collapsed.

***

He awoke to the sound of horses’ hooves, beating down on the sand. A man spoke, a course and rough accent.

“’Ey, Jim! Look at it ova’ here!”

“What’s it?”

“’Sa boy! Looks ta me, ‘bout, thirteen or like. Wanna take ‘im an’ sell at Gedra?”

The boy opened his eyes. There were two men on light brown horses. One was quite fat, and he looked to be the one that had just spoken. A club was strapped to his back, and he held the reins on one side and a large waterskin in the other. It took all of the boy’s self restraint to stop himself from getting up and grabbing it.

The other man was also leaning towards obesity, but he was not quite so large. He appeared to be unarmed, but he was carrying a large pack.

“Nah, leave ‘im. Thirteen’s a bad number, don’t ya know. ‘Sides, we also got that dagger. That’ll give us some good monies.”

The boy could restrain himself no longer. He jumped up with a fistful of sand and threw it in the fatter man’s eyes. He then punched him in the stomach. Before he could launch another attack, however, the man, cursing, kicked him full in the chest. He was thrown into the air and landed on his side. The other man dismounted, grabbed him, and slapped him in the face, hard.

“Damn idiot!” the man swore. “Lil’ brat! Fine, let’s take ‘im, if just ta punish ‘im. He should get ta worst masta’ in the country!”

Thrashing, the boy managed another kick that connected with the man’s shin. The man swore again. He drew back is fist, bellowing in rage and preparing to smite the boy, when suddenly he was cut off and he collapsed to the ground. Both the boy and the fatter man looked around in bewilderment.

A middle-aged man was fitting another arrow to his bow. He aimed and released.

“Oh dear,” said the fat man, a millisecond before the arrow hit him and he collapsed to the ground.




message 2: by Helen (new)

Helen McClory Hi Aakaash,

I'm new here. Just read your story post and want to say I like your characterisation a lot. Good detail on the men, and convincing action with throwing sand into their eyes... and great timing with the arrows!

I don't know if it's beyond the pale, but I do have a criticism -
IMO, the line:
'The sudden bitter disappointment and shock coupled with his extreme dehydration'
is a bit on the heavy side. Too many adjectives stacking up. you could just cut and go straight to 'He felt bile rise...' which is really evocative, really strong.
Just my first impression of the piece. look forward to reading more!


message 3: by Datminv (last edited Jan 11, 2009 08:01AM) (new)

Datminv (DatM) | 4 comments Oh, I see what you mean; I'll change it. Thanks for the feedback!

Everyone else, please feel free to point out technicalities or mistakes.


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