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The desert is vast and continuous. Sand dunes are all you can see for eternity. The mountains are large and imposing; however, distant. No one has ever reached them, and lived. The sky is always cloudless, and the sun is always in the same position. Time is not stopped, or frozen. The sun is merely watching.
I wander through this desert, capable of surviving in it indefinitely without food, or water. I can because this is my desert.
I stop and rest in a slight hollow in a sand dune, shading my eyes from the sun. My cell phone rings.
I dig into the sand and pull out a little flip phone. I shake it out, getting the sand out of its crevices, then answer it.
“Michael! Where have you been? You need to work on that project. The week is almost out.”
“I know, honey. I’ll work on it. Just give me some time.”
“Our family depends on this, Michael. Please get it done.”
The phone ends the call and turns into sand.
I climb out of my resting place and begin traveling again.
To most, this sand is treacherous and steep.
But the sand moves into near flat alignment for me. As I move toward some unknown destination, I see an object sticking out of my walkway.
I dig around it and pull out a fake dog.
It seems to be a breed of bulldog. It’s small and black and white. The fur is false and the rest of it seems to be made of plastic.
But I get the foreboding sensation that this dog used to be real.
I set it down on its paws and continue walking away, hearing the disembodied barking echo behind me.
I get the desire for water. Or plant life. An oasis of some sort. Maybe I should leave this place and go swim in the pool.
No. I can’t do that.
My phone rings again. I reach into the sand and pull it out.
“Michael, that project is due in four days! You haven’t even started on it yet!”
“I know, honey. I’m sorry. I’ll work on it. Just give me a little more time.”
“Please don’t put it off any longer. We need this money…”
The phone disintegrates back into the sand.
I can’t leave just yet. I need to find what I’m looking for.
I continue my travel, glancing at the stationary sun every once in awhile. My foot kicks something in the loose sand. I reach down and pull out a small wooden box. It’s been painted a few different colors and has designs on it that I imagined decorated the inside of an Egyptian pyramid. I unlatch the little lock and open it.
There isn’t anything inside…
Depressed, I close the box and set it back down.
At some point in my journey I become weary and in need of rest. I dig a small hole and lay inside, cooling off in my nest.
I hear the flapping of wings, and the thud of a landing. I sit up and arrive face-to-face with a large crane.
It looks at me with interest.
I look at it with fascination.
I hold out a hand, about to reach out and touch this majestic water bird.
The ringing of my phone scares it away.
Once more, depressed, I reach into the sand and pull out my phone.
“What are you doing? The project is due tomorrow! You haven’t even started yet!”
“I’m really sorry. I promise I’ll work on it right now. I’ll have it done by tomorrow.”
“Get it done, Michael. Or I’m leaving you.”
I hold the phone and listen to the tone of the ended call.
I let it drop as I get out of my nest and continue walking.
My journey comes to a close when I find another object. It’s a door. Perfect, untouched, and erected without any fault. It stands alone, without a house to keep closed.
I approach this door, fascinated by its placement.
The screaming and yelling of beasts stop me. Hellhounds threaten and scream obscenities from the other side of the door. I can see their flaming tails whipping around the edges of the small barrier. I stumble back and stare at the door. The screaming becomes louder as my phone rings again.
I cover my ears and try to escape. The obscenities become even more vulgar and threatening. The ringing becomes even louder. I scream and flail in the sand, slowly sinking into its depths, hearing nothing but the hellhounds and the ringing of my phone.