Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

The Desert and Sarah

The sand was hot to the touch. Scorching. I scooped up a handful, letting the fine white grains slide between my fingers. I looked at Sarah, crouching beside me, more dead than alive. Her fragile, seven year old body was already deteriorating from the harsh conditions of the Rub' al Khali. Her skin was caked with clay, to protect her blistering skin from the heat. Her face was bright red, and froth foamed around a scorpion sting on her cheek. She needed rest.

I put my coat on the ground, a thick fleece that I put around Sarah's shoulders when It got cold and dark. Now it would protect her from the hot sand as well. I gently lay her body on the fleece, then took off my over-shirt, poured some water on it, and placed it over her face. Our tent had been lost to the malevolent sandstorm a few days ago.

I put my hand on Sarah's chest. It rose, then fell. She was alive.

"Daddy?" I heard her murmur.

"Shh, quiet. It's going to be OK." I forced myself to believe the lie, pouring water over her parched lips. She coughed, but the water went down her hoarse throat, which was all I cared about. I slowly and gently cleaned the scorpion sting as best I could with some more water. The water jug was half full. Or half empty, I suppose, but I couldn't look at the down side now. Not while Sarah was still breathing.

"Where's Mommy?" I heard her mumble beneath my wet shirt.

"Shh. Mommy's OK. We'll see her soon."

"When?"

"Later today maybe. Or tomorrow." That was the truth, most likely. I didn't know if I wanted it to be.

"I miss her," Sarah breathed.

"I know. Quiet now. Sleep."

I finished cleaning the sting, and sat down beside Sarah. I wanted to put my arms around her, hold her close, but didn't want to heat her body up any more. A forty year old man and his seven year old daughter, in the middle of the Rub' al Khali. It was only a matter of time.

I pulled my Swiss army knife out of my pocket and fingered the blade. I imagined slicing it across her throat, quickly, sparing her the agony of dying slowly, with blisters and hurt all over her body.

I put the knife away. I didn't have the strength. I was selfish.

"It will all be over soon," I whispered to Sarah, hot tears springing to my eyes. The sun glared down on us ruthlessly. An hour passed. Another. My thoughts slowly drifted back to the knife.




Join the Discussion


This article has 5 comments. Post your own!

MckayThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 12 at 2:46 pm:
I love the ending. The story is like The Catcher in the Rye where there is no resolution conspicous to the average reader; but the avid and careful reader there's a message that is deep. You're very talented with flash short story fiction. It's a style I have yet to master. I'm too wordy as you can tell. By the way, welcome to the site. I was seeing that you're somewhat new. Happy to have you join a group of aspiring nonetheless talented writers. Also your taste in books, aut... (more »)
 
MckayThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 12 at 2:47 pm :
Apologies for the long nad tedious comment.
 
MckayThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 12 at 2:47 pm :
and. oops. 
 
Krian replied...
Apr. 19 at 11:29 pm :
Its ok. The longer the comment the better :) And thanks for the warm welcome. The Night Circus is an exceptional book, I highly reccomend it. Still haven't posted a lot on the site, but I will keep writing until something is published. :) Write on! 
 
MckayThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
today at 4:17 pm :
Keep at it. And I'm certainly interested in The Night Circus. Sounds cool.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback