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Into the Desert

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How much longer? How much more ooing and ahing do I have to take? It seems as if the desert never ends.

The air conditioning is on full blast, but it still isn't enough. Really all it's doing is blowing slightly less warm air onto our bodies. I nudge my sister who is shoving herself against me trying to spot Four Peaks or Weavers Needle. It's July why couldn't we have waited until... I dunno winter? Next spring? Maybe, now here's my favorite idea so far. I COULD HAVE STAYED HOME!

We passed Tortilla Flat about an hour ago, and we probably have a couple more miserable hours to go.

I rummage through the bag at my feet. Finally maybe I can escape into the world of music. I shove the ear buds into my ears and sigh as my favorite band begins to play. I close my eyes and everything around me disappears. Maybe, I begin to think, it won't be so long.

“Taylor, turn off your music!” My mother shouts, “Enjoy the scenery we don't get to see things like this every day!” I'm snapped back to reality. As I press the power button on my Ipod, I think, who am I kidding. I'll be here forever.


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A long row of carts and wagons full of goods trailed ahead of me. The relentless sun beats down on our backs with such intensity. My skin was turning a beat red and was slick with a layer of sweat.

The steady beat of the horses' hooves on the dirt road echoed through the mountains. Men and their mules followed the one leading us through the desert and to our homes. No one spoke, but it was as if you could feel their thoughts swirling around in the dry hot air, and around the peaks of the mountains around us.

The scenery was unlike any I had ever seen. The steep winding road curved around ledges and over hills and beside shimmering lakes and rivers. Tortilla Flat had been a couple hours back. The rocky mountainside of Four Peaks loomed in the distance and the sharp cut of Weaver's Needle stood high touching the cloudless sky. Tall slender cacti stood strongly dotting the mountainside and scraggly bushes lined the road and covered the valley bellow. Ocatillo grew and brilliantly colored wildflowers added vibrant color to the rocks around them. Lupins and California Poppies grew in clumps together along the mountainside.

Large birds circle in the sky searching for prey. The shake of a Rattlesnake's tail rings in the distance. Shouts begin to arise from ahead. The mules have stopped, but some stomp furiously on the ground and buck while the men fall to the ground. Soon enough, the message reaches me and I stop dead in my tracks. Our leader has fallen.


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Finally, we are off the dirt road and almost home. I grab my cell phone from my purse. Yes! I've got service. I begin to type the text onto the screen.

Me: It's so hot O.o
Chelsea: I know right!
Me: It's like the car is a toaster oven!
Chelsea: Lol :)
Me: So what's up?
Chelsea: Nothing much just babysitting my brother
Me: Oh. Fun.
Chelsea:Yeah right. Crap! Sorry I got 2 go. He's making a mess!
Me: K good luck! :P
Chelsea: O.o


*
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The sky is alight with hues of orange, purple, and magenta. The last rays set behind the dark mountains in the distance. One of our men paces outside our leader's tent. It has been so long since the medic entered the small tent. The small fire crackles giving us a source of light. No one sits near it for air is still warm. All our minds are focused on the tent. The tension in the air is thick and seems to drip off of all of us. We all stare at our feet thinking of what could possibly be taking so long.
Maybe it's a good sign... maybe not.

A rustle from behind me brings my eyes to the doctor emerging from the tent. His eyes are down cast and sullen. My chest heavies. He walks to the man pacing and shakes his head with a hand on his shoulder. The man seems to choke a bit. A single tear trails down my warm cheek. Every traveler bends their heads digesting the news they had just received.

Our leader was dead.


*
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My stomach growled, and I realized I hadn't hardly eaten since we got in the car.

“Pass the chips.” My mom handed me the giant bag of Lays potato chips and I began crunching away at them. I glanced around. Maybe it wasn't so bad after all. It was pretty awesome. The mountains were beautiful. It would even be pleasant if not for the heat... Uggggg the heat.


*
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I wipe the sweat from my brow. I kneel over and the carts part around mine. My throat is so dry, and my stomach feels as though I hadn't eaten in years... when in actuality it had only been maybe two days. I stomach growled and my face contorted. There was no food to be had, and I had long since drank the last of the water in my flask. There was no time to stop for more. If we couldn't get home in time, we would all die out here. With our leader gone, we are forced to pick up the pace. Even with the new guy in charge things are grim. Supplies are running thin, and not a soul has eaten. Everyone has been shaken, and we all want nothing more than to return home. So we walk.


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I jump out of the car to stretch my legs. The sun sets behind the houses around us. Finally, we are home! It seemed as if the drive had taken forever. My stomach growled and once the door was unlocked I bolted to the fridge for a snack, then took it to my room. It felt so good to plop down onto my bed. I closed my eyes, and turned on my favorite song.

Home at last.


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The small town came into view. I knew she would be waiting and I couldn't wait to see her face. It had been so long. I hoped she hadn't forgotten me. It had been nearly a year since I had left for the trading in New York. We could only write to one another, but I hadn't heard from her in months. My stomach churned. Would she have forgotten me?

As men parted from the group off to their homes, I smiled. We were finally home. After weeks even months of travel, we were home. I parted from the group and waved good bye as I took the road that would lead me to her. The house came into view, and that's when I saw her. She was pacing on the porch. Her golden hair trailed down her back. She wore her best dress and she turned toward me. Her lips curled into an ecstatic smile and her perfect soul showed. I smiled as I ran into her arms.

“I missed you so much,” she said.

“I missed you more.”

No. I had not been forgotten, and I was home at last.



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cabel74 said...
Jun. 15 at 11:49 am:
Love this!  Great story!
 
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