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The Desert

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I’d walk a mile for a sip of water. I know that seems irrational, especially since I’ve already walked so many miles in this wasteland already, but it’s true. I don’t think I’m ever going to get out of here. I can’t retrace my steps to find civilization; I don’t even know how I got here. I don’t remember much about last night at all, actually.
Yesterday was my twenty-first birthday. At least, I think it was yesterday; I’m not entirely sure how long I was unconscious. Anyway, my friends and I had planned this huge trip to Vegas to celebrate. We were going to do all of the normal touristy stuff, like see concerts and magic shows, go to casinos, and find some Elvis impersonators. We were also, of course, going to drink. In fact, we didn’t do anything but drink; everything else was planned for later in the week.
I never had anything to drink before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I don’t know where my friends were when everything happened and I can’t help but blame them a little for not being there. I don’t remember much, but I remember the man. He seemed so normal at first. He wasn’t particularly handsome, intelligent, or funny, but he was really intense. When I talked, he stared at me so fixedly that he hardly seemed to blink. After a while, he started to scare me. Whenever we walked somewhere, he would grab my arm above the elbow and pull me along. My mind was fuzzy but I knew I needed to get away from him; I just didn’t know how to do it. I correctly assumed that he would not simply let me walk away. I tried saying I needed to use the restroom but he followed me there. There weren’t any windows for me to climb out of. I was stuck; I didn’t have any choice but to go back out to him. He took me by the elbow again and led me to a table. He said he was going to get us something to drink but I should stay right where I was. As soon as he turned around, I jumped up from the table and ran, but my head was swimming and my movements were too clumsy. He caught up to me just as I reached the exit. The last thing I remember is that man dragging me by the arm to his car and holding a peculiar smelling rag to my face.
I woke up in the desert, abandoned. For all I knew, I wasn’t even in Nevada anymore. I started walking because I didn’t see what else there was I could do. I just chose a random direction and trudged off.
I’ve been walking for hours. The thought that I may be going the wrong way stabs into my brain with each pounding footstep. I can’t stand the idea that I may be traveling deeper and deeper into this forsaken desert. It occurs to me that I’m probably going to die here. I have no idea when the last time I had anything to eat or drink was. The heat is incredible. I can almost feel it dragging the last of my strength and energy from my body. I know I can’t walk much farther but I’m afraid to stop because I think I’ll collapse if I do. As long as I keep going, there’s hope.
A few hours pass before I notice something is different. It takes me a while before I realize what it is. My mind is fuzzy again, though this time it is from heat and exhaustion. I stop and stare at the ground. The road. I have found a road. If I can just follow this road, I’ll end up somewhere. It doesn’t matter where, as long as it’s somewhere. I smile and keep walking along the side of the road. A few more hours pass and I’m feeling worse than ever. As I collapse, I think I may have found my road to safety too late.
When I wake up, there is a face above mine. It’s an old man’s face and it’s looking down at me with concern. I don’t understand what’s happening. For a moment, I wonder if this wizened old man is God. Whoever he is, he is visibly relieved when I open my eyes. He gives a shaky laugh and says, “Don’t worry, ma’am. Help is on the way.”




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