Monday, April 8, 2013

Relentless Sand

"Once upon a time, there was a young boy named Tseya who lived in a little hut, perched on the edge of the desert.  Actually, his home sat nestled on the border between a vast stretch of ocher sand and an emerald oasis.  Out one window, Tseya could watch a dune lark tease a barking gecko at the water's edge, marveling as the little lizard licked his eyes clean of the Namib's pervasive sand.  Or he could peer out the front door, counting the empty rolling hills of sand for as far as his six-year old eyes could see.

In the morning, Tseya loves to step out his front door with his basket of sticks and bowls and sit in the shade of the front porch, digging holes and trenches for his imaginary city of Lilonga.  Kneeling on the water's edge at the back of his home, he dips his dish in the precious watering hole and trudges back to the desert-side, filling his hand-made reservoirs.  Before his very eyes, the water is wicked away, seeping into the the thirsty soil.

At the sound of his mother's voice, Tseya scurries to the kitchen for a lunch of porridge before heading back out into the piercing sun to dig more trenches and fetch fresh water, but always with the same dusty result.  The moisture melts away before his eyes.

As the sun sets, Tseya shuffles to bed, a trail of desert following him to his room.  His sleep is deep and he awakes rested and excited to work in the sand again, hoping to bring life to his gritty front door.  Today is much like yesterday and the day before and the day before that.  He works hard at his play and at the end of the day he trudges wearily back to his sandy pillow.

Soon Tseya's home is filled with sand, emptied from his sandals, dumped from the folds of his clothes, brushed from his hair and his feet.  He watches his home disappear under a rippled layer of the Namib; weary from his work of digging and fetching, he is unable to stop the relentless pursuit of the desert to bury him.

And that, Ty, that is why we shake out our shoes before coming in the house after playing in the sand box.  Personally, I don't want to be buried in my sleep under a layer of grit."

Ty scowls and sits up in his bed.  "Mom!  That's not a real story.  I want a real bedtime story, something about a dragon or a knight.  Please?"  He squirms under his comforter for a moment before pulling back his covers and brushing a pile of sand off his sheet.  "What if I promise to take off my shoes on the front porch tomorrow?"

"Pinky promise?"

"Pinky promise."

"Okay.  Once upon a time there was a dragon named Sandy..."


Image Link

Linking up with Write at the Merge this week - inspired by the picture above.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Burden

Agnes heaved the dusty bag up the rickety steps, one hand gripping the drawstring, the other grasping the railing.  Each step was laborious, but the memory of Uncle Earl's deceit kept her moving, step by grueling step toward the cellar door above.  His swindling hands...step.  His cruel lies...step.  His heartless indifference...step.  As Agnes panted, wiping the sweat from her eyes, she could hear the engine humming just outside.  Gertrude had arrived.

She blinked in the blinding sunlight and lumbered around the side of the old farm house, dragging the burdensome load behind her.  Just a little further and you'll be finished, she told herself.  Gertrude waved at her through the windshield and swung open the door.  The deafening roar of the propellers made Agnes grimace.  She hated flying.

"Ready?" Gertrude shouted over the din.  Agness nodded, hefted the canvas bag up and settled into her seat.  She closed her tired eyes and waited for her sister to taxi the Cessna to the end of the corn field; the bag lay heavy at her feet.  As the plane lifted, she caught her breath, enjoying the sudden sensation of weightlessness.  The ancient farm shrunk below as the plane banked to the left, toward town.  Eyes wide, Agnes watched Main Street come into view.  She tapped Gertrude on the shoulder, pointing toward the tall spire; the orphanage lay hidden amongst the trees.  Her sister nodded and smiled behind her aviator glasses.

"This is for all the times you took what wasn't yours," she whispered as the plane droned. "These kids won't have to go without.  Unlike us.  Happy Birthday, Uncle Earl."  Agnes pulled the drawstring on the bag and watched the hundred dollar bills flutter in the wind.  Gertrude hooted and hollered from her seat as they watched the embezzled money rain down on the town below.

Agnes felt lighter than she had in all her 87 years.  Lighter than air.


Linking up with Trifecta: 33-333 words inspired by the single word rain (to take a lot of money in bill form and toss it up in the air.)

Linking up with Write at the Merge this week - inspired by the words:  cellar door ("perfectly euphonic phrase, some say the most beautiful in the English language.") and a picture of a propeller..