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The Mirage of Salvation

Stranded in Endless Sands

By Amber BristowPublished 8 months ago Updated 8 months ago 4 min read
Top Story - November 2023

In the distant recesses of my memory, I can still vividly recall a time when life was blissfully uncomplicated. As I close my eyes, I can almost feel the scorching sun transform into a warm caress. The sound of the relentless wind begins to blend with birdsong as the plumes of sand feel like falling cherry blossoms against my skin.

The longer I keep my eyes closed, the more I am whisked away into the life I once lived. A life where joy danced in the smallest of moments. It was one where I believed every dream, no matter how audacious, was within reach.

The blue specs that float around my darkened vision begin to take form, sculpting themselves into the shapes of those I once loved. I can see them there, just out of reach, laughing without a care in the world. I try with all my might to cling on to the image of their smiles and the melody of their voices, but each time I fail.

The weight of my glassed eyes grow heavy as I watch the tempestuous storm arrive. The one that would turn their lives into a crucible of suffering. I watch as the joy drains from their faces as the burning hue of the raging barrage takes over.

It is then I release the image of my loved ones and open my eyes, saving my heart from reliving the agonising pain of that night.

For a moment I stare blankly into the abyss, drained of all feeling. I question whether or not I should surrender, or continue my quest for survival, however inauspicious it may be.

I stand there, my body rocking against the wind, envying the sweet release of death, moments before hearing mothers voice. In her whispers, she demands I stay strong, her words carrying with them the weight of her suffering.

Alone, I take heed, dragging one leg in front of the other into the endless horizon. The scorching sun beats down relentlessly as the blistering sand submerges my feet. Arid winds whip up plumes of sand into my lungs, blurring the boundary between my body and the parched land.

With each day that passes, the belief that freedom is just a cruel mirage strengthens. My body yearns for cover as the heat penetrates through my skin, forever leaving its mark upon my body.

The torment of isolation weighs heavily on my soul as the cruel fingers of despair tighten their grip around my heart. With the weight of my body too much to bare, my knees begin to buckle before plummeting into the sand beneath me. I wrap my fists around the grains as my body folds towards them, laying lifeless as the sun shimmers from above.

I close my eyes as the image of my loved ones return. I watch as they laugh, cradling one another's hands as they spin on their feet. My lips take the shape of a smile, breaking my skin. I taste the iron as it pools into my mouth. Desperate for substance, I break from my spell to savour the moisture that returns to my tongue and the metallic sweetness that lingers behind.

I rub at my face before my eyes search my hands for crimson liquid. My fingers dance in the wind as I examine them, moments before shapes form beyond them.

A once familiar feeling of hope ignites within me as I widen by eyes to ensure they don't deceive me. I muster what strength I have left and rise to my feet, the visions ahead coming into focus as I edge my way forwards.

In the distance I can see them. The familiar faces of those who once lived in my town. They look as if they're huddled around men in armour, kind men, unlike those who pillaged our home. They have come to save us.

I felt the sand rise in my lungs as I tried to call out. The coarse grains scratching every inch of my throat as the words left my lips. "Help!" my voice cracked. "Help!" I repeated, fighting for air.

The people stood there, watching me, unphased. The desert rippled and shimmered as it's heat reached new height, yet none of them came to my aid.

In pain, I persisted. With all my effort, I begged once more, "Help me!" I winced, the rough sand rubbing against the blisters on my feet. "Please." I sobbed, as the people began to warp.

Their legs melted into the horizon as their bodies began to flow with the heat of the earth. A strength I thought no longer existed brought power to my legs as I tried to run to the figures before they vanished. With each stride I took, the more their forms blended in with the desert around them.

Within a matter of seconds, the people disappeared. My outstretched hand met nothing but empty air.

In despair, I crumble to the arid ground, my last vestiges of strength draining away. The bitter taste of defeat fills my mouth, and I realize that in this desolate wasteland, the hope of finding safety is nothing more than a fleeting illusion, a tormenting mirage that haunts my parched, weary soul.

My cries went unheard, mingling with the desolation that stretched endlessly before me. I laid there, defeated and broken, knowing that my fight for survival had come to an end.

The relentless sun bore down me, casting a shadow that no one would ever see. In this unforgiving land, I had become a mere memory, a tale of struggle lost to the vast emptiness of the desert, leaving behind only fading footprints in the shifting sands.

Engulfed in the desert's parched silence, I was nothing but another grain of sand in the wind.

Short Story

About the Creator

Amber Bristow

Regularly participating in writing challenges and #writerslift on Twitter

🤍 Twitter 🤍 Website

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (5)

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  • Novel Allen8 months ago

    raw emotions aptly describing the situation. congrats on ts

  • Laibah 8 months ago

    It’s beautiful ❤️

  • Brin J.8 months ago

    "I taste the iron as it pools into my mouth. Desperate for substance, I break from my spell to savour the moisture that returns to my tongue and the metallic sweetness that lingers behind." Wow. This was probably the most well-written line I've read in a while. It just captures her situation so perfectly, expressing the rawness of survival. It's powerful sentences like this one that inspired my love for reading. <3

  • Babs Iverson8 months ago

    Fantastic!!! Accurately descriptive!!! Left a heart!!!❤️❤️💕

  • Andrew C McDonald8 months ago

    Truly makes one ponder their place in the grand scheme. One can feel the hope mingled with and moving toward despair. Love the mirages. This is a well written, realistic piece. Great job.

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