Here, in the Deep Desert, life evaporated long ago.

These lands were good and fertile once; so I have heard—choice above all the lands of fair Ileora. Though I cannot imagine them in such a state. From afar, the dunes appear as hills of gold, glimmering in the sun, but do not let this picture seduce you. This gold will sooner blind a man than make him rich, or strangle the unprotected throat with a layer of golden mud.

An hour past sunrise, the dunes already waver in the heat. Dust blows on the wind. I drop at the base of a dune, pulling scarfs and robes closer to keep the sand out. I have walked all night; now, I must rest in open daylight, sleep if possible, yet not so soundly that the shifting sands entomb me. Even as I lie, it feels as if this dead land draws upon my life, sapping me, draining every will to rise again.

Yet, when evening comes, I must. When at last the sun drains itself into the western horizon, I will rise, and take up my journey anew, for such death does not hold sway upon all lands. Not yet.

I will rise, if only such strength is given me to outlast the fullness of The Withering.

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4 thoughts on “Withering

  1. Pat Beebe

    Really enjoy your writing. Looking forward to your first full-length novel.


  2. Dan Hood

    So the novel will be called “Withering Heights”, yes? SORRY! That was a cheap joke! When in fact I love this little vignette . . . from the opening sentence which stands alone as a first paragraph, you build the place and the circumstance, the weariness and the heat.

    Favorite line (among many): “When at last the sun drains itself into the western horizon . . .” A fantastic visual of the sun going down.

    I’m ready for the novel as well.


    • Thanks! I love that line too. 🙂 I’m so ready to WRITE the novel, except I’m not. Don’t have it outlined to satisfaction and am working on too many other things. One of these years!


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