Ninny Rhino – the Mini WriMo – day 16
Lovely Diana Wallace Peach at Myths of the Mirror, has these Speculative Fiction Prompts once a month. I got tempted to join, and here is my contribution for March!
This is the first time ever, I write a story in a language other than my native one. I aimed for a short, short story, but got caught. It rather seems like a beginning of something!
– So, now let’s see how it goes!
The Solar Eclipse
I wake up shivering immensely. Still with my eyes closed, I lay my hand over my hearts. They are both beating. A bit vague and uneven, but enough to ensure me I’m still alive. I take a deep breath. The air is cold but clean and pleasant.
I open my eyes. Above me linger stars on a black background, and a faint light dwells from somewhere beyond. Around me are huge buildings, and I realize I am lying on sand. Icy cold sand. Slowly I rise to my feet. My head is pounding.
Scattered around me lies the transporting device. In thousands of pieces as it seems. No wonder I feel like a huge bruise, but a couple more than usual don’t seem like a big issue. After all, being here, where-ever this ”here” is, is a lot better than…
I don’t let that thought go further.
Where am I? How far have I been journeying? My head fills with thousands of questions. It’s obvious, this isn’t my intended destination. I gaze at the stars but can’t recognize any of the constellations. A wave of dizziness passes through me.
A bit feebly, I walk along the street and soon reach the corner. I turn and once again lift my eyes to the sky. A full solar eclipse, the most fascinating I’ve ever seen, and I can see an entire universe behind. I stay in a maze for a long time.
I need to leave. To find water most of all. But also to find friendly people. This is a huge city, but it’s dead. I realize that. No sounds. No lights. No nothing. The streets are covered with sand and I see dunes that indicate rather fierce storms. I listen and I sniff the air, but nothing tells me a storm is near now. The only thing my senses tell me, is that the city has been dead for a very long time.
Then I turn around and start walking.
After what feels like ages, though my wristwatch tells me it has been just half an hour, I reach the outskirts of the city. In front of my eyes, a desert stretches out in the dusk, like the shadow of a hawk over its prey. Occasional bushes are spotted over the landscape, and I hope some of them hide a water supply. In the faraway horizon a mountain ridge is stretched out like a dead dinosaur. I throw a quick glance back on the city and the awkward solar eclipse. I just can’t understand! Something is wrong, but what?
I’ve lost most of my belongings. In one of my pockets I find a small pen knife carved with my initials. JC. In the other a small box with safety matches. In my backpack there is a carton with biscuits and an empty water bottle, but that’s all. I recall having drunk that water sometime during the flight and never refilled the bottle. Stupid me. There are also a lot of holes in the backpack. Due to the crash, I guess. Not worth the while to be upset over what is. After all, I’m alive and walking.
The odd thing is, the solar eclipse is still there! Exactly the same!
I find a small, almost round and fairly smooth stone, rinse it as thoroughly I can with my t-shirt, and then put it in my mouth. I suck it for a while and my throat doesn’t feel as dry any longer, and I manage to keep on walking. I aim for the largest bush I can see that isn’t too far away. I pray quietly for drinkable water.
Only about ten minutes later I reach the bush, and explore the closest possibilities to find some water. And I’m in luck! After digging away the sand like a dog at a couple of spots, I find moist earth and with the help of my penknife, I dig further down. Sweat is pouring down my forehead, and I can hardly see what I’m doing but I keep on struggling. I just got to get some water.
”What are you doing?”
The harsh voice startles me like nearby lightning in broad daylight.
”Do you think you’re a rabbit or something? You won’t find water there. Not enough anyway.”
In less than a second I’ve been dragged up in the open, and am standing on my own feet, panting and frightened. In front of me stands an old man with wild hair and a bushy beard. He grins at me, and hands over a bottle.
”Drink!” he says hoarsely.
I hesitate for just a few seconds before I drink, and may God forgive me, but this is the fucking best water I’ve ever had.
”You’re a tiny little one”, he says. ”Got a name?”
”JC”, I say reluctantly.”
”Jaycee? Is that supposed to be a name?”
”Well… kind of…”
”Okay, Jaycee. I’m Bill! Just Bill!”
He looks straight into my eyes while grabbing my right hand with both his, and holds it tight for a moment. They are huge, warm and rough.
”SO!” he grunts. ”Who are you, besides a Jaycee. Where do you come from and where are you heading?”
”I… I don’t know.”
”You don’t know who you are?” His eyes burn into mine.
”No no… I know who I am! But I don’t know where I came from… not exactly… there was some kind of accident, and somehow I landed over there. In the city.”
I turn and point backward. The city is no more than a silhouette in the dusk.
”Aha. An accident you say. Maybe it was that explosion I heard earlier today. You’re lucky to be alive then, I must say.”
He pauses for a while, then continuous.
”And you’re heading?”
”I… I don’t know. Just to find…something! Someone!”
I start to cry and I hate myself for it. It’s so girly. I don’t want to be a girl.
He looks at me and then he points at the city.
”I reckon you do… but do you also know that the time is dead?”
I just stare at him. Is he crazy?
”Yes, also the time is dead. It’s that eclipse! It has taken over the city. It’s like a disease that finally kills. And it’s spreading. Did you stay there long?”
”No, I don’t think so.”
”Hope you’re right. Now let’s go.”
”As far away as possible from that city and the Solar Eclipse.”