The sun was beginning to poise itself at peak of the shimmery horizon. The sun was at its best even though still regarded to be middle-aged did burn like a new born, fiery rays of golden light spread to the furthest reaches of the surface. The wind flexed and whistled, loose ground was airborne and nothing but the sky was clear.
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They were at it again; the sun from quite a distance but that not seeming to be a problem, glowed and burnt with an ever rising intensity unimaginable to man. The wind swept everything in its path leaving a floating sense of imbalance as dirt and foreign objects suspended in the air laid claim to new found territory but gravity refused to let them be as he so tirelessly pulled these aliens to the ground.
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They have been battling like this since the beginning of time; never growing weary and none the wiser of the kind of catastrophe they seemed to be wrecking down on mother earth. Maybe they didn't notice if ever they did it was ignored, they had a battle to fight, a war to win.
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Red found himself entangled in this mess, some mad game of finding who towered over all the elements: was it fire or air. Mindless was a word Red could use to describe the unnerving charade evolving in his haggard presence. The heat and the raging wind was not serving anyone right.
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Oh! What he'd give to be on the opposite darker side of the planet. A place that was quite simply not here. He was doing it again disassociating himself with reality, this helped him bury away his problems so he could deal with them when the time was just right.
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He wiped of the thick film of sweat working its way down his forehead and he tried scanning his environs. He had no sense of direction, just this dead end that he wanted to steer clear of.
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The river that flowed three hundred feet in his direct path seemed to rejuvenate a new flow of life within his frail spirit. The only greenery were bushes and thickets scattered all over the barren land. If he could put a name on this place that looked so unproductive and uninhabitable; he could solve a great puzzle. In his life he had dealt with more complex scenarios although he couldn't dismiss the one he was currently in since it had all the hallmarks of a great mystery.
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Fifty feet straight to his mark and his mind begun playing tricks on him, the river seemed still, no mystery here just weird.
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This whole mystery business was starting to get to his head. He never had the bubbling and gushing rhythm of flowing water, which could spell river. The only whistling he had was of the wind.
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Hunger and thirst were feelings that were screaming for his desperate attention and the sun? Well, it didn't ameliorate his situation, its seething glare blurred his vision and that- coupled with the deafening gushing of the wind- almost impaired his senses.
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These were the ingredients his mind used to cook up the scrumptious dish of fantasy he was just served-the oasis in the desert. It was all the mind could do to stem the frustrations welling within him; a defense mechanism and which Red was only too glad he had.
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Replacement method-the way your eyes sees asphalt and your mind tricks you into thinking that it is actually a stream, so as to lift your spirits and thus fuel your urge for survival.
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He almost chuckled, almost!
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The road meant civilization and the river meant life, and in such a state, your mind prioritizes the essentials. What's on top of the list...?
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Life. Civilization simply came in second. So the mind replaces the road with river not just in spelling but in vision too and voila!
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So now he was on a river bank that was no river at all but the edge of a tarmac road. Civilization! What do I do with it? Do I drink it?
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Ugh! Sarcasm, this only made things worse, all he needed was utter bluntness.
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Snapping back to reality, he begun weighing his options. First of all, he either had to stay put or make a choice of taking the road up North or down South. All in all he had two choices and three options.
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It was so unlike him to take a stab but then again you wouldn't call it a decision, not with the inaccuracy of facts or the sheer lack of it. So yeah, you guessed it, he guessed which choice to make.
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"North it is," he sighed and he set out to the horizon, dragging his sore feet and leaving a cloud of dust dancing eerily behind him. He didn't have the energy to bring himself to lift his feet to a mere centimeter. Gravity sucks! He was about to stick his tongue out at Mother Nature but saw the folly of it. Even she was hell bent on disparaging him. He quickly took his mind off his own thoughts since he knew that a drowning man clutches at straws and a man in a desperate situation thinks that the whole world is totally against him.
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Panning his visual from the east to west, he saw not even a spec shining from afar, hinting at the possibility of a building or a car.
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The blacktop glided to the peak of the horizon and no meander nor a corner was evident along its full length. Simply staring at it was exhausting, he thought of making his way down the road, down the horizon, down on the edge of the earth and maybe falling off the edge into black empty space. Damn, he really must be losing it, this was not the road he had set out for. No, he needed stop this.
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Without warning, his motor unit collapsed.
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His entire body shut down. His vision picked up what could easily be an automobile cruising down the road headed straight for him. He not sure why he froze but something assailed him, placing an ice-cold grip on his spine, freezing him momentarily.
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Commanding the little strength he had left, he woke himself from his stupor and trudged on defiantly. With each passing second the metallic beast drew close and death commandeered his entire body. He didn't have the slightest of clues why the appearance of the car and the deadly fear we're concomitant.
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A powerful suv engine growled from underneath the sleek black hood of the monstrosity charging towards him. It was not until the great beast slowly pulled over inches away from him did he realize that he was standing in the middle of the road.
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Movements could be seen through the tinted front window of the suv. The silhouette of a person leaning slightly to the left before pulling up sharply, a dim whirring sound rang out concurrently, sending chills running down his spine. That sounded like no gun he knew but still, he shook.
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The driver's door flew open.
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Red felt his lungs give out.
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Out popped two legs.
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A smile met his blood-wrenched face, and he relaxed enough to allow air to slip back into his chest. The smile held no malice nor hostility, in fact the face that wore it was of a saint, for lack of a better word.
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Relief came flooding back in, washing away the stains of fear plastered on his face. She visibly toned down and her eyes seemed to radiate pure sense of sublime warmth; if you juxtaposition it with the sun's warmth.
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She was dressed in a tight pair of dark blue jeans, black leather sandals, a pink top and had a messy pony tail. Unkempt hair was an indicator of trouble, that compounded with her presence in a place like this; and alone for that matter, only seemed to put a stamp on his assumption.
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Her face was oozing with confidence but her body language was not at all supportive, but what did he know? He wasn't in the proper state of mind to read body language. The circles around her eyes talked of sleepless nights, that one he was sure of.
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"Hi..!" She begun.
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Red snapped back to reality, his mind focusing on her voice.
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"Name's Megan, you look like you could do with a ride, care to join me?" She finished.
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"Ah....," he muttered, drawing in breath and realizing he still was holding his breath. He thought of a name and stumbled on one, Red. He coughed as he was about to blurt it out, he took quick deep breaths before allowing himself to talk.
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"I'm Red." He said hoarsely.
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"So how far is it to the next town from the direction you came?" He asked, as an after-thought.
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"Days with this." She answered, her left hand tapping twice on the shoulder of her suv. Red saw she was not holding any weapon on that hand, which until then had been hidden behind the driver's door. Way to go Red, paranoid was never a suit you'd ever thought you'd don.
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"When was the last time you came across oncoming traffic?" He pursued.
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"Exactly two days ago," she said "it was a supplies truck."
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"Civilization has come a long way, literally." He mused.
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"Yap!" She whipped, popping the 'p'. "If we hurry we can make it to Rehema town before sundown."
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She scurried to the shady but safe confines of her beast. How ironic.
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Red wound his way behind the beast, preferring to have the beast turn his back against him. He had the soft thud of the door as Megan closed her door shut. Taking his final turn around the beast he cautiously approached the passenger door, heart still beating furiously he reached out and opened it. He felt winded as he lifted his weight and slumped it heavily on the passenger seat.
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Escaping the sultry heat without, his body shuddered with relief. Which was short lived soon as he had that heart-wrenching whirr. He slowly turned half expecting the cold dark infinite hollow gaze of a muzzle. He almost shed a tear as he saw what had made him so squirmy. The Handbrake.
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'Paranoid!' He sassed himself.
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"So how far's the next town?" He asked, comfortable now there will be no more surprises larking in the shadows.
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"A few hours by any means." She answered as she pulled the gear lever from neutral. The engine came back to life and charged down on the asphalt at a steady speed.
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He had guessed it wrong. To walk north was a highway to......well Hades, but fate intervened sending a chariot to whisk him off to........ Uh! Some place that was better than hell.
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Megan drove in utter silence, Red was drained of any sense common to man (no pun intended), and he felt dead already. He just sat there saying nothing, hearing nothing, feeling nothing and tasting something-something bitter but sweet, tasting death. Oh and hunger too.
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Silence served its purpose, intrigue and mystery punctuating every minute of it. Perhaps it was best that they let the most convenient way of communication-fluent and candid-silence. The undertows were easy to interpret, not to mention time cautious.
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Tension brewed, steaming out through silent frustration but none dared speak, it would be improper, weird and in total disregard of proper timing. The company they shared was potent enough to be radioactive but it was what each of them wished to be in, no other place in the world they rather be.
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One word would be lethal, knocking off the Lego pillars of foundation that built their relationship, no matter how mutual or sporadic that both of them had.
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One word would trigger a bullet of pain and betrayal, killing the heart of mutual understanding beating to keep the flow of silence, embodied in the spirit of integrity and the soul of tranquility.
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The body they both shared needed no words to commune with the other's chakra. The two were harmonized into one ethereal being.
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Thus, talking was in itself unnecessary and could be compared to only one game, Russian roulette.
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