That’s all that was remaining. And a gulp was a life-line.
Should he use it now? Or should he wait for things to get a little clearer. But, using it now would mean that they would get clearer. Yeah, he’d use it.
No, wait! What if things would get clearer anyway? What if using it was actually wasting a perfectly good gulp? And the only one? No, he decided. He’d wait.
The horizon stretched before him, and his vision was sort of blurred at the edges. A trick of the light, he told himself. A few meters more, and I’ll find it.
Find what, came the question. Whatever it is that I am supposed to find, went an answer from nowhere, to nowhere. An oasis, another question was instantly shot back? Yeah, maybe. Just keep moving.
And so, he kept moving.
The desert stretched as far as his eyes could see. Actually, it stretched farther than his eyes could see. But he didn’t know that.
He also didn’t know that he’d been walking around in circles. The shifting sands of the desert always covered his tracks as soon as he made them. Every hundred steps, he’d end up where he’d started.
And he would, probably, never know.
Treacherous place, the desert.
His eyes scanned the landscape. Nothing new. Nothing distinguishable. Nothing certain. Except for one thing. The thought filled him with a sense of dread. He shook his head, as if wanting to clear the thoughts. Not that it helped, but at least it was worth a try.
Darn all those books he’d read.
He made a mental note to write a letter to all authors requesting, nay telling them, that shaking one’s head does NOT clear any thoughts. Hell, it doesn’t anything even remotely similar. If anything, it leaves you with a headache. And a headache is a bad thing to have in the middle of a desert.
Back to square one.
He looked skywards. No change.
Silly planet, he mused to himself.
What quirk of cosmic fate would have two suns at exactly opposite positions in the sky at all times of the day? The suns merely seemed to circle around each other, like birds of prey. And what was worse was, the imaginary center of the circular path of these diametrically opposite suns seemed to be exactly overhead.
Was there even a day? Did this planet even rotate? Or revolve even? Will this planet have a permanent dark side like The Moon, too?
Maybe the universe does have a sense of humor, he thought.
He raised his flask, and took his last gulp.
I received this mail from my past self.
“Dear future self,
I’m reminding you about your stated goal on 43 things, to “write a book”.
How’s it going? Have you written more than a chapter yet?
Since you have forgotten already, here’s a reminder. Now get down on your ass and start hammering on that keyboard!!”
Geez! I WAS smart back then!!