Desert endeavours

By: Lotus_Europa_ (Written Jan 18, 2016)


Some people have a knack for finding strange things. Strange things always seem to find Zane Legends. Like a little cobra, crawling about in the desert, like most cobras do. Cobras are desert snakes, aren't they? Zane wasn't quite sure, thinking about it. However, the location wasn't what made this specific cobra strange. It was the omnious, blue glowing light radiating everywhere, casting a long, deep-blue shadow all around the creature.

The cobra might have come from the little wooden house, far off in the distance. Although the house didn't look peculiar at first sight, there was something slightly...off. For instance, why would anyone build a house here, in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but sand, a cacti or two, more sand, and the skulls of animals that gave up all hope a long time ago. Aside from the cobra, that is. Maybe turning into a blue, omnious looking snake lightbulb was the only way to survive in this area.

Most people would have chosen to avoid both the snake, the house, the entire joyless area and made for a quick escape. But Zane...oh well, Zane had seen much stranger things in the course of his life. And most of all, he needed some hep. His phone battery had died three days ago, his car had stranded, his water bottle was getting more and more empty each hour, and he was hungry. There was nothing quite like the heat of a desert and the feeling of a crumbling stomach to make him forget about his fear and gut instinct and adopt the positive attitude of 'hey, tell you what, this probably won't kill me'.

Step by step, going slowly to avoid getting too dehydrated, he made his journey, approaching the wooden house closer and closer. The little building got more and more peculiar the closer he got. It seemed to be taken straight out of an old time western movie, including the little wooden porch and an old, rotting tree hanging over the roof – how did that tree even grow in the desert? There were bullet holes in the door, an old fragile-looking bench, and even a sign that said 'saloon'.

Old fashioned as it may be, a saloon means guests, and guests means....food, hopefully? Zane remained cautiously optimistic. There were no sounds, no movement, no signs of occupation whatsoever. But even if there was no food, no water, no telephone inside, there would be shadow. In this desert, any shadow would be blissfull.

He pressed against the door, stepping inside and looking around him. Nobody. Nothing but the relief of cold, cold air. There was a fan spinning quickly above his head, a modern sofa pressed in the corner. Western saloon on the outside, modern comfort on the inside? Even better than that – a bar, covered in bottles and bottles of rum, vodka, whiskey, juices, soft drinks, anything liquid a guy could wish for. As he ran over and picked up a bottle of Pina Colada, he realized that the drinks were ice and ice cold, as if frozen by pure magic. He pressed it against his chest, loving the sensation of ice drops against his skin. Looking around, he discovered a fridge, and ran to open it. Cheese, ham, an entire turkey, cheesecake...all the delicious things of the world, right at his fingertips. Was this a fata morgana? Did his brain finally succump to the heat and made him hallucinate all the things he'd missed so dearly? If so, his brain was very skillfull indeed, because the little chocolate cookies he found behind the bar tasted just as crunchy as always, and the cold milk was just as fullfilling.

He loaded up 3 plates, taking them over to a table in the corner and digging in. He had never been happier. Two days of no food had been torture for his stomach, which was so used to being spoiled with proper breakfast, coffeebreak, lunch, second lunch, teatime, supper, dinner... his menu was wide and rich, but the desert does not do catering. All was in the past now. He had found his new desert home, and here he would stay. Glowing snakes and ill-matching interior were no problem as long as food and cold were provided.

There was just one thing that made him ill at ease, distracted him while he was fulling up with delicious treats. This place had a first floor, an old, wethered looking stairs leading up to it. No elevator. He had no intention of going up there, no intention whatsoever, but he could hear the floor screaking a little bit every now and then. Mice, maybe? Wood termites? Or...was this building not as abandoned as he thought it was? No worries about this now, because all the food had made him a little bit sleepy. Quite...sleepy...indeed.

The sunlight seemed lighter when he opened his eyes, slowly adjusting to the room around him.

“SMOKING SAUSAGES, WHERE DID YOU COME FROM?”

An old man was moving around, arms stretched in front of him, getting closer and closer to Zane. Was he...blind? His eyes seemed colourless, overtaken by the white. Maybe he had an eye disease. Although Zane had never seen any eye disease that makes your eyes radiate such a bright blue light. Or in fact, any disease that puts a bright blue halo around your entire body.

“..young man, let me...come closer...”

The old man reached out, touched his hair. His hands seemed to be glowing an insense heat, burning his scalp. Zane jumped up, the chair dropping behind him.

“I was just...passing by. Could you uhm, maybe, let me use your phone?”

The old man looked up, staring at him with non-seeing eyes. Or all-seeing? They seemed to be skipping all need for sight and reading his soul directly.

“There is no need for phones here. We can hear all, see all distances, the past, the present, the future.”

Despite his ability to see into all distances, the old man seemed to be struggling to detect anything near by, now moving to touch the wine bottle Zane had opened. He inched slowly back towards the door, shuffling his feet in an effort not to make any noises.

“I have to go now.”

It came out a whisper, almost too soft to hear. Still the old man moved towards the sound, staring straight in Zane's direction.

“DON'T GO!”

It came out a shriek of desperation. Zane could see him stretching forwards, making a leap in his direction right before he ran out of the door and shut it towards him.

The wood trembled as he slammed the door shut. The entire house was now luminating with the blue light, engulfing him in the radiation. It started to tremble, first soft, then harder and harder, like a tiny earthquake was shaking its very foundations.

Zane ran, and ran, and ran, further and further into the desert, until his feet couldn't move any more. It was only after his body collapsed and he fell into the hot sand, that he dared to look over his shoulder. The house was no longer shaking. It was sinking. Inch by inch, slowly but steady, it was disappearing into the desert sand. First the roof, then the first floor, then the door, then finally the fragile little wooden bench. No sounds could be heard.

Then, the sand closed. Formed another peace of desert space. No sounds could be heard. The little cobra slithered slowly, flicked out his tongue, cast off the omnious blue glow as it moved away from him.

He would have believed it had never happened, if it wasn't for the extra cookie that was resting in his pocket.

It was still glowing blue.


Genre: Western
Setting: Middle of nowhere
Character: Blind person