Clothes. Protection. Hat. That’s what she needed. And shoes, comfortable and strong hiking shoes that would get her across the desert without killing every nerve in her legs and back. What else did she need? It would take a list, of course, but she had plenty of time, plenty of time indeed. It was a gift to be able to think. And if she could find a way to present it to someone, even someone who wasn’t real, didn’t exist – yet – even better. No one could argue with her could they? The mirage people would make an excellent audience.

How many miles had she walked? How many days? How far to go before she reached the highway?

That was the list she didn’t want to imagine. Those numbers were too much for a little mind. Her only thoughts were bent on survival, and of heat and thirst and pain and hunger and the crash and the bodies lying in the overturned car …

Stop that. Focus. Shoes. She needed shoes. Shade. There was purpose in … what? What was she doing? Where was she? Who was she?

If she had a name once, it wasn’t with her now. If she had a plan once, it was fading into the mirages that led her on, that teased her, lied to her.

If she had a life once, it remained only in her ability to think, to plan, to dream.

New shoes. It wouldn’t matter so much if her clothes fell to pieces, and they would soon. The torn pieces flapped and annoyed until she held them weighted with one hand, until they screeeaaamed into a new piece of torn cloth. They went into her mouth, over her nose, over her eyes.

Somewhere in another life came messages about survival. Not necessarily for out here, but she’d hang onto those words, those ideas, those stupid, idiotic, moronic, far-away words that meant nothing when there was no water – her eyes swung to face the strange-looking tree.

What was it? Why was that tree so special? Did it have food?

The feet on the ends of her legs dragged through the hot earth, raised dust to float at ankle height, at snake-bite height. She counted the steps, eighteen, nineteen, twenty. Stopped when her fingers touched the tough strands of the tree. Her mind wouldn’t recall what type of tree it was, but it brought her a picture. Of a hole. Dug in close to this type of tree.

She fell to the ground and pulled off what remained of both shoes. More hole than shoe now, but she slid them onto her hands and scraped away at the soft sand under the mound of prickly grass with strange-shaped seed-heads.

Seeds? Yes, of course. If she had water, and stones and fire, she could cook these, eat them, drink the water. Survive.

Dig for water. Sleep in the shade. Live. Sleep. Wait.

Dig for water. Live. Dig.

Sleep. Wait.


Another short piece just to let you know I’m still around …

31 thoughts on “List-ing

      • That’s true. They say to keep water with you and in your car at all times here in Arizona because people don’t realize how easy it is to get dehydrated in the heat.

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      • And I also think we’re all in the habit of having something to eat rather than drink, or to think a little is enough. Out there, it’s never enough. 2L a day is a normal place to live, in the desert, you could double it, but without other intakes as well, life is always as tenuous as that mirage.

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