Friday 18 April 2014

Oasis Thought

By Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga

A bubble pops on the surface. Lena raises an eyebrow. Could the well water have reached a boiling point already? In this shade?
Her bucket splashes through the sweet stuff and draws it out. Briefly, she dips a finger into the liquid and places a drop on her tongue. Ah, good, she thinks. Cool as ice. Her eyes close of their own accord. Ice, what a thought. In this desert? Lena slowly shakes her head. Only an oasis could procure such a phenomenon, where water becomes cool under bountiful shade.
“Your time is up,” a boy says.
Lena’s eyelids squeeze tighter together. “Let me savour this moment,” she replies. “It may be my last.”
“You have savoured this moment for well over an hour,” the boy whispers in her ear. “Your family is waiting.”
At this Lena begs, “Please, please let me stay a while longer.”
The boy’s voice withdraws from her ear.
“So you shall.”
Her eyes still closed, Lena imagines a kingdom covered in ice.
Glittering frost covers every inch of it like the finest sand. Wind whips up a few crystals and wraps them around a palace, brilliant in its whiteness. The gates open and the wind navigates through slick, polished halls, finally finding its target when a pair of doors yield to its push.
Standing in her throne room, Lena embraces the wind like an old friend, letting it penetrate into her pores and fling her hair in light waves of cool. Gradually, her fingers and toes become numb.
Wonderful, Lena thinks. Here is a world where numbness is possible, where nothing can choke you breathless.
Indeed, Lena’s blood begins to shiver with the prospect of being choked as the wind only whirls faster around her. She frowns a bit, surprised that the cold would start to feel this way: a smouldering fire racing through her arteries. Her veins close up.
It is then that a disturbing image forms in front of her.
Cleverly disguised as the wind, the figure of a man pulls back from her, his features swiftly being carved into a firm chin, a set mouth, vulnerable almond eyes…
Too late Lena backs away, hugging herself to make the coldness of his touch all over her body evaporate. It is no use. The cold has penetrated throughout every corner of her being and it burns like nothing has burned her since she lost him.
Opening her eyes, Lena hastens to the well but the splashing water reveals his hand reaching for her face. Fleeing from destruction, Lena races onto the desert sand where the heat scorches her frigid body with the intensity of a thousand bolts of lightning.
They find her face first in the sand, her empty bucket clutched in one hand.
“Heat stroke,” they say.
The boy watches at a distance, twirling a card in his palms.
A Mage Card.


  1. I love that this follows on really well from your last story, 'The Lady in Black'. Seems like a great theme for a novel or longer collection of short stories - if you're not already planning something like this!

    1. You betcha it is! ;) I'm writing a novel with this theme titled 'Lady in Black, Lady in White'. It's on for all to see. There are just so many things I can add to its universe.~

  2. Very nice. Loved the way you've described the characters and the scenes, excellent read! If you would be interested in participating in an online short story contest, then do check out Tallenge- You can sign up, upload your work and compete with writers around the world. It's free to join and winner prize money is $100!


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