Monday, 21 April 2014

Oasis

by Sarah Begg.

The man trudged through the desert, his feet sinking into the soft sand with every step.
His calf muscles ached and the sting of the sand on his face was barely reduced by the scarf he had wrapped around his head.
He looked up ahead, squinting through the hazy air, and almost didn't believe his eyes. There it was! Finally – the Oasis of the Gods, just as the gypsies had said!
But was it a mirage again? He had thought he could see it in the distance so many times before, yet every time it had been a simple trick of the desert.
He hurried forwards, ignoring his stiff back, and – yes – the oasis was getting larger the closer he got to it, it was definitely real this time!
When he stumbled inside he felt a small shiver run over him.
This was a magical place, he could feel it.
The sheer impossibility of what it was – a circular ring of tropical trees enclosing a lush green habitat, complete with rocks, a pool of water and soft grass underfoot – right in the centre of the desert could not exist except without the will of the Gods. Hence the names the gypsies had for it, he supposed.
He walked forwards slowly, his eyes wide with awe until he came to the pool.
Then he dropped down and began drinking the crystal clear water – his parched throat and dehydrated body practically shaking with relief.
“Why have you come here?” A piercing voice suddenly said, and the man fell backwards in shock.
He looked around but could see no one else in the Oasis.
“Who – who said that?” he called fearfully.
“I did.”
The man's head whipped around to the direction of the voice and he gasped.
Standing atop one of the rocks by the pool was a small pony, it's black eyes regarding him coolly.
“You have invaded my home and I want to know why.”
The man gasped when he saw the pony actually speak – it's mouth and lips forming the words just as any human would.
The pony sighed and sat down on it's rump.
“Well?” it said.
The man stared at the pony for a moment longer, his eyes wide with shock, before closing his eyes and shaking his head slightly.
“I must be delusional,” he said to himself. He looked up at the pony accusingly. “You're not real.”
“Aren't I? Why are you talking to me then?” the pony asked.
The man ignored the pony and bent back to the pool to drink.
“That's very rude,” the pony kept talking as it began climbing down off the rock. “You've come to my home, you're drinking from my pool, and now you're pretending I don't even exist.”
The pony came up behind the man and bit him sharply on the bottom.
“Yeeooowww!” the man cried and scrambled away from the pony.
“You just bit me!” he exclaimed.
“Did that feel real enough to you?” The pony asked, as it sat down smugly.
The man rubbed his behind moodily and stared at the pony.
“Very well, you are real,” he said.
“Thank you,” the pony inclined it's head.
“So what do you want me to tell you?”
“For starters, why you were walking around in the desert and why you have come to my home?”
This time it was the man who sighed.
“I was walking through the desert,” the man began, “because I have been separated from my fiance and I am searching for her. I am traveling north, to where I hear there is a port town, in the hope of finding her there.”
“Why do you think she would be there?” the pony asked.
“I am simply hopeful I suppose. Though really, she would be better off without me,” the man said sadly.
“Why do you say that?”
The man pursed his lips together and shook his head. “She just would,” he said simply.
“Perhaps she might pass through this way too?” the pony suggested. “You could write her a note explaining where you are heading.”
“A note?”
“You could write it here, in the sand.”
“Yes. Yes a note is a good idea.”
The man scrambled to his feet and found a stick. There was a patch of sand just near the pool and the man wrote his message in the soft ground.

Holly, my love. Meet me at the port town directly north of here. I will wait for you there.”

The man signed his name at the bottom then stood back and eyed his work.
“I think it is now time that you moved on,” the pony said.
“Yes,” the man replied, a tear rolling down his face. “You are right. It is time.”
Without looking at the pony again the man walked away from the oasis and back out into the searing, stinging heat of the desert.

But of course he didn't go north. He went East.
Farewell Holly, he thought as he walked away from the Oasis. If you do pass this way I hope you find your own form of closure in the Oasis, alone with your thoughts.

5 comments:

  1. That's captivating and thought provoking. Interesting read, I loved the pony's character. I could see the desert myself and the pony talking to him. Hey, there is an online short story contest if you would like to participate, check it out http://www.tallenge.com/contest/literaturestsorycontet.html It's free to enter and the winner gets $100!

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  2. This is really good Sarah, I also loved the imagery and could picture the scene with the talking pony. I also loved the twist at the end. Good job.

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  3. Great story, Sarah; you don't see much humour in stories with existentialist themes, and the humour in this story is very endearing.

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  4. Great story, Sarah; you don't see much humour in stories with existentialist themes, and the humour in this story is very endearing.

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  5. Thanks everyone for the great comments!

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