He awoke. As his
eyelids fluttered open, he rolled his head to the right. There at
the base of the cliff, in the midday heat, was the haunting silhouette
of the twisted, flaming, metal carcass formally known as a truck.
He closed his eyes and rubbed his throbbing head as he sat up trying
to remember what had happened. When he opened his eyes again he saw,
scattered about the burning remains, the bodies of two other men,
his companions. He stumbled over to one of them; "Hey!"
he yelled shaking the man, struggling to recognise the face of the
lifeless corpse. "Hey Buddy!" he yelled at the other man,
the words emerging from his injured mouth slurred, "You, OK?"
but he too was as dead as his friend. "What happened?" he
thought "Who are these people? Where is this place?" but
most importantly he thought "Who am I?"
He sat by the truck, tending to his wounds. He had just buried, if
you could call it that, his two companions in their shallow, unmarked
graves, it was all he could do. He realised that he was very lucky,
where the other two men had lost their lives, he was comparatively
unharmed, he had some fairly major cuts, and his hand did not look
too good, but he was alive.
He looked round, taking in his surroundings for the first time. As
he did so, he began to realise how grim his chances were becoming,
he was at the bottom of a huge ravine, the river had long dried up
and dust lined the desolate wasteland around him. The abandoned bones
of long dead animals lay where they fell untouched by any living creature.
He rested against the truck, the frame had long since stopped burning,
but the glaring sun had done nothing to cool it. As he pressed against
it, he could feel the sweat boiling on his skin. He tried to recall
anything in his memory that could help him remember or give a clue
as to who he was and what had happened, although his memory had been
badly affected, his knowledge had not and as he tried to recall what
had happened he began to remember what he knew about deserts, and
this place certainly seemed like one. He recollected that however
blisteringly hot deserts may be in the day, they would be equally
as cold during the night, he needed to find some warmth.
He stood up, grabbing a piece of glass from the remains of the shattered
windscreen of the truck, then hobbled over to some nearby rocks. Placing
the glass between them, he angled it to focus the sunlight to a single,
burning point, leaping with a glee that surpassed the pain of his
injuries as small wisps of smoke spiralled from the burning dust,
but it was not enough. The rocks shielded it from the harsh wind,
but small particles of burning dust would not keep him warm, especially
when the sun went down. He frantically began searching through the
remains of the truck for anything to kindle the flame, foam in the
seats, papers, even a little petrol in the tank, but to no avail,
everything that was flammable had been burnt away in the original
fire. He slumped hopelessly to the floor.
A tumbleweed rolled past. He was going to die out here, in the harsh
- wait a tumbleweed had rolled past! He leapt to his feet and ran
after the plant, it already had a head start, but as the adrenaline
kicked in, he easily began to close the gap, he dived at the weed,
rolling in the dust several times, before coming to a stop. He stood,
holding the weed above his head in triumph. He instantly collapsed,
almost fully depleted, how foolish he was, he had just spent all his
energy chasing a plant, if he was going to survive he would have to
be much more careful with his actions. He carried the weed back to
the glass, and placing it under the light, was pleased to see the
dried plant, burst into flames.
When he awoke, the sun was already relatively high in the sky and
he could already feel the heat. As he sat up, he could feel the lack
of energy pulling him back towards the earth and he began to realise
that he had no knowledge of how long he'd been unconscious, he also
realised that he would need food. His mind wandered back to the tumbleweed
and memories swam forth from his head. He recalled something about
edible seeds. He stood, once again hope filling him with some almost,
magical energy. He bounded over to the smouldering remnants of the
fire, and scrabbled through them, in a vain attempt to find the elusive
seeds. Unsurprisingly, his search returned nothing and however hard
he tried there were no remains of the seeds. They had been burnt away
the night before in order to keep him warm. Once again he had been
failed; he collapsed back into the floor. He once again felt the cold
hands of death lie gently upon his shoulders. He threw back his hands
into the dust
and felt something; he held it between his fingers,
rolling it back and forth. It was round, hard and
a seed! He
rolled over to look and, sure enough, a small trail of seeds lay before
him. They had sprinkled onto the ground as he had dragged the tumbleweed
back over, the night before. He crawled through the dirt picking up
as many as he could and placing them in what was left of his pockets.
When he was done, he took a few and chewed on them, they tasted awful,
but they were going to keep him alive, and if not they wouldn't do
anything the sun and lack of water wouldn't. As he sat and ate it
began to dawn on him, how he needed to find his way out of here or
it would be his grave.