Mirage - He fell.

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Nadia El Tayar
Short Story                May 28
th 2002


He fell. For days he had been trudging, knowing each step he took would bring him closer to his goal. But with each step, he also felt his body weaken. The sand burnt his bare, blistered feet and thirst parched his lips; water was but an illusion in such a desolate land. The throbbing pain of the scorpion sting on his left shoulder made him break out in fever; the only consolation he found in the endless sand dunes was solitude. But worst of all the insurmountable difficulties the desert had thrown at him, the mirage, the desert’s favorite mind trick, brought him to the edge of folly. The desert: a place where time and space are infinite, the desert, his eternal foe, had finally avenged itself by getting the best of him. Jeronimo Bartolome Cruz was no longer a young man, and to his eyes the desert had become an invincible obstacle. The hands, which had once been a symbol of his strength, were gaunt and wrinkled, and only deep creases were left as a mark of bygone times and the strenuous efforts that accompanied them. Brown blotches caused by the sun’s refection on the Tropic seas were engraved on his cheeks as a reminder of his adventurous and voyage-filled youth. His shirt was ripped and covered with patches that had been tainted different colors by the sun’s rays. Everything about him was old except for his cheerful and undefeated crystal-blue eyes. They still twinkled with the passion and determination that thrived inside him. But as he fell, and his eyes closed, it was as if all life inside him vanished.

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As he fell, and his subconscious took over his body, his mind propelled him into a new dimension, the past…

He was suffocating. Every breath he tried to take, filled his mouth with peppery pebbles. Realizing what was happening, he gasped. He was drowning, drowning under a sea of sand. Suddenly, footsteps, footsteps getting louder and louder, closer and closer.  A shout. Someone was shouting, but he couldn’t make out the words. What were they shouting? “Jero… Jero… Jeronimo!” His name! Someone was looking for him. He tried to move, but his body, deprived of oxygen, was ...

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