Desert

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In the desert no one can remember your name because once you enter the red sand you are lost to all time in an accidentally wormhole. Your life is wiped out and those that knew you forget instantly as if you had never been born. The wormhole is eternal and as you drift through you see flashes of things. Sometimes you know these things – a rainbow, an expensive take away coffee cup but most of the times there’s just flashes of colour. You will die here in days, weeks maybe a month because no one gets out for that is the nature of a red sand wormhole.

Anomaly

colours

Anomaly; something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.

What was that thing in the sky? Dream paused and stared harder across the vast, empty landscape. Against the pale blue sky was a beam of multicolored light. She frowned then pulled out her telescope from her belt and had a closer look. Still though, she could make out nothing further, but the colors looked brighter now.

‘What is that?’ she spoke aloud.

‘Your big butt!’ a voice shouted at her.

Dream rolled her eyes and tutted. Putting the telescope away, she twisted her head, so she was looking back down the ladder. A glow of light showed the way and at the bottom waiting was a figure grinning up at her. Dream snatched a small rock from the surface and dropped it down.

‘Ouch! Watch it!’

Swallowing a laugh, Dream pulled herself out of the pipe and climbed down. Her feet hit the sand and rose a dust cloud around her. Making sure her mask and goggles were secure, she began walking in the direction of the strange light beam.

Minutes later, she was joined by a tall, red haired young man. He punched her in the shoulder then raced off. Dream stopped and rubbed the spot, though her leather padded jacket had taken much of the impact. Muttering revenge, Dream watched him slow down as he saw the thing in the sky too.

‘What do you think that is?’ he called over his shoulder.

‘No idea, Link,’ she replied, ‘I was on my way to check it out when you interrupted me,’ Dream answered.

‘I’m sorry your Royal Highness. Please continue!’ Link mocked and give a fancy bow.

Dream stormed passed him, trying not to hit him as she went. He came to her side moments later and in a awe silence, they walked towards the beam of colors. The landscape rose and fall around them, the yellow sand all that could be seen for miles. The only sound was their footsteps and the wind shifting the fine grains against each other.

‘We’re never going to get there!’ Link broke in after awhile.

Dream came to a stop on top of a large dune and looked across at the beam. She could see it better now, but it seemed to be fading.  The colors were arching up from the ground to the sky were they disappeared into the blue.

‘It looks like a path into the sky,’ she mused.

‘Don’t be stupid!’ Link snapped, ‘I don’t care what it is. Let’s go back. It’s getting too hot.’

‘You go back if you want. I’m going to find where it meets the ground,’ Dream responded.

‘Are you crazy?’

Dream didn’t reply, but walked off. The loose sand give way under her and she half skidded down the side of the dune. At the bottom, she found her feet and carried on walking. From behind her came the sound of Link half running half tumbling to join her.

‘Dream! Stop!’ he shouted.

She ignored him and picked up her pace. Breaking into a jog, she went around another dune and found herself in a maze of sand hills. Taking in a few deep breaths, she scrambled up the first one and looked down.

There below her was the source of the multi-colored light beam. Thanking her luck, she went down and towards it.

‘Dream! Where are you!’ Link yelled.

‘Over here!’ she shouted back, ‘I’ve found it. It’s some kind of crystal!’

Dream knelt down and looked closely at the clear cut rock that was half buried in the ground. Beams of light were shinning off it as the sunlight was touching it. Dream slowly reached out to touch it.

‘Don’t!’ Link gasped as he came to join her.

She looked at him, but couldn’t fully read his expression behind his mask.

‘It’s just a crystal. Like the ones you dig up all the time,’ she said.

‘It might be from the World Before. We shouldn’t touch it. We know what it is now, let’s go,’ Link spoke.

Dream looked at the crystal, tempted by it’s beauty. Link was right though.

‘It could be important,’ she thought aloud, ‘and if we leave it, it might not be here later.’

‘I don’t like it,’ Link muttered.

Dream shrugged and put her gloved hand onto of the crystal. The beam of light disappeared. Dream curled her fingers around the rock and picked it up. It was smaller and lighter then it had looked. She opened her hand and straight away the colors came back and danced around the surface of the crystal.

‘How weird,’ Dream uttered.

‘Can we go now?’ Link demanded.

Dream closed her fingers over the crystal again and got up,’sure. Maybe someone back home will know what this is,’ she added.

 

Story inspired by Sue’s prompt at https://scvincent.com/2016/11/03/thursday-photo-prompt-anomaly-writephoto/ – click to read the other stories.

Bus Abandoned

Bus, Old, In To The Wild, Abandoned, Outdoors

The bus sat alone in the desert. The sun beating endless down and warming everything metal during the day. At night though the cold moon turned everything chilly. Slowly, the bus began to rust away.

Junk Bus

Bus, Tram, Transport, City, Town, Seating, Seat, Bench

Ace put his boots on the dashboard of the pickup truck and lowered his cowboy hat over his face. Soft, sad county music was whispering out of the radio speakers, but it was barely audible over the cold air con, engine rumble and wheels crunching over stones and red sand. He breathed deeply and started daydreaming about the curvy blonde waitress at the last diner they had stopped at.

Red, who was at the wheel, shot his cousin a dirty look. The truck wasn’t new, but even so there was just something about Ace relaxing that got to him. Maybe it was because Red had done all the driving today? Glancing over again, Red could easily see why that waitress at the diner had thought they were twins. They did look so alike with their short black hair, wide jaw line and broad shoulders. The fact they were both wearing leather cowboy boots, jeans, dark t-shirts, brown leather jackets and hats also did not help.

Trying not to grind his teeth, Red looked further down the desert road and towards the mountains. Something glinted in the burning sunlight to his right. Wondering what it was, Red eased back on the gas and watched the object take form. In the shimmering heat it looked like a mirage and he wondered if he had been driving for too long.

‘Hey, Ace. Look,’ Red said loudly.

Ace shifted, grumbled something and pulled his hat off. He looked at Red questionably and slightly angrily, ‘what’s it?’

‘Something’s over there,’ Red answered and pointed at the object.

Ace looked over, taking his boots of the dashboard as he did so. At first he was not sure what it was growing out of the otherwise desert landscape, but then he recognised the long yellow rectangle shape.

‘It’s a school bus,’ he cried.

‘A school bus? Out here in the middle of nowhere?’ Red asked, puzzlement filling his voice.

‘Let’s take a look,’ Ace added as if he had not heard his cousin.

Red nodded and drove the truck over. He parked just off the road and cut the engine. Looking out, he saw that Ace had been right and there was a school bus seemly abandoned in the sand. Wondering how long it had been there for, Red opened his door and got out. Straight away the desert heat hit him like a baseball bat and he began to have second thoughts.

Ace though had flung open his door and was already quickly walking over. Dust trailing in his awake and the sound of his boots the only noise to be heard.

Closing his door then going around and closing the passenger door, Red followed Ace over. He looked at the desert floor as they went, but could not see any tire tracks or other trails. It was possible the bus had been there weeks or months, but he also knew how fast things could change out here, so maybe it had only recently been left?

Ace reached the bus before he did and started looking around it. Red headed straight for the door and found it open. Sand was piled against the steps, indicating that it had been abandoned. He stepped in, knowing he might find more clues inside. He noticed dust on the mirror and wheel. There were no keys though. The seats all had a layer of red sand dust on them too. The air smelt hot and musty.

‘Been here awhile then?’ Ace called from the doorway.

‘Couple of months maybe? It still looks okay in here,’ Red replied over his shoulder.

He walked further down, minding his head and looking for anything else that would help pin down the time or suggest why the bus was here. Red heard Ace getting on board and start messing with the driving wheel and wires.

Then something caught Red’s eye and he stopped. It was a kid’s denim jacket. He picked it up, but there was no name on the label and the pockets were empty. Putting it back, he then found a lunch pack a few seats down. It was also empty, but he was grateful for that as any food would not have lasted long in this heat.

‘Think we can strip it?’ Ace called over.

‘Someone still might come back for it,’ Red answered as he reached the end of the bus.

He picked up a book that had been left on the back seat. It was a children’s horror story and he remembered the series from his own childhood. He flipped through the pages then pocket it.

‘Na, I don’t think they are,’ Ace spoke out.

Red made his way back to his cousin and looked out of the grime covered window. He could just see the red mountains and a tall cactus. The heat was still raising and he felt like he was baking in the bus. Wiping his forehead, he wondered if it was worth the effort to remove things they could easily sell.

‘I’m going to get the tool box,’ Ace declared.

He slide off the driver’s seat and went out of the door. Red watched him disappear out and around the side of the bus. He moved to get off too and something crunched under his boot. He looked down and saw it was an M&M.

Bus Trip

School Bus, Road, Pavement, Desert, Sand, Plants, Rural

Rubbing her temples, Miss Quine fell into questioning why she had agreed to this trip. Behind her, the bus full of shouting eight and nine year olds was reaching it’s peak. Trying to ignore her school class, she looked out of the window and saw the same scene that she had seen half an hour ago; the desert. The dark yellow, red sand stretched all around them, sometimes tufts of green poked up breaking it up, but she could not name the plants. Ahead of them appeared some mountains, but they looked long off in the distance.

She glanced across at her teaching assistant, Miss Pointer, who was busy trying to stop Timmy from throwing M&Ms at Becky. Stepping in, Miss Quine quickly defused things and took the rest of the candy off him. Timmy sat down in a huff and began blowing bubbles with his saliva. Miss Pointer helped the crying Becky settle back down again.

Miss Quine shoved the packet into her bag then looked for the other four adults amongst the twenty-five children. Mr Seale and Mr Greene were roughly in the middle and singing along with the wheels on the bus song that some demon child had started up. Mrs Fisher and Mr Bennet were at the back and looked so deep in conversation that they had not notice William wiping his nose pickings on the window.

Miss Quine sighed and decided she didn’t have the energy to deal with that. She turned to face the front of the bus again and caught a worried look flash across the driver’s face. Before she had time to ask, she heard the engine make a weird sound and the bus suddenly jerked off the road as if it was a dog being pulled on a leash.

They bounced and skid across the desert. Sand and stones peppered and rattled off the bus as the brakes give a loud squeal. The children started screaming and crying whilst the adults hurried to calm them. The bus spun into a stop and the engine cut out.

Miss Quine snatched a few breaths then stood shaky up. Stepping over to the bus driver she saw he was tightly gripping the wheel. She patted him on the shoulder, called his name and asked if he was okay. After a few moments he came to life and nodded, ‘is everyone okay?’ he shouted.

A half-hearted reply muttered back to him, mingled with sobs and sniffs.

‘I’ll see what’s up,’ he answered, ‘everyone stay on the bus.’

The driver opened the doors and got out. Miss Quine watched him inspecting the bus then felt a tug on her jumper. She looked down and Roy was standing directly there.

‘Miss, I got to go,’ he said quietly.

Miss Quine rolled her eyes and looked up to see if one of the gentlemen was free. They all seemed busy though and she was unable to catch any of their eyes.

‘Okay, Roy,’ she said.

Miss Quine stepped off the bus and he followed her. The earth felt hot under her feet and the air seemed to shimmer around them.

‘Go over there, where no one can see,’ Miss Quine directed as she pointed the child across the road and towards a large cactus, ‘keep away from that though,’ she added.

Roy nodded and took off. Miss Quine turned to the bus driver, who had opened the bonnet and was looking inside.

‘What’s the problem?’ she asked.

‘I think it over heated….not sure…might have to go and get some help,’ the bus driver replied.

‘Help? Out here?!’

‘Don’t worry. There’s a little shop a few miles down this road. We can walk there, be good for the kids.’

Miss Quine looked down the road, but could not see anything. She clicked her tongue and decided there was no choice. Getting back on the bus, she rounded up her class, told them what was going on and after a brief argument with some of them, they all got off the bus and walked down the road.

Staying in their seat arrangements with their buddy, the row of children and adults started walking with the bus driver leading the way. The children talked loudly, pointing out all kinds of things and seemly happy they were now free of the confinement of the bus. Miss Quine took off her jumper, already feeling warm then paused as some of the kids darted off to look at a lizard.

Walking on and the sun shone down, making everyone hot and grumpy. A few times the kids asked if they where there yet and if they were lost and if they could stop. Miss Quine forced them all on whilst she prayed the shop was close. Telling them to sing a song, she whispered to the bus driver, ‘how much further?’

‘Couldn’t tell you,’ he replied.

Miss Quine gritted her teeth and decided this wasn’t the time to give him a piece of her mind.

Finally, a small white building appeared at the side of the road. The kids cried out and pointed at it. Those that had the energy started running whilst the rest tried to get the adults to move faster. Miss Quine sank onto the porch, her feet sore, her t-shirt soaked in sweat and her face bright red. Someone give her a bottle of water and she gulped it down.

The voices of the children faded into the background for a few moments and Miss Quine sorted herself out. The bus driver came up to her as the last of the children vanished into the shop, which Miss Quine guessed had never had so many people in it before.

‘It’s not far to the town. I’ll leave you here now and go and get some help. Should be back soon,’ the driver said.

Miss Quine nodded, thanked him then watched him walk off down the road. Behind her she heard a fight break out and she stormed into the shop.

Rusty Bus

Bus, Old, In To The Wild, Abandoned, Outdoors

There was something taking shape in the distant. I stopped, wondering what it was as I reached for my water and map. Taking a few mouthfuls of warmish water, I then checked the map and roughly pinpointed where I was. Looking up again, I saw the desert flat before me and the red mountains close by framed by the deep blue sky. The huge objected was there before the first mountain, a white and red patchy rectangle shape it seemed to be.

Putting my water skin and map away again, I walked on, determined to find out what the object was. Maybe it was something that would give me shade in this otherwise empty sand-scape or further shelter for the night. Small puffs of dust rose around my boots, sand was already clinging to me so a little more would make no difference. My legs and arms were achy and I knew soon I’d have to stop for a rest.

The object grew and soon enough I saw it was a bus. I paused, puzzling over why a bus would be in the middle of nowhere. I carried on walking, listening to the sound of the breeze shaking sand grit and my boots shuffling loudly. As soon as I reached the bus, I saw it was little more then a shell. The windows were all gone, so had the wheels and what was left was a rusty frame.

I looked through the space were the door had once been and saw that the inside was empty as well. I could just make out where the driver’s seat and wheel had been in front of me. Further down, where the outlines of the seats but the floor was just metal now. Heat came off the abandoned bus like an oven and I decided not to venture inside.

I walked around it, noticing the headlights were missing and so were any signs of what the bus might have been from and where it was heading too. Around the other side was a shadow outline and though the heat was still drifting off the metal, the sand was cool. I sank gratefully down and drink another mouthful of precious water.

My thoughts tumbled and I wondered how and why the bus had ended up here. Someone or someones had clearly stripped it down, perhaps before dumping it here. Maybe as a landmark? A looked up at the side of the bus and tried to see anything that would give me any clues.

Another thought popped into my head. What if there had been a trip of school children or tourists out to see the mountains and the bus had broken down or they had gotten lost? Stuck out here, they had no choice but to strip the bus down to use what they could as they tried to get out of here.

I smiled at my imagination and decided that here would be a good place to set up camp for the night. Checking my map, I saw that actually I wasn’t far from a ranch and then a small town. Maybe a day or two, three at the most? I checked my supplies, decided I’d be okay and set up my tent and stuff.

Crawling into my sleeping bag as the night settled in, my thoughts were still on the bus. Just how had it ended up here?

Obsolete

Aerospace Storage, B-52'S, Bombers, Military, Jets

April pulled the mask down from her face and took a deep breath of dry, hot air. Small, loose strands of her dark blonde hair escaped and brushed against her red round cheeks. Her sharp blue eyes scanned the abandon desert scape, taking in the metal shells that had once been aeroplanes. She heard the sound of sand grains gritting across each other and the plane hulks, but beside from that there was nothing else.

Taking in another forbidden breath, April began to climb down the outside of the tunnel shaft. Gripping tightly on with her gloved hands and focusing on the pale grey concrete surface framed between the rungs, she went down, slowly. The rusty ladder creaked, but held her too small nineteen year old body weight as she placed foot after a foot on each rung. She glanced down at the last few steps and thought about jumping. The image of Cal twisting his ankle last time quickly changed her mind.

Her heavy metal and leather boots hit the sand, causing a small dust cloud. She turned and pulled her mask back on. The planes, which hadn’t seem so daunting from ten foot above, now took on a different form. They rose above her and April felt threatened by their giant emptiness. She sidestepped and wiggled out of the rucksack that was too tight on her back. Holding it, she looked through it and checked the items inside.

Above her, came the sound of more boots clumping on metal. April looked up and saw through the cloudy protective screen, two people standing on top of the shaft. One waved to her then began descending. April waved back. Dropping her eyes back to the inside of her rucksack, she made sure, for what had to be the hundredth time that the tops of her water canteens were on. Feeling they were, she fastened the straps and slung the backpack on again.

Not wanting to look at the decaying planes, April watched Trigg, who was the same age as her, came down the ladder. He was fast then she had been, more confident in his feet. Soon, he was beside her and they were staring at each other through the cumbersome masks. She watched him press the mic button and heard his voice hissing in her ear.

‘You took your mask off, didn’t you?’

‘Just for a few seconds,’ April responded back, ‘it doesn’t do any harm.’

Trigg shook his head, ‘beside from the fact that everyone is going to know. I can see it fogging up from here!’

She sighed deeply and looked away as he tugged off his rucksack.

‘I’ve a got demister…somewhere,’ Trigg muttered.

‘Joe’s almost here,’ April pointed out, watching the older man coming down the ladder.

Trigg held out a small plastic bottle with a spray top on it. April quickly took off her mask and let him spray it. She held her breath.

‘Problem?’ a voice crackled through the speaker.

‘No,’ Trigg replied back, ‘just condensation. April was breathing too hard.’

April bit her lip and held back a nasty reply. She put the mask on and took a deep breath of filtered air. Looking out her vision was now clear. She focused on the planes, disliking herself for it, but knowing she couldn’t meet Trigg’s or Joe’s eyes now.

‘You okay?’ Joe asked.

‘Yes. It was nothing,’ April said quickly.

Trigg reached out to pat her shoulder, but April dodged him and began striding across the sand. She left deep footprints behind as she approached the first plane. It was a small two person craft and looked like it had been over salvaged all ready. April remembered it from last time and walked past it.

Over the intercom, Trigg called for her to slow down, but she ignored him. Gun was the leader on this mission and the only person April planned to fully listen too. However, he had been late and so was the last to come up. Plus, she was the only woman on this eight man crew. So, she had to stay strong.

Coming to stop beside a discarded plane wing, April turned and saw Trigg and Jo trailing behind her. In the distant, there were two figures standing at the bottom of the ladder, another two at the top and one man climbing down. She looked away, out across the plane graveyard and wondered what they’d find today.

 

To Be Continued…

Sick

She felt like she had been stranded in a desert for weeks. Her throat was dry and cracked as if she had been eating sand. The craving for water was similar, she imaged, to the cravings of a drug addicted. She thought if she could get a little water everything would go away. She tried to get up, but her head swarmed with the sounds of a sandstorm that had collided with a nest of angry wisps.

She lay back down and licked her dried out lips. She could actually feel the bones of her teeth and lumps of her inside cheeks. The touch left her squirming. Breathing raggedly, she listened to the rain falling outside and the afternoon birds calling. Glad of this, she rested for a few moments then tried to get up again.

The same pains returned. She struggled on, crawling through the desert in search of water. The bathroom was her oasis. Turning the tap, she drank and drank. The water filled her empty stomach and cooled her burning face. The water was sweet and too nice to give up. At last though she turned off the tap and listened to the plug gargling.

She returned back to bed and lay there. Fuzzy grey lines filled her vision and she watched then dance across her eyelids. Her energy was spent and all she could do was tumble back into a restless sleep.