Tidal

[Writing] Water

I have finally finished writing my little one pager on the subject of "Water". I found this piece rather challenging because I tried to write something completely outside of my personal frame of reference. I'm overall pleased with this first attempt because it pushed me. The end result is a bit underwhelming to me but I wasn't expecting to write "the perfect short-story" on my first try.

Please feel free to comment, provide critique (constructive preferred) or give feedback.

She walked across the parched land; dried mud cracking beneath her feet as she made her way out of the village. It hadn't rained in months. The river that supplied their only source of water was little more than a dry scar across the surface of the land. They had not been able to replenish their supply of water for several weeks and the reserves were almost empty. She was forgetting how it felt to be hydrated. Her lips were cracked, her tongue was no longer able to provide much relief, and her skin no longer felt like her own. She wasn't sure why she had continued making the trip to the riverbed since it had dried up but there was something comforting about going through the motions. Besides, today was different; she had been called to it.

She licked her lips out of habit, sighed and continued toward the river. It would return when the rains began again, this was the way of things. She had never seen a drought last this long before. She kept assuring herself that the rains would come soon, willing herself to believe it. The hearty desert plants were wilted; only a few dried grasses and shrubs still clung to the earth. The entire landscape spoke of heat, desolation and thirst. Her tribe had already lost three members to this drought. One of the elders had passed away within a month and two of the children had followed in the past week. Everyone was conserving the few precious drops of consumable liquid that were left but she was afraid it would not be enough. They needed the rains and the rains still did not come. She wondered how many of her tribesman would live to see this dry and desolate wasteland transform into a lush, verdant garden. She stopped for a moment, closed her eyes, and recalled the beauty of it. She could almost smell the grass, flowers and moisture. She remembered the way the dew clung to each leaf, each blade of grass, sparkling like a million little stars when the sun would break the horizon. Everything was so alive. She opened her eyes to the true landscape. It had a strange beauty to it; the way the cracks moved and intersected in the red and brown hues of the earth but it would not sustain life.

The wind picked up. She stood there, lost in thought, as it sent dust and debris skittering across the ground. There was no moisture in the air but there would be a storm. It would be dry and severe, setting ablaze anything that would burn. She loved the raw, natural power of the storms but wished for this one to bring the rain. Her own body ached for water and she knew that the tribe would lose many more members if it didn't rain soon. She longed to see the river bursting with water, flooding the shore. The current would be strong enough to knock you over and carry you miles downstream, twisting and tumbling as it wound its way toward the sea. It was the bringer of life, movement, and nourishment. She longed for the strength it brought, the force of it, rushing across the land. She allowed the memory to wash over her. It drenched her entire being, filling her with the sense of water. She needed these memories to give her the strength to complete her task.

Arriving at the shore of the river, she placed her empty water jug on the ground. No one knew that she was there but they were certain to notice that she had left the village. Slowly, she knelt down and traced a symbol on the ground - five round dots positioned above three horizontal lines – the symbol for water. It was almost invisible on the hard, packed dirt but the essence was there. She gazed at the markings, willing them to absorb her intent. She would call the rains as she had been taught to do by the elders of her tribe. She would dance until she could dance no more and she would call the gods, begging them to save her people. She sat for a moment longer before rising to her feet. Her voice cried out to the gods, aching with thirst, begging them to drench her body and spirit. And then she danced.

The dance began slowly, her voice carrying the words and sounds that she had been trained to sing. The words spoke of life and nourishment; they spoke of quenched thirst and abundance. They had a spirit of their own and soon she found herself caught in their grip. Images burst to her mind and her body responded, moving the dance to a faster pace. She could see the land awash with life; hundreds of species of plants covered every inch of ground as far as her mind’s eye could see. Animals grazed and ran wild across the terrain. The images became superimposed upon one another; the harsh, dry landscape blurred into the scenes of greenery and life. She could feel the grass beneath her feet as she danced upon the hard, dry earth. The air was heavy with moisture; her body was slick with sweat. She began spinning as she danced, faster and faster. Her movement became frenzied and she teetered on the edge of losing control. She did not feel the pain in her feet as the hard earth scraped at them. She was unaware of her surroundings, unaware of the fatigue that was setting in to her body and unaware of time. There was only the dance. Suddenly, without warning she stopped. The vision vanished abruptly and she was left standing next to the dried up river, surrounded by the wasteland that had become so familiar in these past few months. Her breathing came in gasps now, and the ache in her body was now very apparent. Her legs gave out beneath her. Tears streamed down her face, and she marveled at the fact that her body still carried enough moisture for this.

She became vaguely aware of a tapping sound of in the distance. One at a time the sounds reached her. There was no pattern to it; it was chaos to her muddled senses. There was nothing to distinguish its origin but as it became clearer she knew that that she was hearing something hitting the ground. It hit her face, bringing her suddenly back into her body. She tried to sit up but collapsed under the pain in her muscles. She realized that she must have lost consciousness. Frightened and unsure of her situation, she opened her eyes, trying to gain her bearings. Again, she was struck in the face. She threw her arms up instinctively trying to protect herself. What was happening? She struggled to sit up as more and more tiny objects pelted her body. They were coming faster now. She tried to focus, looking for an enemy. She tried to cry out for help but no sound came. A deafening roar rang out around her, shaking the ground beneath her. It rang right through her and she was suddenly being pelted from all sides. She noticed, with sudden clarity, that she wasn't being hurt and realized what was happening. Regaining control of her senses and burst into tears. They flowed freely down her cheeks and mingled with the cool, harsh rain that was bursting from the sky. She fell back onto the ground, letting the rain wash over her sore, tired body. She would enjoy as many precious drops as she could before having to head back to the village. Her water jug lay broken on the ground as if it recognized that it was no longer needed. The rain had come.


Now, to write something from the point of view of an animal (non-human), vegetable, or mineral. ^_^

Very nice! :) I think it would be interesting to see you do a series of these with one for each of the elements. If you want to do a vegetable, perhaps a sexy eggplant story? :p
Very nice! I noticed a typo in the first paragraph, "They had not been able to replenish their supply of water and for several weeks and the reserves were almost empty."

I think L.'s suggestion is really good actually, it could be interesting to see a collection of these - one for each element. :)

Can't wait to see what you do with the point of view story. :P
Typo fixed, thank you. :)

I'm not settled on the point of view storyline yet but L's eggplant idea is tempting.
I was also thinking that it would be interesting to do a series for each of the elements. I think it will have to happen. :)

Hmmm...sexy eggplant eh? I had not considered this. It may just work.
Yay brain-share! My first thought was a love affair with a zucchini - there are just too many yummy dishes they go together in. ;)