Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Flash Fiction: In The Desert

Every Friday Kurt posts a new piece of original flash fiction. This week is part 2 of November's Mystery Theme.

In The Desert
Word Count: 597

“Well, they’ve got numbers on their side, if nothing else.” Harold swung his head around. The night vision binoculars showed a wall of green zombies tromping through the sand to their west. He ducked and slid down the dune back towards their tent.

“How do they survive?” asked Laura.

“Technically speaking, they don’t,” said Harold.

“You know what I mean,” said Laura. “They should be drying out or something.”

“Look, this was always a gamble,” said Harold. “We knew that when we tried it.” And he was beginning to think it hadn’t been a very good one.

“So it’s my fault?”

“That’s not what I’m saying,” said Harold. “We should get in the tent. The temperature’s dropping pretty quickly.”

Laura nodded, but made no move.

“Look, we’re still ahead of them,” said Harold. “And I want to get moving at dawn if we’re going to stay ahead of them.”

“We’re going to die, aren’t we?” said Laura.

Harold put a hand on her shoulder, but she didn’t react to it, even to shrug it off. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but we really should get into the tent.”

“I thought you were supposed to move at night and sleep during the day in the desert,” said Laura. “I remember hearing that in grade school.”

“Meet a lot of desert survivalists in grade school, did you?”

Laura gave him a dirty look, but there was very little force behind it. God, she’s even more exhausted than I am, Harold thought. “Sorry,” he offered. “We don’t have clothing for the cold.”

Laura nodded.

“They might have lost our scent,” said Harold. “We could jag north, or something.”

“If they’re still moving, then they haven’t lost our scent.”

“We could still try it.”

“We’ll lose too much ground,” said Laura.

“Not that much.”

“Yes, that much,” said Laura. “If we make a hard left turn, instead of being two days east of them we’ll only be one-point-four days northeast of them. Look, I’m trusting you about desert survival; you trust me about the math.”

“Sorry,” said Harold. “Sorry, I’m just trying to come up with ideas.”

“Ideas like escaping through the desert?” asked Laura.

“We really should get in the tent.”

“Don’t change the subject,” said Laura. “We’re going to die. It was my idea to escape in the desert and it was a stupid idea. We’re going to die and it’s all my fault.”

Harold put an arm around her. This time she did shrug it off.

“It wasn’t a bad idea,” said Harold. “It may not have been the right idea, but I agreed to it. We’re going to share the consequences, so we might as well share the blame.”

Laura sniffed.

“Besides,” said Harold, “we don’t know that it hasn’t worked. The hot and cold are going to be harder on their bodies than on ours, since we have a tent and sleeping bags to keep us warm during the freezes. The terrain is slowing them down at least as much as it’s slowing us down during the day. We may even have enough food and water to get us to the other side. Look, they’re not going to catch up to us before dawn. We’ll see what happens in the morning. Maybe we’ll find a canyon with a rope bridge. Maybe we’ll find a horde heading the other way. Salvation or doom, or just more of the same. But your quote-unquote stupid idea got us this far at least.”

Laura nodded. “It’s getting cold,” she said. “Let’s get in the tent.”

Edited by Carolyn "Find A Way To Make This Less Awkward" Abram.

Like what you see? Help me out by liking my author page on Facebook or re-posting the story using the buttons below.

No comments: