In my wanderings, I often find myself traipsing a barren land. From horizon to horizon the ground stretches dry and cracked, riddled like puzzle pieces with the long-gone memory of water. Gray haze blows across the sky, blocking out the sunlight like smoke from an unseen fire. But I smell no ash, only empty heat. Taste no soot, just grainy dirt between my teeth. Plates of ancient mud snap beneath my shoes as I plod across acres and acres of desert.
I never know how I arrive here, but I always know my destination: anywhere else.
In the wavy distance, other figures walk. Black silhouettes, mere smudgy suggestions of people. Some toward my destination, others across my path, a few back the way I came. Always anonymous and alone. When I approach them, they scurry away, perhaps seeing in me nothing but the void-cut shape of a human, same as how I see them. Little eddies of brown dust spiral between us, growing and growing in height, towering upward. When a silhouette steps into one of these, both dust devil and person vanish in a twist of crimson spray. I make it a point to avoid these.
Though at times I walk a lonely space made for dying, I one day or the next step out of it. When my feet find soft grass, when rain droplets cool my parched skin, when clean air fills my lungs again, I raise my bowed head and wander ever onward. Yet no matter how many times I escape, I know that I will continue to return.
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