Disclaimer: This short story (technically not a short story) is a part of a new project of mine, called God, The Devil, and a Man walk into a bar.
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
— Antonio Machado
The traveler sat down on a sand dune and saw nothing. He heard nothing. He feared the worst. He had reached a truly godforsaken place: a vast, mournful pan of emptiness where anything sentient resented anything else that was alive. Every sun-scoured scrap of fauna had barbs, hooks or thorns, every animal had poison, paw or claw. Scorpions scuttled and snakes hissed and slithered while they went about their grisly business of survival. Even sand was an enemy. It burned his feet raw, it stinged his eyes and acted as a surrogate for pain.
His skin felt like scraped by sandpaper, his tongue was cloven to the roof of his mouth. His eyes felt like they’d melted into the back of his mind, making everything seem mirage-like. He knew he was alone, abandoned, and doomed. A colorless heat haze had blurred out the background and his vision had become myopic.
Yet, through the silence, through the nothing, something throbbed, something gleamed. Continue reading