Wednesday Writing Prompt (WWP)! is a biweekly writing challenge for you and for me.

Here’s how WWP works: I’ll post a writing prompt on Wednesday morning (that’s today!). Then you can participate by writing a 250 to 500 word scene or story in response to it. I’ll post my story response on Thursday and I’d love it if you share your scene or story (or the link to it!) in the comments of my response post.

Let’s see where this wacky world of writing takes us!

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This week’s prompt was:

Very little grows in the desert.

Very little grows in the desert. The sun is filled with animosity and scorches everything that comes into its path. The sand is bleached, continually being shifted by the whim of the winds. Few creatures can survive the harsh temperament of the desert region. Yet, somehow, some find a way to do so. Evan is one such anomaly.

Evan James is a young man, avoided by many. He dwells in the desert, living a solitary life. A small grey tent is called home and fits into an army green hiking pack with the entirety of this lone man’s belongings.

No one knows where he came from or where he is going. He moves around on impulse; he does not seem to have a pattern or a plan. What he eats and drinks, how he survives, no one knows.

Soon all that will change.

Everything will change.

For Evan.

And for a girl named Rose.

 

Evan sat at his campfire. He unfocused his eyes as he gazed into the murky distance. By allowing his eyes to relax, he finally saw it. The movement. It wasn’t normal desert movement. There were creatures out here. Yes. Many of them. Some much larger than you’d expect.

But that movement wasn’t from one of those creatures.

That movement was distinctly human.

And distinctly dehydrated and disoriented.

Evan closed his eyes. He didn’t want to have to deal with this tonight. Not tonight. Of all nights, tonight was the one that he wanted to get lost in his memories.

But he couldn’t let that person keep wandering. Not in the state they were already in. And it was about to get cold, very cold.

He shifted his dinner in the coals, made sure it wasn’t getting overcooked, and stood up. Tying his scarf around his head to cover his nose and mouth–who knew what state this person’s hygiene would be in–Evan grabbed a flask of water and started trudging through the dunes. As he walked away from his camp he sent an apology to Maya. Their tradition, one he’d carried on alone for the last six years, wasn’t going to be carried out tonight.

  1. “You never told me there were people living in the desert.” Hirum relaxed into his seat.
    “People, my lord?” Gorunbing lifted his eyebrow though he did not turn his head from the pilot console. The ground was flying past below them at the greatest speed he could press from the transport vehicle.
    “The engineers reported some trouble makers. Asked for military support.” Hirum explained.
    “Very little lives in the desert, my lord. Only the outcasts from the savages. Exiles from the bottom scrapings.” An idea piqued Gorunbing’s wrath. A different set of controls received his tender mercies and his mouth twisted in a most sinister grin. A screen displayed a close group of dots. “Military support, my lord?” The evil light in his eye invited as he altered course.
    “Battle?” Hirum cried. He leaped from his seat and began searching the hold for his sword. The city confines me, he thought. The military games give only temporary satisfaction to the surging desire for blood.
    “Skirmish.” Gorunbing corrected. “You and I against 20 odd. Swords against…” What weapons would an ugly crowd of desert worms wield? “Stones, my lord.”
    He set the vehicle upon the plain a fair distance from the nomads. They were roused by the landing but not disturbed. As the two seasoned warriors approached the hoodlums gathered together more in curiosity and instinct than fear.
    “They are pathetic, Gor. Why assault them?”
    Humble, uncouth, villainous they were yet his people. All souls belonged to him; his Master died for all alike.
    “You have soldiers to spare, my lord?” Gorunbing mocked to provoke. “If we kill them Rasset’s men sleep in peace. Besides, they have the erig beast. I must examine it.”
    Contagious blood lust surged between them. To avenge themselves on something, to slake the burning until the erig served his rightful, torturous death, overcame pity or regard for the dilapidation in the present enemy.
    Some tossed their weapons, weighing, balancing, testing their rocks to find the sharp edges.
    Both warriors inhaled the pulsating heat, fingered the perfectly balanced hilt of their swords. When the rush came they would not think, only act out the brutality long stored, until the heaps fell over and the sand turned red at their feet.
    The first missile flew and their shields hummed to life. A hail of boulders smashed into the energy and crumbled to dust. Behind the barrage the bandits advanced until they came within arms length and the two swords flashed out. Bodies scorched against the shields, screams and angry taunts shattered the air.
    Muscles flexed and bent to the task. The mob strained right and Gorunbing moved away from his lord to block an assay to the vehicle.
    Too soon the commotion ceased. A few cowards howled off into the distance and Hirum’s shield purred and vanished.
    Chests heaving, they stood grinning broadly at each other, disbelieving yet exalting in their power and companionship. Victorious, they coveted another opportunity, an extended feud.
    Nearby, the erig beast tottered, wary to escape abuse as Gorunbing approached.
    Hirum wiped his sword on the rump of the topmost outcast body. “We should give them an honourable release.” He called out over the suddenly obvious wind. “How do savages honour their dead?”
    “Burn the heap.” Gorunbing called back, nimble fingers releasing the burden from the hopeless animal. Why did they not eat while it had flesh on its bones? To end the slow demise he ran his blade between the heaving ribs. “Send a crew tomorrow, my lord.”
    “Three crosses.” Hirum announced, staring at the wavering mirage of a horizon. His soul stretched up and out. Suddenly he felt small and lost on the barren plain. “They shall stand here as a memorial….”
    Some accepted the work of the Saviour. Others rejected it. That didn’t stop Him from serving. In the uncultivable wasteland, this ground would never be fertile.
    A figure loomed over the daydreaming Overlord. Gorunbing’s blood splattered tunic reminded Hirum of his own. Clarity returned. His eyes shone simply. His hands shook. The advancing reaction against the blood letting birthed his servant’s favourite mood in him, that strange innocence and humility of a born leader.
    The sword fell into Gorunbing’s ready hand. He led Hirum to the vehicle and guided him to sit on the lintel of the door since he lacked the impetus to climb the stairs.

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