At Red Horizon's Break

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: January 11, 2017

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Submitted: January 11, 2017

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Introduction

At the time whenever the sun has retreated back down into the earth, a faint line lingers at the midsection of the desert landscape. It appears almost arcane in its glowing intensity, as if collected by the time worn crystals of sand, building in warmth, and then slowly seeping out towards the fringes of sky. The wide lapis sky becomes dotted sporadically with points of fire in burning white, yellow, red, and orange. These are faint but collectively lend to the character of light reminiscent of a hearthfire. As the sun falls farther, the burnt orange color of the horizon line matures into crimson.

 At this point, the grains of sand absorb light no longer and, for this very exact moment, reflect with blinding efficiency, a line of red intensity as a newly treated blade does the moment it exits the coals. And as a blade, it cuts through the ocean of pink decay that is the dunes and separates the heavens from the earth. Rolling upwards and downwards in an attempt to join itself with this cosmic warmth, the ancient dunes drive themselves farther into the depths of shadow and night. 

In that moment of still awe however, all becomes the same color. Red. It is the moment of transition between life and death. The people say this light is what painted the sands like the insides of salmon fish, and this light which stained the lineage of the Throne. And every day when the horizon breaks, and all is cooled in shadow, the vessel of the dead releases it's passengers across the scattered landscape. This world is home to many. But again the horizon will break.

 

The Nomad in the Valley Oasis

A pale pink dust lifted and floated out from under the nomad's palm bark sandals as he strode across the cracked mud bank of the oasis. This powder, too fine and soft to be sand, suspended itself in the air long after the man (if one could call him that) had passed, and descended down at a pace as to suggest no natural current of air. The whole oasis valley was paralyzed in a perpetual state of stillness, save for the movements of the nomad and the cloud which trailed him.

Of course, this would not last, as he well knew. Even the soft banks and cool ferns of the ponds which lay in the valley could not hide the burning wrath of the desert. The thin blanket of dust which rested everywhere in the place; on the cracked banks, on the tops of palms and joshua trees resting near the bowels of the waters, and on the sands which cascaded down like falls into the skeletal crags which gave it it's geometry, gave portent to this wrath. The breath of the dunes had lain the dust down, and it would do so again given time.

It was not yet the time that the animals which lived in the nearby burrows and cracks of boulders would come to the waters to drink. The sun was too hot, and the birds of kill still circled dry clouds over nothing. The nomad paced slowly through the brush towards the largest of the ponds in the valley. Kneeling down on one knee, he undid the knot around the sash he wore as a belt. He pulled the waterskin, a worn thing made from goat's stomach - wrapped with curly white fur dirtied with time, from his waist and lowered it into the water. As the oasis flowed calmly into the mouth of the skin, the fur turned a darker brown color than it usually wore, and long tendrils of dirt stretched outwards into the pure of the pond. They writhed and made intricate curling patterns around the skin for a while until the filth had settled with the waters and sunk down. The nomad, watching these filthy things, let them find their way into the stomach with the rest of the fill. He pulled the waterskin out by its drawstrings, dripping, and tied it tightly. 

A limb, covered past the mid forearm with an amalgamation of hides, cloths, and straps, reached into the water with a cupped left hand. Through the clear liquid the nomad looked at his pale hand, which was slightly pinker and much lighter than the rest of his body. For the first time, he saw the cut he had gotten earlier that day on his ascent up the crags leading into the valley. It did not bleed, but filled one of the little creases of his palm with a stressed red inflammation. The moisture had irritated the wound, having not been exposed to wet for such a time, and it pulsated pain in small, nearly unnoticeable waves. He brought the hand up to his lips, hills of shattered skin, and let the refreshment take him. The flow of water, like the pain in his hand, filled him with the kind of pleasure derived from a successful hunt. It gave him life.


© Copyright 2019 Alexander Rainnman. All rights reserved.

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