Wednesday, 25 September 2013

A bad day.

He wasn't afraid of the dark. The dark was safe and comforting. It was soft and fuzzy and gentle.

During the day the light made his eyes hurt and his skin prickle. He looked forward to the night when the air cooled and the world became still.


Going nowhere. She kicked the wheel in frustration. There was never a good time to get a flat, but driving through the desert an hour after using your spare on another had to rank pretty highly.

Staring down the road in the vain hope that someone would drive out of the mist (oh, you misrepresenter of the population of desert roads, Shania Twain!) she mused on how smooth it looked stretching out into eternity. When in reality, the blasted thing was littered with slippery sand, small rocks that played havoc with the suspension, bigger rocks, pot holes and rusted items of every sort (and how does that happen? There's no water to make it rusty!).

She kicked it again in futile frustration and managed to make her day worse by stubbing her toe. After hopping around, growing ever more creative with her swearing, she decided to do something sensible: break out her emergency kit, sit in the shade and have a small drink of water while figuring out how to cover the final 100 miles.


The light was glaring down at him. He curled up and burrowed deeper, hiding from the noise and fuss going on.


Her phone had still had enough signal to send a series of texts to her insurer, but that had still necessitated a wait of almost three hours. Her food and water had lasted easily, but she was going out of her mind with boredom. Not a single vehicle had passed - after half an hour her concerns that she might only see a group of mocking idiots who wouldn't even slow down had been replaced with the feeling that even that might break the monotony.

She didn't dare play games on her phone or table in case she needed the battery for communicating later and she couldn't afford to waste fuel or car battery to listen to music in case someone arrived before the insurer's repair and rescue service and she was able to drive to the nearest town.

She sat, staring into the sunset, as the world cooled around her.


His sleep had been so disrupted he was in a very bad mood. As the sun's glare faded, he kicked himself out of the comfort of his bed and staggered out of the safety of his den. He paused at the entrance, looking around and trying to decide what he should do. He rubbed his nose, scratched his rear and decided to get a drink.

A sudden noise caused him to start violently, but it was coming from the other side of a barrier and he didn't panic over it. However, it had drawn his attention to the drink lying freely available beside the barrier. He glanced quickly around, looking for any kind of deterrent, then ran to the beverages and cautiously sipped. It was just water. Tasted a bit funny, but it was water.


The mechanic had arrived! She'd been so happy to have someone with her that she'd kept him, Gary, talking for a few minutes. When he'd said he'd brought two good tyres, she almost hugged him. The spare and the blown tyre were both on the same side of the car, so he suggested he jack the car up at its central point and replace both at once. To do that, she needed to unhook her shelter, which was also on that side, and pack it away while he was working on the wheels.

As she walked back to her shelter, she glanced back over her shoulder and called out to Gary about how pleased she was to not have to sit under it anymore.


The noises had changed, and were coming towards him. It was a threat! He leapt as high as he could into the only shelter available - the barrier - and retreaded into the first dark space he found. It was uncmfortably warm, but safe for now.


She cried out in frustration when she saw that she'd knocked over her water canister in her excitement. She still had plenty of water in the other, but given her luck today, it was almost guaranteed she'd regret that waste later.

She packed up the shelter and its few accoutrements and left the bag, with everything packed in it, beside the car then went to give Gary a hand.


The world shifted. He scrabbled around desperately, but there was no purchase on this surface.


The car was jacked and the wheels changed in record time. She took the spare, as she knew the nuts were looser and preferred to carry the smaller wheel where possible.

Once the new wheels were fixed, they dropped the car and she went around the back to sort out the boot. She leaned around the edge of the raised boot cover and asked for the spare which Gary rolled over to her. She sidestepped, caught it, and hefted it to the edge of the boot.


The chaos had stopped and he ran to the opening. The danger was not aware of him.

It was deeply unpleasant here - far too hot and the air was bad. He looked around, but saw no where safe to run. He looked up, and saw a safe new crevice.

The sounds suggested the threat was coming back, so he speedily jumped, ran and ducked into the safety of the crevice. Here he found a dark channel, which he scampered along, in search of a more secure spot. The whole world shook once. He froze. There were noises and minor shakes, before one almighty KerrThump.

He curled up tightly, into as small a space as possible and for a long time nothing happened.

He'd begun to relax when a roar sounded. The world started to shake, and then the wind began. He fought against it before giving up and running for a new shelter. The world was different - part hot, all smelly and full of obstacles. Soon he found a safe place.

Once he had been curled up in the darkness for a while, he found that the roar was no longer threatening. He closed his eyes, relaxed and after the worst day of his short life, slept.


When she got home, she would find his droppings in the folds of the blanket she used as her shelter. She despised rodents.

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