Writing Assignment - Lazarus

He stepped out of the pickup and the bright, hot winds surrounded him, an oven of scorched air and burnt sand. His thirst consumed him; it had been his only thought for miles, and now that his truck lay dead in a heap, the feeling of helpless isolation magnified his leathered tongue all the more.

He walked to the back of the pickup and lowered the tailgate, its metal skin burning his hands. A wind gust picked up a bucketful of desert sand and threw it unmercifully into his eyes. He swore as his hands flew to his eyes. Nature was exacting some sort of revenge, although he did not know what he had done to deserve such treatment.

The relentless onslaught of wind and sand whipped at him, and he shielded his eyes with his arm and used his free hand to drag the small ice chest toward him. One warm bottle of water remained inside, floating in a small, dirty pool of water. He grabbed the bottle from its home and, in a desperate attempt to cool his overheated body, dumped the water that remained in the cooler over his head.

Relief swept through him for a brief moment, but was quickly replaced by regret: the infernal heat robbed him of all moisture as soon as the water hit his skin, and he realized that he had just wasted half of his already meager water supply. He cursed his stupidity and returned to the cab of the truck, slamming the door against the barrage of the desert.

Uncapping the water, he resisted the urge to guzzle down the entire bottle, instead allowing himself one small sip. Water had never tasted so decadent; he suddenly understood the parable of the rich man in hell who begged for one drop of water to cool his tongue. He took another sip and relished its wetness.

He had to get out of here. He scanned the horizon, sizing up his situation. Before him lay an endless sea of sand and sky, uniform in color and texture. His options were limited: he could wait for someone to chance upon him, which, gauging scope of the terrain, could take days or weeks; or he could walk, which seemed equally futile.

He leaned back into the seat and settled in for a long wait. He would remain here until he could do so no longer.

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