Lonely Travelers

In Fiction on June 11, 2013 at 9:30 pm

moon, stars, night sky

Lonely Travelers

I drove south over dunes and flats of rough-packed gravel, my brother groaning meaningless psalms in the back, Meher’s lifeless body jostling like a marionette to my right. My leg needed attention: Shrapnel had nicked the femoral artery, which leaked a slow pulse of blood—a violent bump might tear it completely—but our attackers were in pursuit.

Egypt’s Western Desert is a bleak expanse marked by few settlements and fewer roads, but I knew the Dakhla Oasis lay some 30 miles to the south; it would be several hours over the treacherous terrain, but I drove on, praying the dusty skies would give us cover… praying the blood I had left would last.


Night had fallen by the time we reached our salvation. Riding up, the date palms were gray silhouettes against an oil-black sky, rustling gently in the breeze. Above, the stars shone like a thousand far-off lanterns—as if a sea of lonely travelers had risen to shine a light, silently calling to the lonely travelers on the earth below.

I drove the Mehindra round to a copse of peach trees at the edge of a pool, silenced the engine and collapsed in the seat. My thigh burned, but the leg was numb below the knee. It was a minute or two before I found the strength to tear away what remained of my pants; beneath, the flesh was reddish blue and puckered around a deep gash. I fished my kit from the back.

Each movement of my dirty fingers was an explosion of excruciating pain as I plumbed the depth of my wound. My leg throbbed as if the blood were coursing deep within the bone, moments from rupturing and rending the limb from my body. But I found the artery—a weak little worm—clamped it, and sutured the small laceration. When I finished, exhaustion took me.

In the back, my brother chanted his laments. Meher, meanwhile, had begun to stink.

The lonely travelers watched in silence.

This continuation of my series, The Treatment, is my response to this week’s Trifecta Challenge: Light. The entries are already pouring in for this week, so be sure to head on over to check them out.

As I get deeper in the series, it becomes more and more important to give context, so if you have the time for it, why not start from the beginning and get the full effect?

The Treatment // A Prison of the Mind // Echoes // Out for Blood // Lonely Travelers

  1. I love chanted his laments.

  2. Grittiness is soothed somehow under the lantern stars

  3. Refreshing to read a story based outside of the comfort zone.

  4. Such strong writing! I was pulled in immediately, and I admire your ability to pace the story. Just excellent :))

  5. The details on how your narrator treats his wount is just excellent… and it stands very well for itself.

  6. Fantastic, as always! That scene with his wound near the end made me squirm in my seat. Can’t wait for more of this story.

  7. such great imagery and comparison. i feel like this could have been a great adventure had you more of a word allowance. very well done. one of my picks for the week.

  8. This gets better with each installment. I’m loving it a lot.

  9. You had me at “jostling like a marionette.”

  10. good imagery. i winced at the last paragraph, “But I found the artery—a weak little worm—clamped it, and suture the small laceration.”

  11. I did start at the beginning, and this is not where I expected the tale to go. Bravo to unexpected plots!

  12. […] Treatment // A Prison of the Mind // Echoes // Out for Blood // Lonely Travelers // From the […]

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