Paths amongst those who still live will cross in mysterious ways on apocalyptic Earth.
It's been years since people of this world have seen trees or even rain, slowly we became accustomed to the changing environment. As to how the earth came to be like this, I will never know, it was a mystery. An apocalyptic plague that spread worldwide and changed every way of life. The earth changed, and so did the living inhabitants. Slowly, people found a way to survive on the barren wastelands and cities piled with dust and old food cans or wrappers. Buildings are knit and close together, but few, among the vast landscape of towering sand dunes. Over the years the air became thicker and harder to breath, fewer trees meant the harder the atmosphere. Many wore masks and goggles in order to keep from being stung by the sand laced wind and breeze.
As a nomad, a lone traveler, I walked everywhere on my own with a burlap sack. My clothes covered by a cloak, head covered by a hood, and my face covered with goggles and a mask. Slowly I made it past the bumbling city filled with dirty homeless and children running around without supervision. Past the city was what few trees and vines were left of a previous forest. In the middle of the sand surrounded by the vines, was a small hut, seemingly abandoned run down shack, so I decide that I would stay there. But before I could make it there, I notice a small figure in the sand, a child, no more than three years old, lying on the ground barely breathing.
Her small figure was covered with nothing but a white sundress. Her golden hair fell around her face and skimmed her shoulders. Her body was dirty and face was marked with a few small cuts and bruises, with a trace of an agonized expression as if from a large ordeal. Feeling both curious and desperate to help the girl, I pick her up and set her on a small abandoned cot I found in the hut. I look out the window and realize the sun had begun setting, so I quickly left my belongings in the hut with the girl, and set out to get some water and food before it got dark. Walking back to the hut with the supplies, I realized I took longer than I thought, the sun had already gone down, and the air became cold and breezy. I took a step inside the hut and shut the door behind me before taking off my hood, mask, and goggles.
I turned my back to the door and the girl to face a table and place my supplies there, and turned on a candle. I picked up the water and a cloth to clean the girl and her wounds. But, even before I turned around, I realized a light being emitted from behind me. Slowly, I turn around to see the girl floating at least 2 feet above the cot and emanating a soothing blue light, which bathed the rest of the hut. She seemed to be the light source itself. As she floated, her hair was floating around her as if being softly blown by a source of air, a small breeze. I stood there in the moments and realized that her wounds began to heal, the dirt started to disappear, her hair became smoother, and her small tattered dress became like new again. A few minutes passed and the light surrounding her body began fading out as she started to float back down to the cot. In a confused daze, I grabbed a chair to sit next to the girl, hoping to get a grasp on what even happened.
Suddenly, her breathing became stable, and slowly I saw her eyelids flutter open, then stare at me with bright big baby blue eyes. She stared at me for a while before sitting up on the cot and flashing a large smile at me. Still in shock, I sit there in silence, staring at her carefully. After what seemed like forever, she finally opened her mouth and asked "Where am I?" In a legible sentence in which I did not expect from a girl who looked to be no more than 3 years old. I reply back in a soft serious voice and say "You're in the Forest Wasteland of Yaneb....How did you get here?" Curiously enough, she looks at me with a shocked expression then quickly softens, calmly she responds, "I don't know...I don't really remember much of anything." Upon hearing this response, I notice a faint sadness in her eyes that gives me a heart sinking feeling.
Not knowing why, I promise myself to protect this girl, no matter what the cost. That night, she eats and drinks the food I provided for her, while I worked on her cloak, mask, and goggles. Between bites of food she asked what I'm doing and I respectively answer. Most of the items I'm using are old rags I used to wear before I got a new cloak and face protection. They were meant for her to use in the meantime before we headed out to the city in the morning. Once it started to get late, I called it a night and told her to go to bed. She slept on the cot and I slept on the floor right next to it, although as I lay on the floor I could feel her stare bear into my back. But before I could even wonder the reason, I fell sound asleep.
As the sun rose, I washed up with a damp cloth soaked in some extra water I had, put on my cloak and face protection and did the same for the girl. I threw the burlap sack over my shoulder and stepped out the door with the girl trailing behind me. The closer we got to the city, the more nervous the girl seemed to become, and as soon we set foot in the city, she took hold of my hand and held it tightly, instinctively I squeezed it back. I walked through the city with her clinging to my leg as I searched for a gear shop. We came across one that also provides food and had a restaurant/bar. Once we entered, people stared us down with suspicious and hostile eyes. This world has always been on edge and harsh, no matter where you went or who you were.
I walked up to the counter and placed an order for food and gear for the girl and for myself as well, mine was getting old anyways. Orders for equipment usually took from half an hour to an hour so we decided to have breakfast at the restaurant/bar inside the shop. We sat down and quietly ate our bread, while sensing the stares that were looking in our direction. After we finished our food, we went back to the counter to pick up our stuff and head on our way. There was a commotion in front of the store itself, so I chose to go the back way to avoid any danger. I walked past the other patrons avoiding any eye contact and hiding my face in my hood. Quickly, we walked down the stairs, towards the dark narrow corridor that led to the back entrance.
Before we are able to reach for the door, we were confronted by four men who seemed to be suspicious of us. They approached us and asked "Where ya from, buddy? What's yer business in this town?" I respond shortly after by saying "We're just passing through. Came here to get supplies." The leader of the group slowly approached me and eyed me down, so I stared back at him. Soon after he says "I don't feel right about ya. Ye got an edge. Ye better not be tryin te pick a fight with me, boy." His face became strewn with rage as he grabbed a hand full of my shirt and pulled me closer. The girl was clinging onto my pants tighter but was thrown back when the man pushed me to the wall and swung his arm back in preparation for a punch. But before he could even throw a punch or I, a counter attack, the girl screamed "NO!" And a huge blinding flash radiated across the corridor, pushing the men back a few feet.
When I opened my eyes, the girl was emanating a soft blue light, just like that night I found her. At first the men were shocked, then one of the men screamed, "SHES A PROPHET! GET HER!!!" In the midst of the confusion, anger, and shock, I picked up the girl with my left arm and grabbed the straps of my burlap sack with my right hand and started running. The men soon began scrambling up after me. I ran through the town, weaving past the people and choosing less populated areas like alleys. After gaining a large distance on the men, I slowed my pace down to a brisk walk.
Finally we reached the other end of the town, the border that led back into the towering dunes of sand. I put the girl down, her golden hair hidden behind her cloaks hood, and frightened confused crystal blue eyes staring back at me behind the lens of the goggles. I looked back at her with my brown eyes and took hold of her hand. We looked onward onto the expanding sea of red orange sand, the wind whipping it around in swirls of dirt.
We stood there for a while, looking, thinking; dazed and confused, with a glimmer of hope. This is the world that lies ahead of us...But for how long can we walk without finding an answer to all this mystery...Who is this girl really? What did the men mean when they called her a prophet? Why did they chase after us? Could she be a catalyst that could be our savior of this broken world....?