Ray flopped down on the sand, raising his hand to shield himself from the scorching sun. His lips were cracked, eyes bloodshot. He must be so thirsty by now he could drink an ocean. Well there is an ocean of sand at his disposal, too bad he can’t drink it.
“Already?” I said with a grin. “Sooner than the last time I bet.”
“Thanks for the motivation Lee, what would I ever do without you.” Ray coughed his response.
“Time to see how much water you drank.” I said looking at the tanks DoDo was carrying. We were trying to figure out who was drinking more water per kilometer. He drank a little water every five minutes or so, I drank until I was about to burst. I had done that thrice.
“DoDo halt! Get back.” DoDo was a sentry, not fully functional but it got the job done. He could reverse reduce and reproduce. Meaning he could create water for us anywhere in the dessert. “How much is left DoDo? And how much did each of us drink?”
“Thirty seven percent remaining. Of which Leena consumed twenty eight percent and Ray consumed thirty five percent.” DoDo said.
“Yeah but there are a few factors at play here, our gender, our body fat percentage, endurance, weight?”
“Shut up! Eat something. We rest for a while. Only way to find out is by trial and error so when we start travelling again you drink like a horse. Sparrow technique is clearly not working. Seven percent is huge.” I said.
After we ate we just sat there. Breathing in breathing out. Sand as far as the eye could see. People had tried before us, searching for a fertile land and there has to be something left, there has to be an end to this sand, and I mean to find it or die trying.
“Its almost gone. The food. Soon we will only have water. Its not too late we could still go back.” Ray said. Which wasn’t true, there was no turning back.
“We are three feet from gold and you wanna turn back?”
“You don’t know that!” Ray said. He was tired, so very tired.
“DoDo how long have we travelled.”
“One hundred and thirty one days. One thousand kilometers.” DoDo answered.
“Hah! How many of the people who came before us, you think asked the distance they traveled at exactly 1k mark. Poor suckers. It’s a sign Ray. We are gonna make it. We are gonna find it.” Ray didn’t seem a tiny bit amused. He knew it was calculated.
“Ray, Even if we go back, we don’t have the food to go all the way but we just might have enough to find… something.” I said. And if we didn’t we would fade away in the middle of nowhere. But I didn’t say that, Ray was already discouraged no need to punch him in the gut.
“Alright.” Ray said. Looking down.
“Well what are we waiting for then. Get up. Let’s get going.” I said. He stood up, shook the sand from his trousers. My slider was in need of repair desperately, the wheels were squeaking, the bar was bent because of the heat the nuts and bolts were loose. I rolled myself onto the slider, drew the crowbar, dug it in the sand and pulled the slider forward.
© Ankur Gedam.