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The Fable of the Sea and the Desert: Part 2 - The Oasis in the Desert

Jennifer Wilber works as an ESL instructor, substitute teacher, and freelance writer. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and English.

Could this oasis really exist in the middle of the desert, or is it only a mirage?

Could this oasis really exist in the middle of the desert, or is it only a mirage?

Far from the sea, a traveler in the middle of the desert found himself lost in an ocean of doubt and betrayal. Where he had thought he had finally found sanctuary, he was being cast aside, destined to continue wandering the scorching desert sands once more.

"I grow weary of you now," the witch informed the traveler, whom she had entranced not so long ago. "And so, I must be leaving now." The witch left the traveler without any further goodbye as she disappeared southward beyond the horizon. The traveler stared on as she drifted further and further from his view as the setting sun of the autumn twilight burned his eyes. Though her spell had left him blind for some time now, her departure did not restore his vision.

Though he should be happy now that he was free, the world became darker for the traveler as dusk fell over the horizon. The witch was no longer visible on the horizon, but still he looked on through his blind eyes, hoping she would change her mind as he recounted the time he had spent with her and how they had first met.

The traveler on his journey through the desert.

The traveler on his journey through the desert.

The traveler had been wandering alone in the desert when the witch had first entered his life. Thirsty and alone after spending such a long time with nothing but the sand and desert scorpions to keep him company, he was so relieved when he happened up on the oasis in the middle of the desert. So desperate for live-sustaining water and companionship, the traveler could not recognize the oasis for the mirage that it was.

Upon entering the oasis - a place of life, filled with trees, water, and promises for a future devoid of the sandy emptiness that was the desert - he had met a girl. Though something about her had seemed amiss, she was the first human being he had met in such a long time. He put his trust in her instantly and fell to her feet as he passed out from heat exhaustion. The girl pulled him to the river that ran through the oasis and nursed him back to health. While regaining consciousness, he had briefly wondered how a river could exist here, in the middle of the desert, but he didn't ponder the thought any further, as he was just relieved to have the life sustaining water.

The traveler looked at the girl as she continued to feed him water from her hand. There was still something that bothered him about her, but those thoughts quickly subsided as he continued to drink from the palm of her hand. She murmured something to him as he closed his eyes and rested his head in her lap. "You will forever love for me blindly, no matter what I do to you. Only your true love can give you the strength to defeat me." The traveler drifted out of consciousness again, barely taking notice of her words. He was just grateful for the girl and all she had done for him. She had saved his life from the ravages of desert life.

The witch wasn't what she had seemed.

The witch wasn't what she had seemed.

When the traveler awoke, the oasis seemed somehow different. It was no longer the place of life and prosperity where he had fallen asleep but was now a place of brimstone and despair that met the sand of the desert with a fiery entrance to the underworld. The girl who had nursed him back to health was standing over him. He now saw her as the witch she was, but he was unable to comprehend what that meant. She looked down at him and gave him a seductive smile. "You will never escape my spell," she said to him. But he did not care, for he knew that he loved her, and she must love him. No matter what she did or said. And so, for some time later, he followed her to the ends of the Earth, over and back again. Obeying, and never questioning her, for she was his greatest friend, and she was the only one in this world who could understand him.

The girl who had nursed the traveler wasn't what she had first appeared to be.

The girl who had nursed the traveler wasn't what she had first appeared to be.

After she left, the traveler continued to watch the spot in the distance where the witch had disappeared until the sun had completely set. Though he could not understand why she had left him, he knew that it must be for the best, and he tried not to resent her for it. He would keep a special place in his heart for the witch, should she ever wish to return to him. After all that they had been through together, surely, she could not forsake him so.

Read Part 3: Where the Desert Meets the Sea

© 2018 Jennifer Wilber

Comments

DW Davis from Eastern NC on December 25, 2018:

It appears we have now met the second main character in this story, the desperate traveler blinded by beauty and attention and then cast aside. Between these first two chapters, you have set up an intriguing background for what comes next.

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