Chapter 44 But You Don’t Die.

The sun was big….

Then the moon was big…

Then the sun was big…

Then the moon was big…

Then the sun was big…

Then the moon was waning…

Then the sun was big…

Then the moon was waning…

Then the sun was big…

Then the moon was waning…

With every drop of sweat that evaporated off of her burning skin, she felt herself descend deeper into dehydration. 

There is nothing in the desert.

No cold wind. No rolling cloud. No blissful shade. No life.

Not until a corpse falls dead in the sand, that’s when the desert reveals its deadly nature.

“Won’t be long now.” Hales croaked to herself, to the desert. To the nothingness.

The last couple weeks were a haze in Hales’ memory. She had traveled west nonstop, evading lines of enemies, search parties and rabid prairie dogs.

At some point in the past few days the grass had turned into sand. She could sense the trackers right on her trail thinking, ‘let her go, the desert will claim her’.

So here she was. The desert preparing to claim her.

It rained the last night before she entered the barren sandscape. Her once full canteens were already empty, mere drops left.

The plan was to go west and then south, around the enemy and back into Garghent.

West through the desert.

“What was I thinking.”

The sun bore down on her mercilessly. Her skin blistered and burnt.

“You are supposed to be my friend,” Hales complained to the great ball of fire.

The heatwaves above the sandy dunes were its response.

Onward her feet shuffled.

She noticed a vulture flying far in the distance. Follow the bird and find water. Simple instructions for her dying body.

It took only moments before the creature was out of sight and Hales second guessed herself as to its location, the heat confusing her water parched mind.

Hales put a hand on her stomach and groaned. It was hurting inexplicably.

“Isn’t this when the random village people find me?” There was little else she could do to stave off despair but ramble to herself as she walked alone.

Hales dropped her weapons and ammunition. They were dead weight at this point. Anything that wasn’t essential she let fall.

“Don’t look back.” She told herself.

Hales glanced back.

Her footprints beyond a few meters were gone, covered by the sand. There would be no trace of her body anywhere. Food for the scavengers.

“I told you not to look back.”

“If you want someone to not do something then don’t tell them not to do that thing!”

A crippling pain made her collapse to the ground. She shouted out.

“What is happening to me?” She didn’t even have spare water to produce tears.

Her stomach was throbbing like sharp needles were stabbing in and out.

The pain made her cry out again.

“Don’t panic.” She consoled herself.

“Probably just hunger or a bad period.” She desperately wished that was all it was. Instinct told her otherwise.

She reached down and her fingers came back bloody.

“Now that I think about it I haven’t had my period for the two months since I left Garghent on this damned mission.”

“It’s just extra bad this time.” She could read the lie in her own words.

Her breathing quickened as she mustered up the courage. There wasn’t time to linger. She had to be moving.

She unzipped her pants and reached inside. The pain was unbearable.

Her hand scooped a pile of sticky and warm blood.

She set her hand on the ground, ignoring the hot sand.

She could see it.

This time her body found a way to produce tears.

In the mass of blood was a tiny sac and the almost imperceptible shape of a baby fetus.

It would have been her daughter or son.

Hales began hyperventilating and her hand shook.

Even as she unconsciously licked the tears spilling down her cheek, every thought of pain and thirst vanished if but for an instant.

Her baby…

All gone.

She stared for minutes, unmoving and gripped by unreality.

Reluctantly she pushed her hand into the ground.

She said goodbye and buried her baby in the sand. She could not name her baby for there are no names in the desert. Just a savage oneness.

Nowhere in her life had she ever been to a place so powerful as the desert.

Not even in the mountains.

She ached and the soreness was different from any she had experienced before. Both on a mental and physical level.

Despite this, in the most macabre and guilty way, she felt better.

Her body no longer had to sustain two lives.

Sore and beat, Hales forged ahead nonetheless.

Night fell and without moisture to hold the day’s heat, the temperature dropped considerably.

She let the last few drops of her water trickle onto her cracked lips.

Hales unrolled her sleeping mat on the ground and let her thoughts swarm her mind freely.

She woke the next morning when the first sliver of light reached her eyes.

Hales felt at peace. No longer fearing the desert as she had before.

“That explains my mood swings from earlier and the sickness after I crashed landed. It just happened at the same time as my concussion.” She had a fresh mind this day, a new take on life for that matter.

“My baby gave me the chance to survive.” Hales choked with emotion.

She was grief stricken and heartbroken but the melancholic calm that encompassed her was absolute.

She moved with more of a purpose. Thirst suddenly felt like a trivial thing.

As in meditation, the legs are supposed to fall asleep which causes great discomfort. But if one is able to abandon the sense of self and worry over the pain of blood settling, then the deepest states of meditation can initiate.

States which can unlock the Aspect. States which can allow for a human to endure astonishing time periods without sustenance. The utter control of one’s own energy being enough to maintain survivable homeostasis for days.

Hales reached a state like that as she walked in the desert.

She was no longer Hales, she was the desert, the sky and the sun.

The self is an illusion. 

Hales was in awe of the sensation, the vastness of her body which felt close to infinite.

She had only reached this deeply a meditative state when she awakened her Aspect.

It had been an experience incomparable to anything real. This time was no different.

In her heightened state, she felt a pull of some sort. A flux of energy coming from a specific direction and a pool of life force so strong she swore she could taste it.

She heard a theory that explained the phenomenon, something she had remained skeptical of. The idea was that all things produce electromagnetic fields and radiation. In short, energy, with a variety of types in the form of wavelengths vibrating at precise frequencies.

Whether it’s because of a certain chemical, organ, or receptor in the body, a human is able to perceive these energy wavelengths to some degree. Something almost always attributed to meditative or drug induced states. Likely some brain chemical needs to be stimulated or all other senses need to be muted. Either way, the theory claims it is possible for humans to sense the electrical magnetism in water far away, feel the thoughts, which are also electrical, of those around them and even perceive changes in the weather before they happen. 

Hales believed it now, now that she experienced it firsthand.

She turned north.

Even with her body in a near catatonic meditative state, it weakened still. One day passed and then another.

She felt so close. But her body was ready to give up. 

Her only chance, while she was still conscious.

“Solar.” The word creaked out. She hadn’t said anything in the last two days.

Her eyes became galaxies.  

The last of her strength was spent creating dozens of planets, half a hundred in total. They were each as big as her head. Their total weight would be sufficient.

Raising her hands over her head, she began to spin all fifty of the planets at once. They rotated fast enough to be a blur.

She took a deep breath. Felt the energy flow from her feet to her fingertips.

She exhaled as she shouted, launching her armada forward as powerfully as she could. She staggered and passed out.

They zoomed ahead and with their gravity attached to her chest, the now comatose Hales was dragged along. She had set it in a way to ensure she would remain upright as she was pulled by the combined force of fifty miniature worlds while her body went limp.

Her feet dragged along the sand as she dreamt of being a bird flying in paradise…


Water splashed on her face and Hales gasped awake. Standing above her was a curious figure with a crane’s beak and a wispy white beard.

“Well that’s something you don’t see everyday.” The old man-bird remarked, starting a curious squawking laughter.

She decided starvation, dehydration and heatstroke made her hallucinate.

The water tasted like honey though.


  1. Just a thought, but couldn’t Hales have used a planet to shield her from the sun? Also, is there not a way to create a planet with water on it? Thanks for the chapter!


    1. Yes that is true, I did go through both of those possible solutions while drafting this chapter and came to the conclusion that they would be less effective than it seems at first.

      The likelihood that a planet she drinks from has clean, freshwater consumable by humans is not only rare but would be dangerous to test. Drinking saltwater or water contaminated with some other toxin is too risky.

      Using planets as shade poses the issue of stamina. If she were to try to maintain the handle of a planet for hours at a time, holding it in front of her face, her exhaustion would only be exacerbated. Having a planet rotate around her would give her a few moments of shade every orbit and probably the constant light and shade would cause more desert hypnosis and hallucinations.

      Those were at least some of the reasons from my side of the process, though I know its debatable!
      Thanks for reading and commenting!


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