When The Shadow Falls

TITLE: When The Shadow Falls
AUTHOR: Pedellea
E-MAIL: pedellea@hotmail.com
DATE: April 16, 2001
SUMMARY: When a military experiment goes awry, thoughts start to wander...
AUTHOR'S NOTES: When an English assignment actually sounds half decent... hehehe... note the extensive use of literary devices in hopes of achieving a good mark! Hope you enjoy. :o)

When The Shadow Falls
By Pedellea

Parker felt all the cosmos swirling down and around him. The basic necessities he had been equipped with were almost used up. The days passed by as slowly as a drifting feather, and like a feather in a sudden gust of wind, he had no idea where chance would now take him, if anywhere at all.

The mission seemed simple enough. He had seen the poster that requested for recruits for this desert operation, and it also gave a brief description of it. The bold words at the bottom screamed out to him. "Dare to stretch your possibilities. Sign up now!" Parker readily did so as soon as he finished reading. It was a military experiment to see how long humans can survive in a desert. He figured that surviving in one could not have been anymore difficult than surviving without a refrigerator or an air conditioner. These things are not basic needs that are required for someone to live. Army training had taught him not to question the specifics of the operation. He had once asked a commander why they were doing a certain drill and he was rewarded with a stare as heartless as Adolf Hitler and conveyed that he had no right to ask any questions whatsoever. To Parker, questioning authority was questioning God.

The days following his sign up were filled with anticipation and the dread of downright disappointment. After a million years, the results of the final selection of the team came in and he jumped a mile high when he found out his fate. He had made it into the mission! Training was a breath to him; he could not wait to live out the actual mission. At the debriefing before the mission started, everyone on the team was given an emergency kit filled with the following items: a few bottles of water, food that required no preparation, and several flares. The team had been taught methods of finding food and water in a desert, and they were not to use the items in the kit unless when truly necessary. Other supplies had been given to them as well, and with the training Parker had received, he felt he was ready to conquer the desert.

Who would have counted on the explosions of the two vehicles that had overheated during the ride into the desert? Only two people initially survived the tragic accident - Parker and another man - but the other man's injuries were much too serious for him to survive an indefinite period of time in a desert, and he died the day after the mishap, leaving Parker alone and stranded in a harsh and unforgiving place. Fortunately, Parker had only suffered minor cuts on his arm and cheek, and he managed to salvage several items he needed to survive. On the other hand, the radio, his sole link to the outside world, had been destroyed in the catastrophe, leaving him all the more deserted.

At first, he was convinced that someone would come to his aid, but he still conserved his supplies just in case. After a week of wandering in the lonely desert, however, his hopes withered and his despair grew. Even the sun laughed at his misery by pressing down hard on him during the day. He began to wonder if his luck in survival was luck at all. Were the dead the truly fortunate ones? Was there any reason for him to live on?

His purpose gone, his strength drained, his companions dead, there seemed to be nothing for him to do but wait for his turn to die. Lying down on the hot desert sand and closing his eyes, he crushed the glass covering of his watch and filled the interior with sand. He had obliterated the only shred of connection he had with the civilized world. Half conscious, he felt the heat of the sun leave him. A shadow, perhaps? Alas, exhaustion overtook his curiosity, and he let himself slip into the welcoming darkness.

So... the ending is up to you to decide! Ain't that a joy? I actually wanted to expand this story a bit into a more complex plot, but then I had page restraints for the assignment. Oh well... the plot I had in mind would have really screwed me up anyways. ;o)

Feedback is most welcome. Please send it to pedellea@hotmail.com. Thanks a bunch!