Desert Mistakes (part two to Ash Called Oscar, Lina, Beba Maria)

Submitted into Contest #54 in response to: Write a story about someone looking to make amends for a mistake.... view prompt

25 comments

Drama Adventure

The sun was back with a vendetta, only it held rays like fire over the earth instead of a machete. It wore a mask of radiating, pulsating heat and

Beba Maria felt like she was going to pass out. 

The day had been long, the road hard, and the undertaking of their task was proving more difficult than they had expected. They’d missed the boat because

Oscar had fallen down, scraped a knee, chipped a tooth, cried for ages. 

There was now a stretch of desert between them and the spaceships that would shoot them towards a literal new beginning on an entirely different planet so

Lina was holding Oscar and Beba Maria by the clammy hands and pulling them along with her as far as she could go. She had to keep going. They all did. It was the same with the boat, if they missed this ship to the stars, they would have to go back home. Lina didn’t think she had it in her heart to turn around now, but every time she snuck a glance at Oscar or Beba Maria, she could easily see that 

Oscar was still in pain because of his teeth and Beba Maria was near the melting point for human flesh. What was it, anyway? She knew the temperature for paper. She knew it for steel and other metals but the fact that human flesh could burn, just fry right off your bones, was horrible to her. She didn’t want to think of it, didn’t want to have a reason to think of it, but the reason was staring down at her from the sky as it broiled her alive in the hot sauce pan of the desert. The reason, Lina thought, was no longer a benevolent ruler who gave the lands warmth and safety. Instead, it was a villainous royal, with eyes of hot coal, feet and hands of electrifying fire. And was Lina scared of the sun? 

Yes, but she was also scared of the things that never changed under the sun. 

Robbers.

Kidnappers.

People who were less fortunate than she. 

Why were they dangerous?

Well, they were more dangerous than the wild animals. 

Wild animals didn’t look up at you with cracked hands, broken limbs, split lips, and begging, pleading-with-you-for-mercy eyes. Wild animals never asked for your last piece of bread. They never broke your heart into a million pieces when after all you gave up to help them, they still curled up and died like roly poly bugs. Yeah, Lina thought, the people who were more unlucky in this desert would bring her down and then Oscar would fall, Beba Maria would fall. It was Lina’s job to keep them going. She was the oldest. She had the plans. 

Lina,” Beba Maria suddenly dropped to her knees in the sand, “Lina.” 

“Que? What?” Lina dropped beside her, cursing everything for stopping their march towards the starport. “Es el calor? Is it the heat? Tu cabeza? Your head? Que pasa?” 

“Mi cabeza, Lina. My head is killing me. I need to rest, please.”

Lina shook her head. “No.” She pulled the younger girl up by the arm. “We can’t rest.” She threw her friend a soft smile. “Never quit, never surrender.”

Oscar bounced on his heels, further tearing the soles of his shoes. “And when we get to the spaceship, there will be seats made of gold, Lina. Did you know? Did you know the seats are all made of gold?” 

Lina did know. She was the one who told Oscar that in the first place. She smiled at her brother. “Yes, they are gold. And do you know what else?” 

Oscar asked, “What? What?” 

Beba Maria mouthed, “What? Que?” 

Lina was glad they were moving again. If she told them stories, maybe the walk wouldn’t seem so hot. Maybe if she talked of gold on spaceships instead of murderous sun villains, they wouldn’t catch on fire. They wouldn’t have to be

Ash called Oscar.

Ash called Lina.

Ash called Beba Maria. 

“On the spaceship, they have fountains that splash chocolate.” 

Their smiles grew, and she continued. 

“On the spaceship, they have beds made from the geese that live in the fluffiest clouds.” 

Beba Maria gasped to think of such a high delight and Oscar beamed, happy to hear his sister chatting like she used to. “Que mas, Lina? What else?” 

“Well, there is a never ending supply of toilet paper. There are parties that last until midnight every day. There are,” she paused for effect, “Dancing girls and singing boys that twirl you away and away until you forget all about your problems. They twirl you right into the stars outside your windows.” 

“We can see the stars?” Beba Maria loved the stars. 

“Yes, all of them. And you can name them whatever you would like.” 

Beba Maria liked the sound of that a lot. “I will name one after mami, one after papi, one after mis hermanitos, and the others will be after us.” 

“What do you mean?” Lina stepped over a dead rattlesnake. 

“I mean there will be stars with our names.”

Oh so she meant 

Stars called Oscar.

Stars called Lina.

Stars called Beba Maria. 

“Yes,” Beba Maria said, “Because once we’re out of the desert and on the spaceships, no one will be able to hold us here. No one can touch the stars.” 

No, thought Lina, but they can see us waving down at them. 

Oscar’s stomach was growling. He tugged the shirt of his sister. “Tengo hambre, I’m hungry. Where’s our food?” 

They couldn’t eat yet, though. There was still such a large expanse of sand before them. Lina had to be wise with her food rationing. She was the oldest. She had the plan. She also had the bread, though, and that was what Oscar wanted. He began to cry again.

Lina resisted his soft brown eyes. 

She didn’t look at his trembling lip or chipped tooth. 

She ignored his quiet sniffling, running nose, sad shuffling feet. 

And they marched on, deeper and deeper into a jungle with no trees. 

This was Lina’s fault. She should have waited until Oscar and Beba Maria were older to make this journey. The thing was, however much of a mistake this was, she wasn’t sure she would have made it to be much older if she had stayed where she was. So it was her mistake, and they could all die, but there was no erasing what had already been etched in the stone of time. Yes, Lina said to herself, time is not sand. You cannot run your feet over clocks to make them turn back to yesterday. Time is stones, or mountains, even. 

Time doesn’t move for anybody. 

Luckily for Lina, she was no longer a body. 

She was a star. 

August 11, 2020 13:34

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25 comments

Scout Tahoe
16:41 Aug 12, 2020

Wow. This is the first story I've read of yours and I'm blown away. I love how you formatted it, with your sentences trailing off just to be picked back up on the line below. Also, I appreciate how you added some Spanish into the story. Most characters on Reedsy are unilingual (and even I'm guilty of that), but you reminded people that not everyone speaks English. Amazing story!

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Amogh Kasat
10:00 Aug 15, 2020

It's a wonderful story! P.S read my both stories What is a Second Chance The Secret Mission Meeting

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Pragya Rathore
13:11 Aug 13, 2020

I really liked this one! I love your writing style, Rhondalise. The last line was beautiful. The similes were lovely. I really liked how you drew the reader in right from the start. Great! Do you mind checking out my recent stories if you're not too busy? Thanks! Also, I wanted to know: who was the wildly creative person who gave you such a unique name?

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Orenda .
18:46 Aug 11, 2020

*drops her utensils so that she can silently read her master's story* Waaaa!!!!! We have yet another great series from the one and only - Qween Rhonda😍😘 I can't even think of a feedback let alone some constructive criticism🤣 I mean, who am 'I'? Because "great story" or "wow awesome" just doesn't do any justice to it but anyway, it's marvelous👌👌

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Sam S.
15:04 Aug 27, 2020

Great story Rhondalise!!

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Tariq Saeed
14:33 Aug 19, 2020

Mitza,keep it up.

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B. W.
14:37 Aug 18, 2020

i decided to go and look at some of your stories and i think its really good, imma give it a 10/10 i always do

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Jubilee Forbess
14:39 Aug 18, 2020

Thank you, B.W! I will try to comment on your Stories later this week too.

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B. W.
15:02 Aug 18, 2020

no problem and thank you im a bit excited to see what ya gotta say for them

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Sia S
03:40 Aug 18, 2020

Mesmerizing!!! I loved the beginning it instantly drew me to read. Ps. I saw your profile pic, do you like art, like sketching? Pps. How's your shoulder 😬 get well soon.

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Sia S
04:20 Aug 18, 2020

Btw Qween Rhonda do you read/watch ASOUE (A Series Of Unfortunate Events)

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Jubilee Forbess
14:29 Aug 18, 2020

I love art, most of it isn't sketching though. I do a lot of paper work and marker art, actually. Thank you for the good wishes to my shoulder, it's not dislocated after all, just torn a muscle. And last but not least, YES, I ABSOLUTELY do watch and read and live ASQUE. :)

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Sia S
14:32 Aug 18, 2020

Same hereeee!!!

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Sia S
14:33 Aug 18, 2020

I kinda felt sad when Olaf died. But Olivia, Larry and Jauques death was the most saddest ones😭😭

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Jubilee Forbess
14:35 Aug 18, 2020

I laughed and laughed when Olaf died because I was like, "Dude! Finally!" But yeah, Lemony Snicket, man, one of the most under appreciated authors out there. His work is pretty amazing.

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Yolanda Wu
01:14 Aug 16, 2020

Wow, I loved this story just as much as I loved part one. The relationship between the characters was wonderful to read about. The writing and descriptions were so beautiful. Amazing work!

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Rebecca Lee
19:36 Aug 15, 2020

What can be said that has not already been said? You have a tremendously unique style and you hold your own. I liked it. If you have time, would you check out some of my stories, like The Mistake, Big Daddy Comes Back, The Mistake, Lighting a Match, and others? I would love your feedback! Thank you.

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Kendall Defoe
04:18 Aug 15, 2020

A rather beautiful tale... I need to read more!

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Kristin Neubauer
01:05 Aug 15, 2020

Fantastic - as everyone else says, a beautiful last line. And, as someone else said, the structure of one line trailing off and starting on the next line did something really amazing for the story. I can't put my finger on what - it felt like poetry, gave it a kind of rhythm and lyricism. I loved it.

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Jubilee Forbess
01:34 Aug 15, 2020

Thank you so much for commenting; I'm looking forward to reading your stories for the prompts this week!

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Deborah Angevin
11:35 Aug 14, 2020

I read the previous story so I was intrigued to read more. And the ending... wow! P.S: would you mind checking my recent story out, "Grey Clouds"? Thank you :D

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Unknown User
13:45 Aug 14, 2020

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