The Precious Water of Desert Tears

Submitted into Contest #160 in response to: Write about a character whose job is to bring water to people.... view prompt


Fantasy Friendship Inspirational

Eau had been trailing the woman through the desert for six hours now. She was exquisitely sensitive to her weariness and great thirst yet felt helpless to assist her. She stopped when she stopped, stumbled when she did, lay down beside her when her legs gave way and she couldn’t walk any more. Eau had tried hunkering down in the dry, baked river beds hoping she would see the muddy, life giving puddles this formed. Eau had floated above her and opened her pores but the woman staggered on, unable to see or feel the cool, misty drops of life giving rain.

  Eau had even pressed her face against the woman’s sunburnt lips in a desperate, muggy kiss trying to gain her attention and thus alleviate her distress. Alas, the Woman couldn’t feel or see Eau because she didn’t believe in such things as Devas and Nature Spirits. The rigidity of belief was debilitating yet, when working in tandem with an open, inquiring mind was a necessary precursor to revelations of the profound and mystical, acting as a basis for the untangling of obsolete thinking and the exciting movement forward into the exploration of what miraculous things were possible.

  For eons it had been Eau’s vocation to provide The Desert People with water and tend to the life which flourished within oasis villages from this spare but adequate provision. The Desert People had deep respect and kinship with the arid plains and its array of Elemental Stewards charged with its care. This tribe, in fact, revered Eau and held Full Moon and Solstice parties in lusty celebration of Her. Importantly, this acknowledgement of Eau enabled them to see and interact with Her and so benefit from her bountiful assistance. 

  When the Desert people were rounded up and transported to reservations on the cities hinterland, Eau grieved for a long, long time. She loved these kind, gentle Souls and missed the symbiotic relationship which they had long shared. With Her Beloved Tribe gone, Eau threw Herself down in the river bed and became stagnant with longing and lament. She wished for the summer heat to lift Her up into the Great Mountain Cloud where She could rest and replenish in the company of the rugged peak and it’s sparse yet hardy layer of tree and vegetation.

  Then She saw the woman from a great, shimmering distance as she stumbled along wilting under the heat and dry, Sirocco wind. Eau felt a queasy mixture of compassion and elation as she flew down in answer to her dire need. Used to The Desert People and their grateful consumption of Her offerings, Eau was shocked to discover the woman was blind to Her and so was unable to receive the blessings of Her succulent flesh.

  So on they went, the woman slowing to a heartbreaking wobble as Eau walked beside her, whispering words of encouragement into her ear as She evaporated with worry and despair. It wouldn’t be long, thought Eau, before she slumped to the ground bristling with spinifex and cacti and drift off into the grim torpor preceding death. 

  Eau had seen others lured into the prodigious, terrible beauty of it, laying down under the blinding sun and quickly desiccating into a terminal slumber. These had been old, often dying members of The Desert Tribe who, following an ancient tradition walked into the vast, sandy plain to die and thus relieve their kin of the burden of looking after them as they grew helpless with the onset of age and terminal disease.

  Such was the Great and Humbling Spirit de Corps of The Desert People.  

  It was then Eau remembered the grove of trees and the fertile oasis basin which, when Gifted with Rain, grew large and remained intact longer than most bodies of water within the area. The woman believed in Trees and Rain and would be able to partake of their Blessings. Eau kissed the woman for luck, then flew to where the basin was located about a kilometre to the east. 

  When Eau arrived She turned to the west, expanding Her Being into a rippling waterfall of receptivity. She trembled as the eclectic vibrations carried by the zephyr caressed her, revealing as it did so information regarding the woman's history and current state of mind. Eau sensed the woman believed in Light-The Light of Hope, Joy, Love and Nature-so She lay Herself down in the dry basin and relaxed under the sun’s blistering gaze, willing its reflection on Her body to summon her to the Oasis and its Life giving sustenance and shade.

  The woman-her name was Delphina which is Greek for Dolphin-was svelte, blonde and fit as a marlin. She was kind, sensitive and thrived in her previous role as a personal assistant to a well off, autistic man who grew to Love Her but had to let her go due to reasons ‘personal to the parties concerned.’

  Delphina was staying at her friend Zaltana’s house located in the small, quaint town squatting at a hillock's feet, hoping to find consolation from the twin trials of a recent divorce and the above mentioned, job loss. She’d gotten wilfully drunk the previous night and decided upon waking, with Zaltana already left for work, to take a pre-breakfast stroll into the desert and, like a wannabe Jesus, find some answers in the stark, unflinching solitude it afforded.

  And so here she was having wandered too far: disorientated and alone, hung over, thirsty and squinting into a paralysing sun and with no moisture to spare, precious tears streaming down her scarlet, peeling face. She didn’t want to die in such a dumb, miserable way. Zaltana, of course, would raise the alarm but she wouldn't be home until six in the evening and Delphina doubted she could survive all those terrible hours in fifty degree temperatures without shade or water. She’d often entertained Zaltana-a Native American name meaning ’High Mountain’-with humorous accounts of her eventual death from a heart attack, aged eighty nine, whilst getting her hair baked to a bouffant under a huge, turbo-powered dryer.

  It occurred to her now that this wasn’t far removed from that scenario and if she had the strength to cry, it would have poured down in torrential spasms, the replenished earth yielding up the small, prickly blooms of a short, yet colourful life.

  However, the few salutary drops that trickled down her face and hissed off the burning sand were sufficient gifts to unlock a door long closed; a door of subtle perception which now hung wide open revealing strange, phantasmal things she previously thought improbable or even impossible.

  She may not have believed in Ghosts, Goblins, Devas or Fairies; but she believed in Life-My God How She Yearned To Live! She was still so young with huge reserves of Joie de Vivre which she wanted to expend in Celebration of Life's Thrilling Pagent: to eat, drink, run and dance, make Love and give Love; to laugh, joke and play, shout and sing like The Radiant Child of Rapturous and Eternal Light She felt Herself to be. 

  It was then a ghostly band of Drum Beating, Chanting Tribespeople emerged out of the shimmering haze and as they danced and sang they took the time to halt, stand still and point en masse to where, in the walkable distance a Bright, Oasis Light flared upon the eastern horizon.

Delphina rubbed her puffy eyes as everything was frozen into a breathless, ethereal tableau. Mirage or not it came with a cool, hopeful wind and was enough to make Delphina smile, wipe the Precious Water from her eyes before taking tiny, determined steps towards where Eau waited for her, Sparkling and Radiant under a Life Giving Sun. 

August 26, 2022 11:27

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


S. E. Mary
19:35 Aug 29, 2022

I love that you named the character Eau because it stands for water. Great idea and great work!


08:57 Aug 30, 2022

Thanks S.E. Mary. Yes, googled the French word for water and, as you rightly pointed out, it was Eau which I think is pronounced 'O'. Cheers!


S. E. Mary
18:25 Aug 30, 2022

How neat! I love that it is pronounced O because my narrator's name in my story was O.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.