Orange, to blue, to black

Julie Traynor

Prose

Our Lady’s School Terenure,

Dublin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The desert is vast and wide. It feels as if the entire world is orange. I have been journeying
through this orange wasteland for what feels like days. I haven’t slept, eaten, or even felt a
drop of water on my tongue since this mission began. My throat is almost as dry as the land
around me, and my lungs burn from inhaling the scalding air. My eyes are being assaulted by
fine pieces of sand. The only sensation I feel is burning: burning in my heart, my head, my
eyes and my feet. With each step I can feel another layer of skin from the bottom of my
uncovered feet coming off thanks to the lava beneath me. However, I continue to force one
foot in front of the other.

The worst feeling of all is the thirst. The thirst stabs my throat and blurs my vision. The thirst
makes me sorrowful for any time when I may have wasted such a precious thing as water.
Around me, small tornadoes of sand spin and fly in all directions. It takes all of the will I
have left to push through this blanket of sand. There is not another living thing in sight.
Nothing but the deadly sand, the pain and I, exist.

Suddenly, I spot a figure slithering towards me. I stop in my tracks and rub sand from my
eyes with the back of my hand. Shielding my eyes from the scorching sand and squinting, I
see a snake with bright green and blue skin in a checker pattern. The snake is heading
towards me. As it comes closer, more details of its face come into focus. It has enormous red
eyes that take up a large portion of its face. The rest of its face is taken up by a wide, ear-to-

ear smile. I strain my brain trying to recall which category this snake would fall into: safe, or
hazardous. I don’t think they ever mentioned a snake in training, with blue and green skin and
large red eyes. However, something about its wide smile sends a shiver down my spine.

As it nears, my heartbeat quickens. I must run; I must escape. Panic fills my mind. Before I
can make a move, five more snakes appear out of thin air, surrounding me on all sides. Each
snake has the exact same large, red eyes and horrible smile. In each direction I look, there is
an ever-nearing, wide-smiled reptile.

The little breath I have is taken from me. I look around desperately for an escape. The strange
snakes enclose around me. Their only focus is me, and they are determined and hungry. I
close my eyes and hold my breath, waiting to feel their fangs plunging into my body.

I stand there, paralysed with fear for a few seconds. However, I do not feel the sharp
sensation of teeth in my calf. I shoot open my eyes and the snakes have vanished. I am
confused as to how they disappeared without a trace, but my brain feels heavy and I don’t
ponder it for long. My heart feels weaker than ever, after that encounter. If only I could find
some water.

After another hour and a half of walking in the endless orange sand, I see something I was
beginning to believe I never would. A mile in front of me, I see a turquoise, glistening lake.
My arms and legs are close to numb from their constant exertion, but I find myself picking up
the pace to reach the shimmering water. I ignore the bare skin exposed on my feet, and the
sand in my lungs, and I desperately run towards the lake. I finally reach it and collapse onto
the ground.

Without stopping to think, I plunge my whole head into the deep water. My head bangs hard
into sand. Crying out in confusion, I grab my head with my hands and slowly raise it.
Panicking, I swing at the water, desperately hoping to feel its cool touch. Instead, I feel
nothing. I see the water, but when I go to touch it, I feel no difference to the scorching air.

Any sliver of hope disappears as I realise he truth: there is no lake. I can see it, but it is not
really there. Suddenly, I understand why the snakes vanished so easily. Both the snakes and
the lake were a sad figment of my imagination. I am too exhausted to worry about my mind
playing these tricks on me. My body finally gives way, and with my final breath, the orange
world around me turns black.

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