Saturday, September 18, 2010

Richard woke up with the reverberations from the zeppelin crash still moving through his body. His skin was still hot from the fire, some of his hair had been singed. In fact, Richard felt completely scalded, and when he finally opened his eyes he thought for sure the next sight he was due to see was the afterlife. In a way, he was right.

What he saw in front of him was a literal wasteland. It was a desert, to be sure, but not the kind of desert that has had the luxury of existence for thousands of years. There were no cacti, no beautiful hills and no refined sand. There was only dirt, and dirt that looked as though it was man-made, the result of being plowed again and again, overturned and dried up and abandoned. The land stretched on forever like a sort of valley, but it did curve and rise at times, and in places it rose quite severely, Richard noticed. There were still the remnants of strong trees that once grew in probable abundance, just stumps and wisps now, stretching to the sky in desperation. They looked like ghosts; the truest vision of the undead. The valley was full of silence, except for the gasps of Richard as he realized his lungs were full of dirt. He coughed a great amount, while covering his face from the burning sun.

Ah, the sun. It was still there, shrouded in its usual grey haze. It was the same sun, fading and tiny, that Richard had always known, and it was the only way he knew that he must still be on earth. It was then Richard realized: he was in what citizens referred to as The Dust Bowl. A common expression for the plain states from the 1930's, it had become the popular title for the central, government-owned dessert property. Now devoid of any substance once the counties had learned to irrigate its water and oil, it had become the dumping ground of the States and sometimes the world. The Zepps did not even fly over it anymore. Richard gave a start. The Zeppelins did not fly over the Dust Bowl anymore. And he had been left in the Dust Bowl.