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The Arora Saga: White River Calling

against the tree. The rough bark scratched and poked his bare skin. He took a deep breath, and
then lifted his head to observe his surroundings.
The dry and barren earth cracked in places as if something had sucked all the water from
the soil. Once grass covered the sand, but a few lone roots with remnants of dry grass desperately
clinging on, the only thing left. To his left, the charred remains of trees scattered across the
landscape, once the victim of a severe fire. As he panned his vision, more dead trees, some
escaped the carnage of the fire, spread amongst the dry dirt and rocks, as far as his eyes could
see. The breeze in his face carried the smell of dusty stale sand.
Through the quiet of his surrounding, his own breathing sounded out in the stillness. If it
wasn’t for the whistling sound of the wind, and his own breath, he might have thought he lost his
hearing. Disturbed by the eerie silence that surrounded him, he cocked his head to the side. He
tried to pick up any sounds, maybe a distant bird or the cry of an animal, but nothing, nothing but
absolute silence. Opening his mouth to speak, only a croak escaped his cracked lips. He tried to
clear his throat, but it felt raw and dry.
Finally a word got out, his voice husky.
“Where am I?”
The fog lifted from his mind and his head stopped spinning, but the pain remained. He
felt stronger, surer on his feet, and slowly pushed away from the tree, testing his legs, ready to
grab a hold of the tree again in case his legs failed him. Although a little shaky, they held his
weight. He gave two steps forward and moved into the bright sunlight. For a moment he had to
shield his eyes, the bright glare hurting them, making him flinch. His eyes took a few moments
to adjust to the light, and then he lowered his hand and looked around him. Nothing! Nothing but
sand, dead trees and a few rocks scattered all over the place.
“How the hell did I get here?” he asked out loud, his voice clearer and stronger.
He shook his head, frowned, with a puzzled look on his face.
“And where is here?”
To his left, a slight rise in the landscape caught his attention. He walked towards it, his
first few steps just stumbles. By the time he reached the rise, he found his footing and felt
strength in his well muscled legs. About halfway up the slope, he slipped. His outstretched arms
broke his fall and he rolled onto his back. Black blotches appeared in front of his eyes. On the
verge of passing out again, he closed his eyes. The heat of the sun stung his tanned face and
naked upper body.
He sat up and stared at the yellow and white sneakers on his feet, although dusty, still
relatively new. Besides the sneakers with no socks, the only other clothing on his body was a
pair of old, faded denim shorts with stringy ends. No shirt. He looked over to where he woke up,
but saw no sign of a shirt or anything else. O nce the blotches cleared, he struggled back to his
feet and made it to the top of the rise. He looked around, but a heat haze shimmering in the
distance, the only thing he saw.
The man ran a hand through his dusty blond hair that fell to his shoulders. Small pebbles
and sand stuck in it. Puzzled, he tried to recall how he got there, but his mind was blank. He had
no access to any of his memories. A sense of panic flooded over him. He realized he had no
recollection what so ever. Not how he got there, what he did there, or …., or who he was. That
scared him more than anything. He touched his head, searching for any possible sign of a wound,
but found none.
“I must’ve banged my head somewhere and that’s why I can’t remember. That would
explain this terrible head ache,” he muttered.