• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 10


You’ve been outside for a long time, outside in the harsh hot light where there is no shelter, where you are trying not to listen to the voice that says you’re about to die of thirst, and thermic fever.

You’ve seen mirages: an oasis, palm trees, camels, even humans. But all have dissolved.

Thirst wracks your body, vertigo confuses you. You don’t know where you are and you’re beginning not to care.

And then I let you hear it.

Water. Dripping.

You close your eyes and let your ears do the work. You stumble and fall but always I guide you, persuade you, give you the strength to keep moving. You stretch out your hands and tip your head back. You walk as if sleepwalking.

Your hands hit something hard. Wood, you think, and you’re right.

You’re at my front door.

You look through the narrow opening. You feel cool air on your face. You cry out. You are saved. You walk through the opening, sideways. You stumble and fall onto the earth. You lean against the ribs of my shutters. Your hands and the scraggy cheeks of your bottom tell you that the earth is damp. You open your eyes. You stare. You cry out, again. You struggle to your feet.

You’ve seen me. The Water Spirit. I know, not a beauty, not at all. Never have been. Never will be.



But if you give me what I want – I demonstrate – at the moment I want it – which is as fluid as the cool sweet pool behind me – I’ll sleep soundly while you drink your fill, fill your gourds and leave.

But will you? That is the question.