By Morgan Hannah, Life & Style Editor
By the time we ceased walking, the boiling sun had faded into the horizon. Long, purple shadows now stretch across the heaping, woozy sand. Sweat has permeated my shirt and hair, curling and matting it to my skull. My water is empty, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about when my next drink would be.
“Where are we?” I ask the creature, watching as it presses its fingers against the side of the mountain we’ve stopped at—the smooth stone is flawless save for some fine cracks running vertically up the length of the mountain. The creature mashes its fingers against the stone, reaching into each crack and grunting with what I assume is dissatisfaction before trying at another crack.
Almost as if it’s looking for something… maybe a way in? The thought surprises me and I find myself helping, pressing my hands against the stone and feeling the coolness of it sooth my skin. I close my eyes for a moment, my chest heaving in relief. A rumbling sensation drums through the stone and into my fingertips, vibrating my eyes open and at attention. I scan my surroundings and find that the creature has wedged itself half in a crack. It grunts and wiggles itself further into the crack, its green bubbly body bulging with the effort, like a soft-baked loaf of bread rising too far out of the pan. More vibrations sound through my fingertips, as if the mountain has a heartbeat. It’s an alien planet, the damn mountain very well could be alive…
The creature then slips entirely into the mountain and with a deep breath, I follow after it. What I can only assume is the entrance to its shelter or home looks rather narrow and bleak. Peering inside, there’s nothing but darkness.
“Okay… I guess I go in?” The words leave my mouth and echo off the rock. Swallowing hard, I force down the nervousness building inside me, “I’ve come this far, I might as well…”