The Unforgiving Dessert
by Haley I., Age 14 , Grade 8, New Kent Middle School, New Kent, VIRGINIA USA
Teacher: Mrs. Hodges
The flaming orb of the sun loomed ominously overhead, tracking my every move. It cackled mockingly, dangling in the sky, scorching every piece of skin not covered by my black cloak. I glanced down at my once gallant white horse, who now had dust packed into her coat and puffing out of her nostrils with each sputtering heave. Her poised, purposeful strides had been reduced to a sulking drag. I reached into the canvas bag slung over her back and found my canteen. After thumping the sides of the cheap metal tin and the last few drops of water dripped onto my tongue, I realized that we had been riding through this wasteland for nearly the entire day with no sign of human settlement.
I wiped the sweat from my stinging eyes and gazed at my surroundings. The scene remained consistent since we had first entered the desert early this morning. A decade of no rain hardened the sandy ground below, with deep cracks resembling lightening spanning into the horizon, as if the land was dropped and shattered. The sky overhead was nothing but a dead, endless mass of intense blue. No clouds dotted or swirled its canvas. Only open space existed for miles, but I had never felt so trapped.