It was the wind that woke him. He kept his eyes closed and listened to his cape flapping in the air like a banner to a kingdom long forgotten. If he concentrated, he could trick himself into thinking the swirling, breezy, whooshing sounds were waves crashing upon an endless shoreline, the water almost close enough to dampen his tousled hair. But then the fantasy would collapse, and he begrudgingly sat up and wiped the sleep from his eyes.
Even in the shadow of the wall, the brightness of the desert sand was intolerable. He blew the buildup out of his mask and pulled it over his face after applying the last of the hydrating adhesive gel. He’d run out of filters two days prior. In another week he’d literally be drowning in sand, unprotected, his lungs torn like bedsheets beneath a stabbing victim, and just as bloodied. It wouldn’t be quick, but it’s all that lay ahead of him. Unless…
Unless he could get around this wall. There was no getting over it, that was certain, and getting under it was a fool’s errand.
Notes: I used an image as a writing prompt for this piece. I found it in my copy of Project 77, which surprisingly does not have page numbers. The piece is labeled Spine, 2016. You may be able to find the image on the artist’s ArtStation page.