The Dial


As I began to trudge deeper into the wide expanse of desert, I caught a glimpse of a silver glimmer in the corner of my eye. I stopped, wiping the sweat from my eyes, as they had started to sting with it. I looked over at the car that was nearing at a great speed. I could also see in the distance the path I had tread, slowly, wearily dragging myself through the deep, hot sand.

The black car, coated with colorless dust, with clouds of sand-smoke bellowing from its tail, soared past my tracks. The distance I had spent hours covering was being flown by this new beast in just the minutes it took me to watch it whilst shielding my eyes. I had been a slave to this desert for days, without food, without water. I had given up praying for the director to call 'Cut!'.

I looked to my side, three of my duplicates looked around at me and at each other, mirroring my defeated expression. Though defeated as we were, we turned around to look at the others, plodding through the sand, their backs bent against the desert wind, though I could see their dignity, their strength. However starved, diseased with exhaustion, they were, they were still determined, each step filled with a pride of not giving in to the enemy.

This made the three of us doubtful, pitiful men (or should I say just me), realize our cowardice, our easy defeat, and we turned around and followed the others through the desert, panting and wiping our drenched foreheads as we went.

Another glimmer made the brightness engulfing my eyes even brighter for a moment, leaving me in a sudden daze. I tried to blink away the blue spots appearing before my eyes, as well as squinting against the raging sun, as I looked down into the sand for the sparkling metalic object I had just previously discarded.

When I had spotted it, I trudged wearily towards it and bent down. None of my duplicates stopped to do the same. For a moment I realized that I cared not whether I was indeed crazy, and just wanted an escape from this accursed world. If I were to live in the cool safety of a mental institute rather than the Hell of this world - as this surely, must have been the burning flames of Hell - I would be thankful.

I picked up the metal object once again and turned it over in my hands. On the underside, it had a small dial. Large enough for only my smallest finger to turn. I turned around once again. The car was nearer ... so near I could almost see through the dust, through the blackened windows, to see the silhouettes of my enemy in the front seats. Apparently my only escape from Hell was that Hell. I frowned as I considered this, trudging through the sand, fingering the dial, cool in my fingers. Well, perhaps that Hell would involve air conditioning.

I closed my eyes, trying to block out the evil sun, though all I could see was a blinding orange gleam. Apparently my lids were transparent to the unbearable light. I dropped one foot in front of the other in solemn resolution. I have to escape. I have to keep going, away from them.

Two voices echoed around my head, both mine. Insanity had taken me, surely. One voice, exhausted, yet determined, shouted into my ear. 'You can't let them win. Keep walking. Keep running. Escape them. They will not win. You are stronger than them.'

But another voice groaned, completely fatigued, in my other ear. 'No, I can't ...'

'Yes, you can.' the other voice ordered sternly. 'Walk!'

'I can only drag my feet ... I can't ... I can't ...' the other voice whimpered.

Though I continued to trudge on, though no particular voice was winning, and I was verging on despair. My shirt clung to my chest and back with sweat like a second skin. Even my hair felt like a fur hat in this sweltering heat. My shoes rubbed with moisture and the sand that had fallen inside scratched at my toes. Each of my joints ached with a dull pain, tearing at my muscles, tearing at my bones, ripping my body apart with each step. My throat felt like sand paper when I attempted to clear it, my tongue would not move inside my parched mouth.

I did not open my eyes, but I continued to drag my feet forwards, turning the dial with rapidly dwindling energy. I could hear the black monsters' approach behind me. I could hear as it sped forwards, nearing to me ... getting ever nearer. What was I thinking? They were going to capture me. To torture me. They will find my family, kill them, see to everybody I'd ever loved. What was I doing? I was failing, and I could hear the roaring engine of the beast gaining on me. On us. Surely, I was done for. It grew so loud it was all I could hear, it echoed through my thought, I could see the thing approach without having to open my eyes. I could see it, its red headlights shining like eyes, the demon coming for me to drag me to a hell worse than even this ...

Suddenly I lost the orange glare of the sun on the inside of my eyelids. It was replaced my a solid blackness. My sweaty body felt as though it had just passed through a cold sheet of water, and was now more soaked than ever, though I was no longer burning, roasting in the deadly stare of the sun.

The sun had gone. I opened my eyes and could see nothing but darkness. My mind felt exhausted still, and my throat was still dry, my limbs still ached. I fell to my knees. I heard the small dial fall with a clink onto the stone floor. Within the darkness shapes started to form, I could see them with my slowly accustoming eyes. Me ... images of me. 2...3...5...6 of them, six duplicated of me! I had thought that with death I would have escaped madness.

They each lay about the small, dark room, panting like I was. My breath quickened as I looked from face to face, identical in features, expressions ... I looked down at the dial, still sparkling up at me from no light I could see. My rapid breath out-ran my flailing heartbeats as the others pulled themselves upwards, looking from one to the other, to me.

The blue spots before my eyes returned again. I began to feel light-headed. I had been captured. I was in darkness. They were all going to be killed. I had failed, I had given in. How could I have let them win?

My eyes slid shut and I fell backwards onto the ground, and after hearing six identical thumps as each of my companions did the same, I heard and saw no more.

The End

36 comments about this story Feed