The lapping sound of the water was too much now, and I could tell they weren’t about to get to me in a hurry if they spotted me. They were on the other side of the lake, and at the speed they were moving, I’d have at least ten minutes to casually find a place to hide before they got to me. I got up and headed down to the lake. The desert didn’t really end at the lake, more like just turned wet and sloped down into it’s watery depths. There was not the major foliage around the water’s edge that I would have expected.

The cool mud oozed through my toes and up to my ankles. It soothed the pain in my right foot a little. I stooped over and filled my dirty cupped hands with water and brought it to my mouth. Water trickled through my fingers and down my chest sending a cold thrill through my body. The water was fresh and sweet. It was lukewarm but did the trick. I squatted down and slurped up more. This was not fast enough so I lay on my stomach and sucked water up from the surface with my lips.

I desperately wanted to jump in, but the cautious part of my brain, still on red alert, told me not to because I didn’t know what was lurking under there to start chomping parts of me I didn’t want chomped.

I washed my wounds, and carefully dabbed at the black hole in my foot. Dirty black blood seeped out, but it was too painful to do too much with. I dried myself in the sun as I busily hobbled about collecting dry wood. I piled it up in a spot close to the trees that I cleared, to ensure the fire wouldn’t get away on me. I built the sticks into the shape of a fire then sat down next to it. What to do? How does one start a fire without matches, a lighter, or even a small incendiary grenade? Rub two sticks together? Yeah, if one was a match and the other the match box. Think man think. I knew the mechanics of building a car. I could put together a computer given all the bits. I could even tell you the physics behind aircraft flight. Hell, I could write you a business proposal, giving you a fifty page presentation, on why you should let our company build your fires in the future, and then sell you the ongoing support contract for those fires, and a three year upgrade path, but could I light one myself? I was stuffed!

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