The hills didn’t seem to be getting any closer. I could now, however, start making out features of them. There seemed to be darker patches of bush or trees, and a gradual rise of the land leading up to them would signal to me when I was getting close. I dredged up any memories of being out in the wilderness. I remembered reading, or being told, or something, that water usually ran along the foot of hills, or rivers started in the hills and flowed down many, many miles to the sea. Something like that anyway.

Looking up into the hills, I wasn’t watching where my feet were falling. I stood right in the middle of one of the small thorny bushes. My immediate reaction was to jump back, which I did, and my left heal caught on a rock and I went down. I landed on my left hip, but my left shoulder caught another rock and sent a wave of pain to my brain to conflict with the pain of my foot which somehow had a part of the bush attached to it. I rocked back up to a sitting position and rubbed my shoulder, still holding my sore foot in the air. Just a bit of a graze on my shoulder, but my foot had a branch attached and this was because there was a three-inch thorn buried a third into the fleshy part just below my big toe.

I grabbed hold of the branch at the base of the thorn and started gently pulling. Oh, the pain. It felt better leaving it in than getting it out, but I knew I had to… So I pulled again, and this time it came out and the relief was instant. I saw a black hole briefly in my foot before it filled with blood. I had nothing to cover it with, but knew I had to get up and keep walking. The sun was starting to beat down relentlessly. It had burnt off all of the clouds from that night, and was starting to concentrate on me now.

I limped, favouring my foot, and trying to keep the wound out of the dirt. The blood was attracting the dry dirt, however, and I soon had a dark mudpack stuck to the bottom of my foot. It was still uncomfortable to walk, but I knew I had to keep moving. I had to find water before I was dehydrated and the sun did too much damage to me. I had seen sunstroke victims before. They have no energy, and get disoriented easily. I didn’t want this to happen to me. "Those" that played this nasty trick on me would laugh when they found out I lasted less than a day. That would be just before I shoved my fist down their neck and relieved them of their spleen.

There was no sign of animal life what-so-ever. No birds in the sky, no lizards or rabbits on the ground. Nothing. There was no sound, other than the wind in my ears, and the thumping of my heart as I slogged my way over the flat, gritty soil. The ground started to rise now, and the hills were a lot bigger than earlier that morning. By the height of the sun I thought it was about 9 or 10 o’clock. It was shaping up to be a scorcher, and I needed to get out of the sun and find something to drink before it got too much.

I stopped and had a pee on a bush. I knew I had to conserve water, but this was useless water to me. Probably still made up mostly of coffee from all the drinks I had at work the previous day. I taught the bush a lesson for the pain it’s cousin had caused my foot. It felt funny not having any pants to pull up again, or fly to zip up. The thirsty soil drank up the yellow stream, and left just a dark patch.

I kept walking.

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