The chill of their desert

“Don’t let them see you cry.”

He held back his tears. His father didn’t look back at him, still staring out of the cavern. The desert was cold, far colder than it usually was at this time of night. It would get colder soon.

His father’s advice felt inconsistent. The older man had always claimed feelings were nothing to be ashamed of. Not even the ones that produced tears.

After blinking, clearing his throat, he finally asked the question. “Why?”

“That’s where they’ll attack,” his father said. “The water. Don’t show that you have any water. They’ll drain us both dry for it.”

He wished they could stay here, hidden until the daybreak. But they would freeze and die. They needed to move on. So when his father gave the signal, they both crept forward out into the clear night, leaving behind his sister’s body.

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