WOTD: Dismal (story, part 1 [Mars Adventure])

Dismal, Eric decided about the vast empty landscape. He longed to be back in his hometown school now. Friends and foes would be so much better than this place of nothing.

Yet here he was, trudging along, hoping to reach the next settlement before a dust storm kicked up or his air tank ran empty. “Mars will be great!”, his dad had promised yet again as the family was ushered into the rocket. “Yeah, great!”, Eric muttered to himself now.

Truth is, nothing great awaited them on Mars. Only hard labor and little reward. Tools worn bare and barely surviving, the family had sent Eric to the next settlement to barter for another week’s supply of food.

It was not the first time he had made this trek and likely would not be his last. “Just this one more time. Our greenhouse will start producing any day now.”, his father would say each time. Yet weeks had passed and still he was sent to barter ore for supplies.

Eric hefted a bag of ore higher onto his shoulder and continued forward. He stumbled a bit as his boot caught on something protruding from the ground. Looking down, expecting to see yet another red tinged rock, instead he could see stark white stone fingers sticking up from the red dirt.

He settled down onto his knees beside it and started digging the dirt away. Within moments, he had uncovered the entire hand, fingers slender like a woman’s hand but half again larger than his own. The hand remained attached to a wrist still buried.

Eric studied the hand closely. On the middle finger was carved a ring and set into the ring was a dusty blue gemstone. As he brushed the dust away the gemstone began to glow. A pulsing light, growing in intensity with each measured moment.

An unnatural wind started gathering, swirling around Eric and the hand. He raised his arms, shielding his helmet from the abrasive sands lifted by the gusting wind.

To be continued…

© 2018 – James Sponseller – mindescapes.net

Word of the Day Challenge: Dismal

Special thanks to Aynur_zakirov @ pixabay for the image of Mars

Published by Jim Sponseller

Family man, father, programmer, and artist. I work with digital art, photographs, author poems and fiction, and also work in artistic metal smithing. You can find poems, photos, and digital art samplings at https://mindescapes.net. Thank you for your support! If you like my offerings and would like to donate, please buy me a coffee:https://buymeacoffee.com/jimsponseller

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