by John Yeo
The travellers were weary on the trail through a parched, dry, arid, waterless wasteland. The sand stretched out for miles in every direction. Then the wind whipped up sandstorms that penetrated every orifice in their outer clothing into the very pores of the skin beneath.
Fresh water is the most valuable substance here and every drop is conserved and squeezed out to the best effect, to enable the survival of the travellers.
Sadly the pack animals are the first to suffer and drop, refusing to go on, simply giving up the struggle to continue. Our only course of action is to grant them a merciful release from the torture of death by a slow painful thirst that eventually turns everything to dust.
The jeep and the all terrain vehicles struggle to keep a grip on the sandy desert floor as the exploration search party continues on their perilous quest.
"The tree of life is our goal, we will know it when the rain time arrives!" Blind old Pete said offhandedly.
Blind old Pete was actually a twenty-four year old medical scientist who was colour blind.
"When the what? arrives!" Marg exclaimed derisively. "I don't think this place has ever been rained on ever."
They both laughed, almost conspiratorially, they had been very good friends for years.
Donald Prestwick, a leading medicinal botanist, laughed loudly at this exchange. "We are searching for a particular tree that survives for long periods without water. We need to harvest some of the dark grey bark, which is reputed to have unique anti-ageing properties that could be the key to longevity in humanity allowing some people to triple their lifespans."
Blind old Pete grinned at Marg and pointed to yet another vicious-looking whirlwind on the horizon. "We'd better take cover! " He shouted.
After the storm had abated and passed on, the travellers had to dig the vehicles out before continuing their journey.
Suddenly there were dead-looking trees all around the vehicles. Marg had never seen such a bleak prospect in all her days.
"Surely these trees are dead, not the wonder-bark that is going to make us all very wealthy!" She exclaimed
The Don, as Donald Prestwick had affectionately been re-named, behind his back, almost jumped for joy.
"Yes! Please take as many samples as possible, we need a good supply to work with when we get back to the lab."
Then the arduous return journey was soon underway, many times there were holdups due to vehicle problems and eventually our versatile trusty mechanic Willie, almost gave up as the jeep died, but miraculously was nursed back to life again.
We almost missed our main watering oasis on the way back due to a faulty compass reading. However after some more sparkling adventures in the desert, our only thought was to get back home.
Some weeks later we were all back in our super sterile lab, measuring and testing the precious samples.
Marg thought inwardly, "It will be many more years before any of the expected wealth arrives! The memories are preserved and my long, probably tripled, average life expectancy will be enhanced by the addition of the royalties to come.
Copyright (c) Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.