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For Want of Water

by nagE

The red beast rose over the mountains it’s blades cutting through the air and it’s engine growling and roaring, drowning out all conversation. As the helicopter descended, the air became a tornado picking up and throwing around the leaf litter that covered the ground. James had broken his leg when he was climbing a tree the day before whilst trying to set up a hammock and couldn't walk out. We watched as the paramedic was lowered on the winch and then pulled up again with James attached next to him in a harness. Later we counted him as the lucky one.

Excitement over, we hefted our packs onto our backs and taking one last look at the stunning view from Splendor rock we left the campsite and started the long walk back. The day was hot and the shadows short as we walked along the ridge. It was hotter then we had thought and found ourselves drinking a lot of water. As we passed a pile of rocks, much too tall to have been naturally formed, our leader pointed out that it was the point where Elliot Tumberman had died eighteen months ago during the summer of 2014 as He had told his friends to go ahead and had lost himself eventually succumbing to dehydration. It was a poignant moment.

As we came to the end of the ridge we looked down to see a rocky, dusty and most importantly, steep decline ahead of us. Less than fifty metres down, Jasper had sprained his ankle as he navigated the jagged rocks. It was truly a harsh toll on everyone. One of our younger party members started vomiting from exhaustion. Anna passed him the last of her water so he could rinse out his mouth. That meant we now had two people to help down the remaining 400 metres. We all fell down in the shade of the setting sun in the gully at the bottom of that horrid ordeal.

After regaining some of our energy, we released that our water bottles were empty and our camel packs dry. We all emptied our bags to find what resources we had left, finding nothing but 300mil of water and two up and goes. We handed the up and goes to those who needed them most before re-strapping Jaspers ankle and looking at our maps. There was a river marked less than a kilometre from us, a godsend, as we would have had more than a stroll before we reached a tap. We found the water purification tablets and with our spirits high we picked up our backs and headed on.

As we reached the tree line along the edge of the river we were parched. My throat felt like sandpaper scraping with every swallow. My head was starting to throb from lack of water, but something wasn't right. There was no chirping of birds, no sound of running water. I started to run, bursting through the trees only to see a dusty bed of clay stretching from the left to as far right as I could see. I slowly slouched down in disappointment. No water.

Alex jumped up, “it's all your fault!” He shouted at Anna in a raspy voice. “I said I was ok with walking on without water but no you had to take a huge detour to find an empty riverbed!”. Anna stood up “I was thinking of behalf of everyone here! Unlike you some of us are about to pass out from dehydration,” she snapped back . “Fighting is not going to help anyone” i said break them up. “We need to make a plan to get out of this.” Alex broke the continuing silence. “Well the last of the water is mine,” he said as he grabbed the bottle out of his bag. As he raised it to his lips Anna reached over and tried to grab the bottle off him. They tussled with it before accidentally dropping it to the ground and time stopped as we watched the last of our precious water absorb into the river bed. They both slouched down in silence.

The light was fading fast and with over 12 kilometres left to walk we hurriedly set up our tents. Trying to conserve as much energy as possible we don't bother to start a fire but instead snuggled up inside our sleeping bags to wait the night out with empty stomachs and dry throats. As hot as I had been that day, the temperature dropped and dropped as darkness enveloped us. Shivering, I dreamt of candy stores and waterfalls.

In the morning I woke up at first light with pains in my stomach and a migraine. I knew I needed to find water or I wouldn't be functional. As I stepped out of my tent I saw three others were up.

“Hey, guys. Come over here” I said and they tiredly walked over to my tent. I had had an idea to collect water, “You all need to get your tea towels out of your bags” I said excitedly. I then instructed them to soak up all the dew that had gathered both on the tents and on the broad leaf plants at the bottom on gully. All our efforts only filled one bottle. It took all our self-restraint not to drink it all at once. One sip each and we made sure Alex got his fair share.

We left as soon as we could, before the sun could melt us once again. We stuck to the tree cover and pushed ourselves to the limit, it took all our will power and more, having not eaten for almost 20 hours all energy was gone and everyone was lightheaded. Half back and Anna who had valiantly surrendered her share of water to help the youngest in our party, fainted from exhaustion. James lunged forward to catch her before she hit the dirt. As we were helping her recover Alex sheepishly revealed that he had a few boiled lollies left, enough for one each, the boost of sugar kept us going for a while.

We reached the gully leading to the final accent to the road and we saw a dreadful climb ahead of us. We almost gave up then and there, stuck, a short but steep climb from our rescue. We stopped to rest but as soon as I had sat down I was back up again. I yelled out “guys! over here”. I had spotted a wild raspberry bush filled with berries. The small sweet bursts of delectable joy gave us, in conjunction with the dredges of our team spirit the energy to make it up that hill.

We were experienced hikers and 12 kilometres should have been a walk in the park (national park that is) but a lack of water had almost cost us our lives. A mixture of freak weather and plain bad luck had left us hopeless and distraught, but in the end we managed to band together and push ourselves and each other to the end.

We survived.

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518 Reviews

Points: 2946
Reviews: 518

Sun May 29, 2016 12:01 am
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felistia wrote a review...

Hi nagE, Felistia here with a review for you on this wonderful day and happy review day. :D

Story plot:

Spoiler! :
Okay so the story plot was basically a survival story. I felt the concept was good, but it felt a little rushed. You could have taken more time to build up the desperation of the situation. Like the part with the river, maybe have the group see a mirage. The last part really felt rushed. Make me as the reader think that they're not going to make it. Build up the suspense. :D One other little thing, your title For Want Of Water I think it would sound better if you wrote it The Want For Water. :D

Characters: I feel like you could have taken some more time to develop the characters in this story, give them a personality. At the moment the only thing making them a different character from the next is their names. I also want to feel there pain a bit more. Put me into the character's body. Make me feel every lingering step, every thirsty second. Make me want to get up and take a drink of water while reading the story. :D

Description: Your description throughout the story was pretty good, but I feel that you could do better. Like when their descending down the gorge, describe what the terrain looks like, does it have animals and what do the plants look like?

Punctuation and Grammar: Your grammar for the most part was good, but the punctuation wasn't good. SpiritedWolfe has already given you a pretty good punctuation review though. :D

Overall this was a great story and I look forward to the next one. Never stop writing and I hope you have a great day\night. :D

Your friend, Felistia. :D

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79 Reviews

Points: 627
Reviews: 79

Sat May 28, 2016 9:01 pm
CateRose17 wrote a review...

Hey there! I'm Cate and I'm going to leave a review for you :)
1. Your Title is great, it explains what the story is about somewhat, but leaves the reader curious. Good job on that.
2. There was a small typo that I noticed: released is supposed to be realized. " We released our water bottles were empty."
3. Also when Alex is yelling at Anna, I do believe you mean "On behalf of everyone here." It flows better. After " as he raised it to his lips" there should be a comma then Anna.
4. "The small sweet bursts of delectable joy gave us, in conjunction with the dredges of our team spirit the energy to make it up that hill." I had to read this part twice because the lack of the second comma confused me a tiny bit. Just make sure to add that comma so readers won't be confused.
Otherwise, you have talent and also a lot of potential. I loved it and the plot seemed to run good together. Great job :) and keep writing!!!

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724 Reviews

Points: 21875
Reviews: 724

Wed May 25, 2016 12:04 pm
SpiritedWolfe wrote a review...

Hello there! Welcome to the site ^^

I'll just jump into the review by pulling out a quote:

Excitement over, we hefted our packs onto our backs and taking one last look at the stunning view from Splendor rock we left the campsite and started the long walk back.

As I was reading this, I noticed quite a few awkwardly worded sentences, some of them being run-ons and others just fragments. I won't pull out all of them, but I will do my best to describe them. The quote above isn't necessarily a run-on sentence, but it's rather long and awkward. For instance, there are three ands connecting different actions in this one sentence, which drags it on for a lot longer than needed. I would recommend splitting it up into several sentences and maybe add some imagery of the stunning view and more figurative language in general.

The red beast rose over the mountains it’s blades cutting through the air and it’s engine growling and roaring, drowning out all conversation.

So, as you know, this is your beginning sentence, and I had to read it several times to understand what was happening. First things first, there should be a comma after "mountains" because there would be more of a natural pause there. (Any time you have something tacked on to a sentence like "taking...", "cutting...", etc., there should be a comma between it and the sentence to distinguish it's a different thought but not enough to be on its own.) Second, the correct form is its instead of "it's" because possession. Third, this is also kind of verbose. There is a difference between a good amount of figurative language and being verbose. Most of this is just verbose, since there are unnecessary details to the image like "drowning out conversation" and the extra "and roaring" tacked on after growling. It's just too much. There are a lot of other sports throughout this that are a bit too wordy, so try to go through and cut down.

If you're not sure where to start or what to look for, please message me and I'll be glad to assist!

Plot-wise, I'm rather confused what is happening. So, in the beginning their friends, James (who magically appears again in the end? I don't think that was supposed to happen.), was taken away by a helicopter. How did the helicopter know to get there? Why couldn't they have been rescued by helicopter either? I mean, dying of dehydration is also a medical emergency that could have warranted paramedics rescuing them. Why did they have to go through that much effort?

Not to mention, I have no idea who anyone is. These names are just suddenly thrown at us like we're supposed to know who they are, and while I'm not saying you should carefully describe everyone to the utmost detail, some extra background about them would be nice. To me, they're just names. I feel no connect. I don't care that they're dying. Make me care!

As well, as I was reading, I didn't notice that the narration was in first person. The narrator was probably not there except for like two paragraphs. The reason to use first person is to tell the story through the eyes of someone in the middle of the action. Nothing happened to the narrator -- it was just "we did this. we did that." the entire time. Show some emotion in the narration. How does he/she feel about this? What's going on with them?

Overall, this could use a lot of work and I'm left short of time to go in a lot of depth, so if you want more explanations please ask! This is a good start and you could have a good idea going, but some things don't add up. Work out those plot kinks and technical things and this would be great!

Happy writing,
~ Wolfe

Random avatar
nagE says...

Thanks Wolfe, you made so many valuable points that i will take on board. This is what i would call my first short story finished and edited and i will take as much criticism as i can get to see where to improve. Ill have a look into it tomorrow.

"My spelling is wobbly. It's good spelling, but it wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places."
— A.A. Milne