Wes Candela


Awarded Superior in Literary Arts

   I walked through the infinite sandy wasteland with hunched shoulders and heavy thoughts. I could sometimes find the debris of the human civilization, my civilization, as I wandered, but never anything worth hoping. It was always a wonder to me when I found a mostly intact building lying on its side, but a reason to stay never crossed my plagued mind. 

   One day, I stumbled upon what was once a busy metropolitan street. I was amazed at how little the street was covered by the conquering sands. The cars and trucks and vans and semis were all, or mostly all, intact and their drivers remained as well. Their bodies were so perfectly mummified that I found it quite easy to picture them at the nearby supermarket a few years prior. I wonder if I knew any of them.

    I don’t know how I’ve survived this long. I don’t even remember what I have done to survive. Time seems to shift as easily as the sands and I know only that it has been a long time since I have seen anyone alive. 

     I have not traveled far, I know that in my heart, and in my shattered mind. I still see stop signs with marks from where the local teenagers tried to steal them. I still see cars that I vaguely remember passing on my way to work. I still see the occasional face of a child I consoled on my walks through the park.

    I find it somewhat comforting knowing I have traveled all this time and still find remnants of my life before. The debris of cars and buildings and people remind me that I am still alive, and lucky to be so. But I feel so lost. All my years of traveling and not a single strand of humanity have I found, not a seed to bring oasis to this eternal hell, not a reassurance that my survival has not been for nothing. 

    But I continue on my walk. With hunched shoulders and heavy thoughts. Wondering how much longer. I can continue.

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