Drought

1st in the 'Write As Rain 2014' competition

Summer had arrived. Heat rose from the ground in waves, slowly and precisely extracting every last scrap of energy from the world, until an unnatural lethargy coated all. The earth hardened, blistered and burnt. It could not withstand the incredible wrath of summer. Nor could the once lush forests, which, as the sun reached its zenith, lost heart and succumbed to thirst, the great trees wilting into pale replicas of their lost glory. Warmth and humidity reigned, and heat encompassed all.
A young fairy wren flew through the sun-soaked land, exhaustion threatening to overcome her. The hungry desire to satisfy her thirst roared deep within her heart, driving her on as the heat sapped all energy from her tired wings. But she would not give up. To give up was to die, to allow the sun to have victory over her. And the wren wanted to live.
The world was barren around the wren and the lake was a kilometre away, no matter how hard she yearned for it to be closer. For the lake meant water, and the young wren desired water with such whole-hearted longing that her entire body was contorted with desperation and need. She could not remember the last time she had drunk, and oblivion was prowling at the edge of her consciousness. Her will to live was fading, slowly but surely giving way to a persistent desire for sleep, rest and the simplicity of nothingness.
A large hill rose out of the ground ahead of the young bird, and its sight aroused hope in her heart for she recognised it as the last obstacle between herself and the lake. The last dregs of her energy stirred within her and she flew faster, stronger. Dreaming of the water that lay in front of her, certain that she would survive.
The wren finally arrived at the crest of the hill, bathing in exhilaration and a sense of achievement-after a long, hard struggle she had reached her destination. Determined to revel in her victory, she slowly turned her head to view the great lake below- only to gasp and fall to the ground, shock coating her body. For the lake, or the little that was left of it, was as dry as the barren earth, its waters long ago stolen by the sun.
The wren’s thirst was startlingly strong and hopelessness rose like nausea within her, a panic that radiated from her body. The wren took one last breath before her heart gave way and she died lamenting the sun’s theft.
The clouds looked down from far above, sorrow mounting within them as they watched the demise of the young bird. A single tear dribbled down one of their fluffy cheeks, followed by another than another. Soon all of the clouds were sobbing, letting the world know of their anguish and remorse. Rain had come after a long, long drought.

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