Walking through the deserted night, I descend into the valley and reserve my strength. I come across a man. His eyes won't focus and his tongue trips over his pretty words. He says "I would be yours if you do me this one favor." He says "I am so parched, I couldn't give my love without a small sip." I offer him my canteen since I have a sip to spare. But he pours what I offer into his own reservoir, does not drink it, and then asks for more. But I had no more to spare. Only enough for a small sip for myself.
So I continue on up the hill before me and I know I must pace myself. I meet a girl with lines on her arms and X's on her legs. She says she met that man down below and he gave her these scars. She says "now I'm lost. But once I'm found, I can give you the love you desire. Could you do me this one favor and help me find my way?" So I ask where she is hoping to go. She says she wants the man in the valley. She says she's sure so I lead her back to him and she screams: "You never wanted to help me, did you?!" She rages at me and snatches my canteen only to swallow down the last drops. I run. Up the mountain again.
I find a boy singing to himself. He says I can sit with him until I catch my breath. So I do, and I ask him questions and he makes me laugh. He says my laugh sounds like a song he never wants to end. So he kisses me and his lips taste like sand to my dry tongue. But I kiss him back anyway and he falls through my fingers and flies away on the wind. I crawl away, choking on the dryness in my lungs.
As I reach the top of the mountain, I collapse. My chapped lips against the dewy grass. A hand gently touches my shoulder and I watch as they fill my canteen from their own and we are both full.