My Father is Dying in the Desert
The Stone Emperor was dying. It was just the two of us now, wandering across the burning expanse of desert, towards the far-off dream of the ocean. I staggered along in his shadow as he towered over me. The sand trembled as he walked—one step for every fifty of my own.
“I must stop.” He sank down slowly onto the sand. More rocky scales fell from his skin; more of his molten blood oozed out.
“We are almost to the ocean, Father!” I shouted up to him. Ever since he had adopted me when I was little, I had ridden on his high, craggy shoulder, but not now. Now he literally glowed as his life’s magma seeped out through a thousand cracks. Humans could not know the diseases that afflicted a rock giant.
“This is the end,” he rumbled. “You have been a good son, more faithful than any of my own strata. Stay with me, until the end.”
The sun went down slowly and although the air was cold, the escaping life of my father kept me warm.
“God in heaven,” I prayed. “Keep him alive until we reach the ocean.”
During the night, I awoke to rain falling, hissing and spitting as it cooled and healed the Stone Emperor’s skin, sealing in his heat. God had not brought us to the ocean; he had brought the ocean to us in the desert.