Joseph let the last drop of water drip from his canteen. It evaporated from his parched lips, leaving him no less thirsty. He tossed the empty metal aside. It rolled down the side of the dune, stopping some twenty feet away.

The day was just beginning. The air hadn’t yet recovered from its nightly chill, but it was only a matter of time. Even in the cool, his skin shed precious moisture into the parched air. Joseph thought he could feel each drop as it left him, each one a second ticking down from his life.

Somewhere, an insect chittered, God knew where. There was barely even a scrub to hide in. Some things had just evolved to live out in a wasteland like this. Human beings weren’t one of them.

Joseph sat down and stared a the blooming sun on the horizon. All of the radiant colors that poets spoke so fondly of were still there. But as he looked on, it only looked like death.