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- I remember we had just arrived. The sun was beating hard. I was so hot. The other tourists, who had joined the excursion, came down from the 4x4s. We weren't more than fifteen without counting the three guides, yet I felt like I was surrounded by hundreds of people.
A headache was compressing my head. To fill the whole thing, a guide shouted instructions in the general heckling.
I needed a little rest. Although I had already arrived for a few days, I couldn't get some rest. Everything reminded me of home's troubles. Nothing was enough to make me think of anything else.
Later, after leafing through leaflets I was given on arrival, I saw that there was a walk in the desert. I had nothing better to do. I signed up and that was why I was there..

- So you went on vacation alone? the man asked her, interrupting her story.

- Yes indeed. I wanted to get away from the usual hassle even if it meant travelling without anyone.
As I was saying, I had a headache. So I had moved away from the noise to enjoy the solitude. I could see only the mountains of sand that surrounded me, but I knew that the group was not very far since I still heard it.
I was trying to enjoy a little bit of the non perceptible sound. The sun had passed its peak but it was still visible. Its colour was reflected on the sky giving shades of oranges. It was simply splendid.

She paused and resumed with a more dreamy voice.

- That's exactly when I saw...

- The shadow ? Finished the man, interrupting her a second time.

- No, I mean yes. You see, it wasn't just a shadow, it had been a real person, not an illusion. I was fascinated and attracted by her as a researcher looking for answers. She called me.

- She ? He marvelled.

- The silhouette of a woman. I am sure of it ! And, as strange as it sounds, I knew her. She looked like an old friend whom I had just found. So I reached out as if to intercept her request.

- After that ? He asked urgently.

- Well, I was lying on the sand. I heard voices first and then when I opened my eyes, the tourists surrounded me. They had built a tent made of cloth so that I could be in the shade. Apparently, one of the guides had looked for me and found me lying in the sand. He concluded that I had fainted because of sunstroke. It often happened. He had taken me to the car to get me in but it was way too hot. Then he began to build a small shelter and sought the others' help. I am very grateful to him and the others.

- And for the shadow ? Have you seen her again ? What did the others say ?

- I only spoke to Allie, the guide who saved me. He knew what I was talking about. He had heard rumours about it but had advised me to keep it for me unless I wanted to be mistaken for a crazy girl.

- And that's what you did, confirmed the young man.

The woman nodded.

- Till today. I don't have any grandchildren yet to tell this story and Allie has heard it a million times now.

The forty-year-old woman laughed heartily and spoke once calmed with glimmering eyes.

- You know, Allie is used to my wacky stories. He says he madly loves them but I suspect him of exaggerating his words.

She huffed and looked at the man curiously to see if he had any more questions. She was right.

- Have you never seen the feminine shadow again?

As every time she thought of this silhouette, Annie's gaze became more intense, less sparkling than when she spoke of her dear and tender, yet equally passionate. She had been marked forever by this furtive encounter.

- No. But I remember that before leaving, I looked at the place where the apparition occurred and I had chills all along my spine. Tears came to my eyes. A farewell in rules. Excuse me.

Annie put her hands in front of her mouth and held back a sob. Several minutes passed without either saying a word. A respectful silence accompanied them in this runaway. Then she spoke again, looking through the window at a bird that had just landed on a weeping willow branch.

- I know I was fortunate because it's the kind of unforgettable moment that fascinates you for a lifetime without ever understanding how or why, without ever hoping to see or live it again, and that touches you to the depths of your heart.
I can say that this day in the desert has marked me.

At these words, the young boy was in his turn marked. He was touched by her honesty but he also felt a lack, as if this shadow was not intended for him.

___________________
The playlist of the story :
✩ Experience by Ludovico Einaudi
✩ The way ( instrumental ) by Zack Hemsey

Feel free to check out my other stories.
elodie iver
elodie iver
@authorelodie  
For the fourth competition.

I hope you liked and enjoyed.
Have a good day
or a good night,
Lila.