Volte and Shuala had travelled through many long nights, while spending the scorching day under cover of their tent well away from the desert sun. Now at last their goal was in sight, a rocky ridge spanning untold miles that had taken an interminable time to reach. The rising sun seemed to be peeping over it as if mocking them.
‘About a day’s ride I’d say.’ Volte observed. ‘How’s our food doing?’
Shuala was checking the rations ‘We’ll get back but we’re going to be hungry.’
‘Well we’ll have to eat one of the camels if it comes to it.’
‘Ugh I hate camel meat’ said Shuala.
‘You’ll eat it when you’re hungry enough.’ The man took note of the lightening sky. ‘Sun’ll be up soon, better set up camp.’ They unfurled the tent and tied the camels to some thorn bushes which they set to devouring.
Shuala cooked some flat bread and they ate it with dried fish and lentil cake then after sharing some precious water with their mounts, retired under the canopy as the sun climbed into the sky. Shuala shucked off her long robe and arranged the bed while Volte took one last look at the sky before joining her.
‘I can’t believe we’re nearly there.’ She said as they lay in each other’s arms. ‘After all this time, we did it Vol!’
He kissed her forehead and sniffed her hair, which always seemed to smell of perfumed coconut oil. ‘Let’s just wait and see before celebrating.’
They had set off for the horizon months ago with six dromedaries laden with provisions, now they were down to three who were not so heavily laden. People had mocked them, saying the horizon was too far across the desert, some asked them why it was so important to find it and some even said it didn’t really exist.
‘They said we couldn’t reach it but there it is a night’s ride away.’ She was elated. ‘Aren’t you excited?’
‘I am I suppose but what if it’s a big disappointment, go to sleep Shu we’ll set off at dusk.’
‘I’m not tired yet Vol.’ announced Shuala with a grin.
They rode all night to stop at a long rocky ridge that stretched off to left and right, it was pitch black beyond and the stars did not seem to reach below it so they halted, daring not to go further in the dark, they would not pitch camp tonight but would wait until dawn.
When the sun came up, they cautiously made their way up the rocky scramble to reach the horizon proper.
Shuala looked at Volte. ‘I’m a bit scared.’
‘Me too Shu!’ neither of them dare look over the edge yet. ‘Well shall we do it?’
She nodded and they kissed briefly, neither knew what to expect, would it live up their expectations or just be an anti-climax, would it be hazardous?
The couple looked over the horizon to stare open-mouthed at what lay beyond.