I remember rain. Sheets of water running down the slanted street to pool by our garden wall. Fine droplets suspended in the air like a bated breath, waiting to condense enough to fall.
I was ten years old when we left Verdure, and my father had just been killed.
The absence of moisture made little impression on me at first. It was subtle, meat without salt, and I reveled in the warm winds and the clarity of the sky. I even loved the whirling dust and the implausible strata of colored sands. Eventually, though, the grit and palette of the desert began to wear me down. I longed for the taste of brine and the cool greens and blues of home.
My mother hated this place from the moment we arrived. She wilted under the hot sun, her vibrancy fading with each year. Once, wild to understand her, I asked why she chose this world over the endless possibilities.
She shrugged. “It’s the furthest from him I could get.”
Standing at the porthole, looking down on the dusty sea, I could almost understand my mother’s compulsion to replace her scars with open wounds. A bell clanged, and the deck shuddered: the Jade Dragon’s gangway, sliding back into the hull. I contemplated joining the other passengers in the lounge to watch her lift away from the platform, but my eyes were sore. Instead, I gestured to the steward and he opened the door to my stateroom.
The room was not large, but it would be comfortable enough for ten days. Jax slid from my shoulder and scampered around, exploring nooks and crannies like a child let loose in the Singing Canyons. The curtains were imported silk, if a little sun-bleached – a testament to the dirigible’s former glory. Under the window was a table, where a brass rose glittered in a porcelain vase.
“A lovely touch.” I smiled at the steward, who looked at me blankly. Roses, I remembered, were as rare as rain here.
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This post is part of the Jade Dragon series. It follows The Jade Dragon, and was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge prompt:
You should write a creative response using the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:
1: the state of being absent
2: the period of time that one is absent
3: want, lack <an absence of detail>