Three planes had left the war torn airport yesterday with high hopes of a new life in a new land. At least one had been shot down. Jim wasn’t sure about the other. He had veered off course to keep from taking fire. The maneuver had worked, but the ancient engine seized up only an hour into the flight. He wasn’t sure if landing the plane safely was a miracle or a curse. No one knew where they were and they were miles away from even the smallest town. All they had now were sand and burning sun.
Jim looked back at the line of survivors. Even the animals were struggling. It was unlikely any of them would survive long enough to reach the hazy line of mountains on the horizon that had been taunting them for the past nine hours. They couldn’t go back and the future was dim, but no one complained anymore. They were too tired, too exhausted. The next person to fall would be left behind.
Just as Jim resumed shuffling across the sandy ground, one of the dogs cried out and sank to its knees. It lay on the hot sand, eyes closed, tongue hanging limp and dry. Everyone stopped and stared at its labored breathing. Twenty survivors, no food, no water. One dog on death’s door. Jim glanced at the other survivors. No one spoke as he pulled out his utility knife. At least now they had some food.