EAC ruby of the sands

05/21/2009

In an arid unforgiving land, an orchid blooms
its vivid colors of life are amplified by the stark surroundings
like a mirage, a trick of the mind, its existence is questioned
many a traveler has seen it. In fact, she is mapped.
the sole flower has been made a legend in the nomadic community
their lure calls her the “EAC, ruby of the sands”

As the tale goes, dating from before my grandfather’s time
a humble maiden of insurmountable beauty lived alone
she waited in a walled home for the safe return of her love
inside the fortress an oasis grew around a opulent spring
this resource made an important stop on an active trade route
from the tower of the fortress, she could be seen looking East to the horizon
the man she loved had left on his Hajj to Mecca, vowing to return
it had been a year and three months since his departure
every day she performed her duties feeding travelers
selling off the spring’s bounty, then returning to her watchful perch

One day in the distance a solitary rider with three horses approached
this was an odd sight in the desert where all living beings are mouths to feed
as she watched the rider, a feeling grew inside her, like the child she never bore
anxiety besieged the lady in the tower, making her forget her duties
though they rang the bell to call on her, all travelers’ needs that day were dismissed
so they waited to see who it was that had distracted the young beauty

within viewing distance, it became evident that the stranger was not alone
a wrapped body was lumped over the back of one of the horses
dismayed at the thought of who it might be, the young maid withdrew
moments later, like an angel in the sky, she was seen for a moment
her linens, like wings had flapped eclipsing the sun overhead
then she was gone, never to be seen again

the mounted man confused, handed over a letter marked “EAC”
he had been paid to bring the body of this man to this oasis posting
a circle on a map, guiding his way to the final resting place of his cargo

whatever secrets were in that letter nobody knows
for moments later, the earth shook causing avalanches of sand
those with steads rode off, every man on foot was not fast enough
the desert was eating them alive, sucking them into a vortex
the fortress itself began sinking, as those who survived recall
from the safety of far away dunes, looking back on this catastrophe
none had ever seen such an event since the fall of Gomorrah

the next nomad to arrive, looking for the oasis
found only a flower of brilliant scarlet beauty
confused at the inaccuracy of his map told the story later on
he heard the tale of the sinking fortress and the story of lovers
many do not believe in the existence of the red blossom
only those who have seen it carry on the tale of “EAC” and her love

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