With a strangled gasp he threw himself to the ground in an attempt to regain some of his breath and energy.
Feeling some loose grains of sand land on his lips and dig into every revealed bit of flesh, itching against his skin, he repressed a desperate sigh. It would only result in more sand in his nostrils and throat anyway.
Raising one arm he used his wrist to rub some of the sand from his eyes before tentatively opening them, blinking a few times at the stinging sensation.
The bright sunlight was now becoming slightly more orange in colour, the evidence that time was still passing as he was trapped in his terrible predicament.
It was almost as if the world itself was mocking him for his stupidity and was taking pleasure in torturing him slowly to teach him to think things through before acting.
He snorted at that thought, causing a miniature typhoon of fine grains of sand to temporarily blind him once more and cause him to sputter and gasp as he accidentally breathed some of it in.
He was sure his tongue was now firmly caked in sand. It tasted like it anyway.
It had seemed like no problem at all in the beginning. How had he been supposed to know he would be stuck here for so long?
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
And without food or water too.
Not that he cared all that much about the food right now.
The water on the other hand...
And he could hear it, not so far away. A rolling, rumbling sound. He could just imagine it's spray being picked up by the wind. Its cold depths, cooling, refreshing, full of life.
How could it be so close, yet be completely absent at the same time?
Here there was only sun and dusty sand getting everywhere. Never giving him a break, constantly guarding him.
How can you best keep somebody trapped?
Give them a prison without walls. Give them water they can't reach.
He was sure people had gone crazy of lesser things.
He was here, trapped by earth and sky. Sand and sun... and no WATER!
He wasn't sure whether he had yelled that last word out loud or not. Too much sand in his mouth already to know for sure. Not that it mattered. Nobody would come.
And why would nobody come? That was another one of his mistakes wasn't it?
He had read some books on survival before and they all stated you should make sure that when you go somewhere, you let somebody know where you're going and when you should be back. So they can send help.
It also said to always be prepared for anything.
Obvious he hadn't, now wasn't it?
The whole point of it was that the others didn't know. He had wanted to have some fun and the others hadn't wanted to go for his idea.
The downside of "the majority decides" and he was not content to go with it.
He hadn't even tried to talk to them about it. Just sneaked out.
A funny word, egocentric.
To put the ego in a centre position.
To think the self was the most important thing.
To want the world to revolve around yourself.
Now that sounded better!
But why was he thinking about these things?
His head hurt.
That had been the first thing he noticed.
Many people thought that the lack of drinking water would first cause a dry sensation in the back of the throat, but you have more trouble with your throat when suffering from some or other flue.
The first thing he had noticed had been the terrible headaches.
It had started from the front of his skull and gradually thumped through the rest of his brain. It made him irritable, angry. Thought became difficult to assemble in a form of coherence and it became a task to try to concentrate on something.
Only once the pain had fully taken over your mind did the dryness of his throat start to become noticeable as he had tried to scream in fury only to hear his voice break and die, his lungs constricting painfully as if abused.
And then he had felt the heat. The heat!
As if he was boiled alive, his core burning up so sweat covered him soon to turn his entire body into a sandman as the dust clung to the moisture.
Trying to wipe the film of warm sweat off had proven to be a very bad idea as it mixed with the sand to form mud. And new sweat had just taken the place of every little bit he had just wiped away.
He rubbed at his eyes again and sat himself up straight, spitting some of the sand from his mouth.
Seemed like such a waste of fluids that. Especially since it didn't feel to make a difference.
His tired eyes travelled up again and looked at his prison.
He had tried so often to crawl up, thrown himself at the walls, only to find them crumble under his weight and cause a huge slide of sand to tumble down, dragging him with it.
If he tried again he might literally make his own grave and bury himself in it.
Maybe nightfall would bring him some relief.
At least starlight wouldn't burn the way the unforgiving rays of the sun did.
Though technically the sun was a star, so that didn't make as much sense as he had thought.
He chuckled mirthlessly. Funny to think about such things now.
Maybe the tide would reach him and save him.
Feeling the dry grains of sand beneath his fingers he doubted that would happen any time soon. Maybe if Kreludor were to suddenly leave its regular orbit and come closer, but that wouldn't be very likely.
Feeling his hope disappear with the last of his energy he let his body lean against the side, no longer caring whether it would make the sand come crashing down upon him or not.
The sand seemed to be a bit friendlier now than before as only a light trickle landed on his shoulders.
This was it then. He had to admit defeat.
Funny, he had always expected the end to be a bit more... dramatic. With flashbacks of all the things he had done during his lifetime, all the people he had met. All the things he had still planned to do.
Now he just felt like it would be too much of a headache to think about those things.
Though he did seem to start getting hallucinations now. He was sure he heard a voice.
But that couldn't be true. He had picked this spot because nobody seemed to come here and he had yelled all day for help without anybody appearing to come to his rescue.
The voice-that-couldn't-be-there kept calling and seemed to come closer.
Or louder at least.
Silly voice, didn't it know it was just a hallucination?
He giggled and the voice went quiet.
That was more like it.
Then he could hear footsteps.
He glared at his own legs as if to blame them for the noise when he remembered he wasn't the cause, couldn't be the cause since he was sitting down and not walking around.
That was strange.
With a loud snorting sound a big black nose appeared over the edge of his prison as a horned head with narrowed yellow eyes blocked the harsh sunlight.
He sighed in relief as he was embraced by the cool shade as a raspy voice growled to something out of his reach of vision.
"He's right here. Get a rope or a ladder or something to get him out." The yellow eyes studied him a bit more closely. "Or a shovel and make sure you get some fresh water ready and something to protect him from the sun. I think he might be suffering from a heatstroke or something."
He had been just about to tell the strange head to leave him alone when a second face appeared, this one a lot more familiar.
While it also had yellow eyes, these were round and wide with worry and relief shining brightly in their depths. A mane of greenish hair covered the top of the head and he somehow knew it went down along the neck all the way to the base, between the shoulder blades. Two larger front teeth were clearly visible in the wide smile.
A strange word came forward in his mind and he realised it had to be the name of this person.
"Ingenieous?" he croaked.
The Mutant Xweetok's smile grew wider.
"Mochasse! You had me worried sick! I swear you are more like a ninja than a Uni. Grab the rope, we'll get you out of here!"
A rope was quickly thrown down and he tied it around his middle so they could hoist him up.
Once back on safe ground he found himself surrounded by his friends and four new faces as well and he remembered vaguely that Ingenieous had mentioned they go to the plains to have a picnic with four other pets when he had decided he wanted to go to the seaside instead.
"You are so lucky Hessethneo wanted to help. He's the best tracker I know," the Mutant Xweetok tried to say with an angry voice, but failed as her smile kept on ruining the effect. "How did you end up in that pit anyway?"
Gulping down as much water as the others would let him in one go he felt incredibly stupid and felt his face heat up by something other than his sunburn.
"Well, I wanted to have some fun on the beach and thought it would be a great idea to dig a huge pit in the sand and use the excess sand to make a sand castle or something. Turned out my pit was a bit too big to get out of," he muttered sheepishly while taking a sandwich offered to him by a smiling Maractite Shoyru. "Every time I tried to get out, I slid back down and got nearly buried underneath the sand. Looking at the sun, I guess I've been stuck in there for a while. Thanks for finding me. All of you. You saved my life. I was such a selfish jerk going off on my own just because I didn't feel like having a picnic..."
"What do you know. Self-knowledge is indeed the beginning of all wisdom," the Mutant Gelert, Hessethneo he remembered Ingenious calling him, growled before letting out a yelp as the Mutant Xweetok slapped him on the back of the head.
"You be nice! And Mochasse, you're definitely not stupid. You're just a bit too impulsive. Next time you don't agree with something, just tell me, okay? We're best friends, we'll work something out."
Mochasse gave a small nod as he followed them back home.
Maybe he had needed to be reminded of what he had, even if it meant getting stuck in a pit on the beach he dug himself to realise it.
Silently he promised to himself that if any of the others ever went through a similar experience, he would do everything he could to save them too.
Because they were his friends.
They would work something out...