I was instructed to move four paces. The sun had lost his mercy, emitted its pure evil rays and my sweat dried up even before it could flow down my skin.

I didn’t even know where my fellows were, we started together and now I had no sight of them. I was slow to realise, that we were not in this together. It was a contest of who gets there first. I did not have any motivation before I started. I just wanted to get to the destination, the serpent like tunnels often brought me back to where I had started.

Again, I was instructed to take 2 steps, even more disappointed. It’s been more than two hours and not even half way to my destination. I saw scorpions all around me. Am I hallucinating? Are they coming towards me?

‘Hey!’ Someone yelled. I turned around and saw one of the fellows and the scorpions vanished. I was hallucinating after all. He too looked drained and tired but was holding up pretty well.

‘And here I thought that I am the only one left behind!’ I said, feeling a slight comfort to have someone along with me.

‘I was doing pretty well… reached as far as the 85th milestone then the tunnel brought me back to 12. It is frustrating.’

‘Are you serious? I have been to many tunnels myself but not something that long.’

Then both of us received our instructions, I had to move 2 paces again and he was instructed to 6 more paces. He gave me a smirk and started walking. When you are this drained, all the stories about slow and steady winning the race, makes little sense. In my situation I didn’t mind being the hare but I did not control my own pace.

While I was thinking about this, my fellow contestant said something that got my hopes up real quick

‘Have you heard about the BIG STEP? Look for it when you reach the 32nd milestone. I will take you as far as 88.’ He said and moved on.

I didn’t believe him, it was a contest after all. Took two more steps and I fell into the tunnel again and reached the 4th milestone. I felt dejected, defeated and wanted to give up. All the stories of the Bruce’s spider making it at the top after numerous attempts does not make sense when the sun dehydrates you to your knees. I decided to move on. One day they will tell my story of never giving up.

Then things started looking up for me, I got instructions to move 6 paces, then a 4 and then a 6 again. On the way to got through 3 steps and in no time I was at the 87th milestone. Met another fellow of mine and this time I didn’t give him any tips. I wanted to win this, reach the ultimate 100th mile stone.

The 87th milestone was very refreshing place, with some traces of grass, and still no sign of water. It was a place which gave me hope and I started thinking of clean water, people around and lots of exotic fruits to eat. I wish I could get another flight of steps to take me there. It was not about winning anymore. It was about getting there.

I was instructed to take one pace. As soon as I took it went in the mouth of the tunnel once again. It was the never ending tunnel, it was dark as a moonless night and I landed to the barren land of the 12th milestone.

Defeated, drained and weak were the three words which could summarize the situation I was in. I could see the sun go dark, my head throbbing with pain and energy sapped out of my being. I couldn’t be a part of this contest but I couldn’t withdraw, my will did not matter.

I felt my heart showing down, my eyelids coming down and…

Lydia died of a heat stroke and arrangements were being made to get her body of the area.

Little did she know that life was playing Snakes and Ladders with her.

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