The awkward moment when you’ve been writing posts between two computers… Then accidentally restore an older draft without having backups. Still, take two.
I told Francesca that searching for the Fountain of Youth was a fool’s errand, but she insisted on following the stories. Alexander crossed the Land of Darkness in his search for the Waters of Life. All those capitalisations and yet nothing concrete about its location. Just vague ideas and stories.
We followed the Alexander story as far as we could. His of course, had he found it prior to his death in 323 BC, well, he wouldn’t have died. So that ruled out most of Asia. But the legend states that he crossed the Land of Darkness to find it. What Francesca and I took this to mean is that it wasn’t a physical crossing.
The Land of Darkness refers to his death. The Waters lie in the lands he was working to conquer and explore, Arabia and Africa.
“So that’s where we go. Should we start with circumnavigating Africa or exploring Arabia?” She’d asked me. We’d had an argument about it. I figured that the reference to the Land of Darkness had a double meaning, that it was also talking about Africa. The Dark Continent.
Of course, Francesca being Francesca decided I was wrong. That it was too obvious to be referring to Africa. So we started by searching old Arabia.
You want to know what that came up with? Diddly squat, that’s what. We blew most of our savings on that disastrous trip that had us run out of Baghdad, shot at in Sana’a and nearly drowned on Failaka island. All without the slightest hint of the Fountain.
So we turned our eyes to Africa. With our limited funds, we managed to get passage into Egypt, but that’s where we ran out of cash. That’s when we needed to make things work.
That’s where this story really gets going. Cairo, in the summer of 2025.
The one and only thing that got to me as we got off the plane was how goddamn hot it was. Mercy was meeting us inside the airport, but I had no idea how I was going to be able to see through the sweat in my eyes.
Still, Mercy said she’d found something. An old scroll with a reference to Living Waters. So at least we had a start.
The Idiot in Tin Foil