Brief Synopsis, The Long Thirst

By C. A. Willis

Approx. 85,000 words

A Literary Tale



“How strange, he thought... that at the same moment he was

transformed, she was as well—only in a much more

permanent and horrible way. I’m sorry, Vanessa, so sorry it

was all too late...



The Long Thirst is the story of one man’s journey across the arid plains of Northern India, and the dry, flat expanses of his own soul, as he struggles to transport the body of his dead wife to a village that may not exist and, ultimately, to find his own redemption.


When Andy Holcomb learns of the brutal death of his wife, Vanessa, he is propelled on a quest to return her coffin-entombed, cryogenically frozen body to Gaberdai, the small village in India where he feels she left a piece of her soul. Once in India he encounters Jabhir, the taxi driver, who vows to take him to the village but instead drops him and his now defrosting cargo at a remote crossroads with the promise of a bus to come. Here, in an interweaving of time and space, place and dream, a macabre and often surreal pilgrimage unfolds. Andy drifts dangerously close to the line between sanity and the chaos beyond as he transports his great burden across a barren and unforgiving landscape where characters materialize out of the heat waves like ghosts, and Vanessa, always present, inhabits the dark and vast sea of his dreams.


Eventually, fate deposits Andy and his now fetid load in a small, stark village, which he is not sure is the one he seeks. Here he meets up with the mysterious orphan boy, Jonji, who awaits the fulfillment of a long-ago promise; the old woman, Chacharabai, who lives for the return of her only son who died twenty-five years ago; and Sarosh, the boy becoming a man who lost all hope for his future when the tragic death of his family deposited him in this out-of-the-way corner. Together the four will form a strange bond—a bond that may save them all.


On the vast, dry plains Andy had hoped to reunite Vanessa with what she had lost. Instead he finds himself in a village as barren as their lives had become. But as the clutter of the modern world drifts from his mind, and the fated web of connections weaves into place, he begins to find something else, something on the edge of knowing. And as the rains come at last to the thirsty plain so also, perhaps, comes a new chance for life.


The Long Thirst is a story of life and death, of redemption and renewal, of one man’s search for his place in it all, and of the bond that can hold us all together.


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