SANDSTORM

Tim Tucker

There was once a young man who became seperated from his caravan during a sandstorm. Once the winds had died down he found himself lost amidst a sculpted sea of sand, an endless beach that offered no promise of an ocean, only the undulating and knife crested landscape of dunes that stretched before him like a desolute wasteland. The sun stood directly above his head, a merciless sentinel against the faded blue ribbon of sky and there was nothing to see for miles on end except for sand, sand, and more sand. Within minutes rivulets of sweat exploded across his body.

He was very thirsty.

For an unknown amount of time he walked over rocks and dunes, his skin burned to a tan leather by the sun. If he listened closely he could almost hear the desert singing to him, the winds conspiring through ragged dune formations to create an almost mournful crescendo. He trudged along on gaunt, rubbery legs through the white hot sands, his mouth as wide and parched as a desert cave and tongue as shriveled as a dry sponge. Just when he thought he could go on no longer he decided to give in to the whispering sands, that soft, ethereal voice that went against his better judgment and when he saw the city of tents just over the horizon his better judgment ceased to exist entirely.

He half crawled and pulled himself towards salvation, the voice of the desert growing louder, beckoning him. Upon reaching the city of tents he was accosted by a group of sun bronzed women, the song of the desert drifting from behind their veils and their eyes as bright as jewels. In rivers of silk he was led into one of the larger tents where veiled dancers undulated like charmed snakes. He watched the dancers while servant girls brought him a platter of food and flagon of wine as red as blood. After thoroughly indulging in the food and wine he jumped in between the dancers and twirled in a sea of silk, his mind soaring with inhibitionless wonder. He grabbed the closest of the dancers, removed her veil and kissed her, only to have his lips press into a dry and desert scarred skull.

His drunken stupor was replaced by the searing hot fever dream of reality. The tents were gone, the dancers were gone, and in their wake was the encroaching desert winds of another sandstorm brewing. Moaning softly to the shifting, moving sands he raised the flagon of wine, no more than a battered pot, to his mouth and began to swallow mouthful after mouthful of sand.

Soon his stomach became a bloated barrel as the desert claimed another victim.

THE END