The Running Sands

dads desert boat final


I drank a little extra water and pressed on through the hot wind. But at the top of each rise I could see the long depression a little more clearly, and it really did look like there was a river flowing through it. Dark colors stretched along its length, stark against the bright sand, and it appeared to be flowing east. I began to worry; I hadn’t counted on what the heat might do to my mind despite the presence of the stones.

But as I drew closer, I doubted my doubt. It really did look like a river of dark, churning water. Could heat visions seem this real?

Topping another tremendously tall dune, I stopped with a gasp. Far below me and stretching from horizon to horizon in an almost straight line lay my river. Through the misty drog I guessed it about one hundred yards wide and flowing fast with breaking waves of various heights churning in the stiff breeze.

But something was wrong. The waves moved much too slowly, and peaked with bursts of dark mist that carried with the wind far too long, giving the drog a shadowy hue. And the sound was unlike any river I’d ever heard; this was not the rolling rush of water, but high-pitched and hissing as if it was made of…

“It’s sand,” I said, removing my head-wrap. “Diamonds! It’s flowing black sand!”

Original artwork, as always, by the incomparable KTJ.

Interested in reading an advance copy? Just let me know.



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