Author: Samuel Edney

He’d wandered too far. He’d wasn’t paying attention and had wandered too far and now it was darkening as the storm had descended upon them. Mother was going to shout at him. She was going to be so angry.

‘Darling, where are you?’

If he turned back now, maybe she wouldn’t be so mad but he couldn’t see the way back anymore, blotted out like the sun on the horizon. He called out but immediately clasped his mouth shut as the storm howled all around him and filled is mouth with sand. He tried to turn, to follow his footsteps back to Mother, but any trace of his journey to where he stood was erased now. His legs felt warm even through the fibres of his suit. He looked down to see his legs encased in the sand. She was going to be so disappointed in him. In his weakness.

‘Come back! Playtime is over now’

Shielding his eyes, he swore he saw the dunes move. Undulate. Melt.

Toward him.

He didn’t like it. It was too loud, the sand hurt his face as it cut his cheeks and now he didn’t care what Mother would say or what she would think of him. He called out to her but the noise! It was too much and the darkness closed in, the faint orange glow of the sun bouncing off of the sand’s surface shrinking away under the assault.

Something brushed past his feet.

‘If you don’t come back now I am leaving without you!’

He howled as a sharp pain struck up his leg. He heaved it free, blood pouring freely from two deep bite marks, ripped deep through the synthetic fabric of the trouser leg. Spittle dripped through his gritted teeth as he planted the leg back in the sand, then freed the other, hands hooked under the knee, dragging it forward.

A spit of orange fire in the storm as Mother fired up her engines.

‘Fine! Have it your way!’

One step. Two. Over and over. His head throbbed, his ears boomed, his legs screamed in pain and spewed blood from so, so many punctures and he lost his balance in the pitch blackness, fell forward, arms lost to the sand, dragged under by whatever it was under there that was tearing through his suit and feeding on his flesh in the midnight.

The puncture of dripping orange just beyond the rolling dunes popped to a blue. The roar of Mother’s engines punched through the rushing wind as she lifted up, up, further and further into the darkness and away.

Sand filled his throat as he screamed and screamed for her to come back and then his throat was nothing but sand and all he could think about was how much he let Mother down as he was shredded into a thousand pieces and pulled down into suffocating oblivion.