01 October 2009

"Sandstorm" #Fridayflash

The sand shivered under the pin-pricked night sky just outside of the city. Beside a hulking transport, a thief dozed lightly, his snores drifting over his mustache and music like off-key music. His son Fadre whispered in dreams and turned in his dusty bedroll.

Again a slight tremor—a trickle—of earth's backbone and in its midst, an instant sinkhole. A spiny ridge appeared, dull and black; stark against the mediocre bland of the sand rushing to meet it. Somewhere, a pillar in the process of toppling over on the weeded and cracked temple floor gave its Swan Song.

Fadre awoke, his dark pupils obsidian discs in the growing white as he slowly rose, showing his teeth. The dimple in the desert was growing wider and discernible even at this distance. Red thundered behind his vision as his heart dumped spiked-lightning adrenalin into his blood as the ground quaked.

The low vibration echoed through the ground to brush the soles of his feet as he stood peering out into that moonless darkness, where sense rather than sight told him that the sand was going down. More stones met their final fate to fall from the heights where hands placed them so many eras ago. The black center of the sandy dahlia lifted higher, curved like an angry whip mid-lash. Black horns encrusted with glittering jewels followed this spine, and the boy staggered backwards, his small mouth wide open in an “o”, but soon dissolved into resolve and he took off running towards the desert, his arms pistoning at his sides, his lungs compressing and filling with hot, disturbed air.

The jeweled crown opened a cat's eye to peer out onto the world and the boy stumbled in shock, falling to one knee scraping against the jagged grit of the desert floor.

A black, segmented tongue, and the ridge beyond crawled and slithered with shimmers, inky and iridescent, bedecked in scales, each as large as a soldier's shield and the rest of the body was working free of the sand from which it seemed to have been born. A sinuous tail thrust up through the desertscape, primeval and strange.

A gigantic sail broke free, shooting out to block out the stars and Fadre looked up, mouth still open as sand rained down from it: deep, dark and veined, with hints of visceral red pulsating in raised veins branched out across the under surface.

With a sonic scream, which felt like noise, amidst the blast of superheated air, the beast rose from its sandy grave: wings unfurled, then folded, then lifted head overhead. A mere claw on this creature was the size of a transport for ten of his father's men. Its proud, arched neck undulated as it surveyed its surroundings and drove its wings down in one powerful swing, stirring up the desert winds and sands, first driving Fadre back as he clung to the ground, then tossing him like a rag-doll past where his father was just now stirring, just in time to witness the approaching sandstorm.


litrock said...

Have to say, not where I expected that to go. I was all settled down for a Dune or Tatooine type story and then WHABAM--sand dragon. Or I assume it's a sand dragon?

Hehe. Nice description, though. I've got this silly fascination with deserts as symbology. I don't know where I ever picked it up. But I do like the idea of such a massive swell of life in an otherwise barren place.

Laura Eno said...

Nice, piece-by-piece description. I could build the image of a dragon from it without you using that word. :)

Anonymous said...

Ooooo... I lurve dragons... I digs. :)

Marisa Birns said...

See this is why I don't ever go camping in the desert!

Your description of the creature was vividly rendered.

And what a wake-up call for Fadre's father!

Dorothy F. Shaw said...

WOW that was mind blowing. I know I missed stuff reading it so I will have to read it again.

Lily Mulholland said...

My favourite parts were the descriptions of the sinkhole opening ever wider in a grand reveal.

Anonymous said...

A sonic scream that felt like noise. Very nice description. I can feel the noise. I enjoyed most especially the image of the sand hole opening and the hand-place pillars of stone fell in. Immense imagery.

Jeff Posey

Linda said...

More more! This is an excerpt of a larger piece? Very lush, felt I was there in swirling sand, in the dragon's maw... Peace, Linda

J. M. Strother said...

Ah, the birth of a dragon. Nice. Very descriptive piece.

Jodi MacArthur said...

Your work is so beautifully visually stimulating. You through me for another loop this week. I never know what to expect from you and this makes me come back for more. Wonderful fantasy piece.

Rachel Blackbirdsong said...

Very visually stunning piece. Amazing description of the dragon. It was completely unlike anything I've seen before and completely original and mesmerizing.

I'm not usually a fantasy writer, but I really love this.

Clive Martyn said...

Very descriptive with great imagery all the way through. :-)

Michael Solender said...

this is simply dripping with lush, grandeur and wonderment - masterfully painted like a portrait. well done!

Eric J. Krause said...

Wow, what great descriptions! I enjoyed reading this one a TON. ;-) Very nice story!

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

Here there be dragons!
Lovely imagery - the gigantic sail especially!

I must say I'm not sure about "With a sonic scream, which felt like noise"

Carrie Clevenger said...

I want to thank all of you for stopping by. I like that you also tell me what you liked or didn't like. As I become accustomed to being among peers again, I will begin doing the same to you on your pieces.

You all humble me. This is the way it should be.