BOOTLICKER

Heat-Bent

2009-07-02

Having returned to the vehicle once in an attempt to resurrect the engine, they used the red night sky to work their way West, in a line. The three were quiet, silhouetted against the wavy dunes and their feet dragged two columns through the sand. Harkoff had strapped the rifle to his back, it slapped against his leather bodice.

Lights rose from the horizon after hours of trekking, two moons had moved North-To-South over the journey, the night had also reached its coldest. Somewhere, far away was a source of water, and the frozen bodies of the invisibles grew damp, dew growing on their leather. Far, far away, melodies echoed ominously, strange bells appeared to ring behind them, creating ghostly harmonies.

They hit the ground.

“First one’s up in -”, Shrendig checked her wristwatch. “Half an hour.”

“That gives us three hours of half-light.”

“How far away is it?”

Foolio shoved a massive bare hand on Harkoff’s head to prevent him from getting up.

“Thirty miles or so,” he whispered.

Some moments passed. The desert surrounded these distant lights, and it concealed nothing. Perhaps only during the high heat of the day, when barriers of illusions rose from their small white-glowing coals, but not during the half-light. Not when the smallest sun smeared orange light over the world. Eyes could peer from the distant lights and spy whatever lurked beyond.

“They’re praying.”

“You’re praying you’ll make the 30 mile marathon with that thing,” Foolio hissed.

“They’re praying. They’ll be praying until the second sun rises. They think it won’t come if they don’t.”

[c]