Desert Music wailed. Sirens glowed with tortured howls.

‘Any news?’
‘Alright, well, it’s November so to follow the sun t’morrow at the crack a’ dawn will lead southeast to this here river’
That there river is a long fuckin’ way.  
‘Yeah well. I ain’t sitt’n through anuva o’ those nights’
Suit yourself.

She re-wrapped her scarf, nice and tight around her skull, the remaining end tucked over the back of her neck. Her makeshift overalls would need to be replaced soon. She made a conscious effort not to trip over and further tear the scraggly parts dragging behind her like a gothic wedding dress, not least because they were covered in shit. Toilet paper was hard to come by.

As the sun collapsed into a flattened blob on the horizon, Desert Music continued its wail. Sirens howled unrelentingly, and wildlife simply couldn’t help but get itself into a frenzied chorus of barks, crickets and hisses. Cacophonous buzzing above portrayed an army of absurdly large beetles emigrating northwest. Below, sand rustled and floated in the wind, an army in itself. Unstoppable, infinite and disorganized, it would perpetually attack her face, with or without scarf protection and silently rub her skin away.

Perhaps those bugs’r runnin’ away from summat.
‘Or doin’ a nightly hunt, jue to return to their luscious southeastern home by sunrise. Whaddyou know about bugs?’
Exackly as much’s you.
Guys, I wanna sleep. Long day t’morrow, probly’

She took her mind to the stars, the best place to find dreams. She thought about the stars as navigation through the night to avoid the blazing heat of day, but she knew that would just mean a rigorous contest with the blazing freeze of night. Sometimes, burning sunburnt skin is preferable to frostbite. Skin cancer would be preferable to all, if it was quick. She had no idea, but that’s where her dreams took her.

Desert Music howled, sirens wailed, skin crawled. As the ripples in her forearm increased in depth, her throat started to induce vomit. But there was no food. When vomiting without food, large bugs tend to come out. And out they came, in their thousands, flying northeast. As soon as they dispersed, she desperately started sucking up the lake on her forearm to avoid dehydration, but it tasted cancerous. Her teeth instantly started to rot. Knowing they were weakening at the gum line, the sirens wailed harder, and harder, trying to shake them loose. Her head was screaming, the stars were falling. Many dropped lightly into her shit-stained hand, making her conscious of her naked self. Only, she was different. Focussing in the mirror, she saw, to great relief, her body in its original state; clean, white, slender. Above, golden coins continued to drop, making it hard to wade through to get a closer look at herself, smiling –


Eyes open, she felt her arm. Burn-associated pain shot through her. She was awake.



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