“Nashida, why aren’t you helping me?”
Shida squinted her eyes through the sandstorm, shielding her face. Galun was on the ground, huddling, hiding his face, yet she could hear his accusations as clearly as if he were next to her.
“Shida, help me!”
“You were supposed to go back home!” she shouted back, stepping forward slowly. She couldn’t move any faster, though she was desperately trying to. Galun shouldn’t have even gone out in the first place, but he had. She knew he would. So she had gone after him. To help him.
To save him from the desert storm when it appeared.
“You were supposed to save me!” he argued. “You’re the oldest!”
“I’m trying!” She tried not to cry as it would just get more sand stuck to her face, but she felt them threatening to come anyway. She wanted nothing more than to help her brother, but he was just so far away!
“You’re the one who’s been adventuring before!” Galun continued. “Why didn’t you warn me?”
“I tried to stop you,” she said, pausing as a gust threw sand in her face. She blinked heavily and tried to see again. “And I’m trying to help you, Gaun!”
He looked up at her, and what she could see of his face was devoid of emotion. Her stomach dropped. “No you’re not.”
They were suddenly in a pyramid, the sandstorm was gone.
Shida stared at his emotionless face, aghast. Galun was always expressing some emotion or another, anger or joy, laughing or yelling. But now it was nothing. An empty parchment where even his eyes fading into dark holes.
“You don’t care if I survive,” he intoned.
She was crying now, but even without the sandstorm she found her steps impeded and impossibly slow for some reason. “N-no, I—I’m trying, Galun, I—”
“You haven’t even been looking for me,” he stated, darkness increasing around him.
He continued staring at her, disinterested. Then in a flash, his arm was severed and lying in his lap, a gash bled from his face, bone jutted from his side, and his mouth opened in a garish scream—
Shida jolted awake, gasping. Sweating. Shit.
The sun was down. Around her was cool, sandy, and empty.
She sat up and continued trying to regulate her breathing, taking deeper breaths, holding her arms tightly.
Galun wasn’t there, he was at home. He wasn’t being held anywhere in the desert, he was at home. He wasn’t being dismembered or—
She shook her head. The desert was trying to kill her, just like it tried to kill everyone. It got inside her head and tried to make her wish it would just kill her.
God, why did it just have to focus on Galun? She had more siblings, more family. Why didn’t it ever do anything with anyone else?
She stood and took her sweat-soaked robe off. She couldn’t sleep now anyway, and it wasn’t hot anymore. Good a time as any to continue walking.
She consulted her map once more before heading out towards a shape on the map.
She hoped it wasn’t a pyramid.