Sunday, September 2, 2012

Desert Spice, Part 7 & 8 of 17

     After they ate, Brandon studied his board. “I think these are for sitting on, and these leather straps are for holding on to. Maybe we can use them on the dunes.”
     “Going downhill anyway,” Alexi said rubbing her hand over the slick, colorful surface of her board.
     Just then Brandon looked up at the top of the dune behind them and spotted two men on giant black horses. As he started to point them out to Alexi, they charged their horses and headed in their direction.
     “Let’s get out of here,” Brandon shouted. “You take your board and the bread; I’ll grab mine and the jug of water. Hurry.”
     “They’re shooting arrows at us, Brandon,” Alexi screamed. “Why are they coming for us?”
      “I’m not waiting around to find out what they want.”
     As the two horsemen drew nearer, Alexi and Brandon ran for their lives clutching their boards with the bread and water. Then Alexi tripped trying to make her way up the sand dune and landed on her painted board. Before she knew what was happening, like magic the board started to move and whirled her up to the top of the sand dune.
     “Brandon, did you see that?” She shouted.
     Before he answered, he sat down on his board to avoid the arrows flying over him. When he grabbed hold of the straps, his board did the same thing and he too found himself at the top of the dune.
     “This is incredible!” he said. “With these, those two, whoever they are, will never catch us. Sit up on yours and let’s get moving.”
     When they arrived at the top of the next dune, they saw that they were out of reach of the two men’s arrows. Then the wind started to blow the sand—the horse men jumped off their horses and covered themselves and the horses with their capes.
     “It’s a sand storm Alexi,” Brandon yelled above the roaring wind.
      “What should we do,” she screamed.
     “Huddle closely to me, cover your face and sit on your board.”
     The wind whipped the sand all around, and it began to cover their legs. “What if we get buried and can’t get out?” Alexi cried out, choking from a huge gust of sand that took her by surprise.
     “Don’t talk; we’ll worry about that when the time comes.” Brandon reached into his pants pockets and pulled out the shirt pieces they had used on their heads the day before. “Cover your head and face with this.”
     Alexi gasped, petrified of the storm. Thoughts of dying came into her head, though she wasn’t sure she was not already dead. The day she had turned eighteen, just three years before, she’d had to go to her dear grandmother’s funeral. It was the first time she had ever known the death of a loved one. Right after that she began to dress cheaply, as her mother said. She couldn’t exactly say what caused the transformation in her attitude, except she had been a good girl all her life until the funeral made her realize how short life was. Now experiencing the sand storm, she was sorry for the disrespect she had shown her parents.
     Should she ever find her way out of this horrid desert, she vowed to herself that she would change her ways. As she lay there with her mind on her life, she suddenly felt the sting of the sand hitting her body and she cried out.
     “Oh Brandon, I’m scared.”
     “Don’t talk,” he answered harshly. 

     Meanwhile, the two men chasing Brandon and Alexi, Odious Gresham and his servant, Ordo, crouched alongside their horses with their capes drawn over them to protect them. “I’m pleased to see new blood come to the Meshullam,” Odious Gresham said. “If we did not have new blood every now and then on this miserable planet, life would surely be a bore.”
     “Indeed, sire,” Ordo replied, “but you must admit the real fun comes in the chase.”
     “Indeed, but I will have the woman, for I can see even from this distance that she is young and beautiful.”
     “She’ll make a fine addition to your harem, oh magnificent one.”
     As the two villainous desert rats conversed about the delights of new humans in their land, a gust of wind came along and took Odious Gresham’s cape away.
     “Blast!” He screamed. “Give me your cover Ordo,” he commended as he yanked it from his servant’s hand.”
     As soon as he took cover again, the wind abruptly stopped.
     “Are you alright, Alexi?” Brandon asked.
     Appreciating his concern, she replied, “I thought I was going to die.” She paused. “No actually I was wondering if we’re already dead and if this is hell.”
     “You could be right about this being hell, but I don’t think we’re dead.” He pointed at the sand dune behind them, “Those men are already on their horses. Let’s get out of here!”
     Without effort, Brandon and Alexi soared up and down the sand dunes faster than it seemed any desert horse could have managed. Brandon let go of the strap on his sand board and it stopped within in a foot of where he let go. He hollered for Alexi, but she had seen him stop and was already halted a few yards behind him.
     “It must be the straps that control the movement, but I wonder if they will turn or go backwards?” Brandon asked.
     “Perhaps they’re only meant to go straight ahead,” Alexi laughed, “and it’s only one speed, racing.”
     “You have a very pretty smile, Alexi. You should do it more often. But never mind that, it appears that those two horsemen are nowhere in sight.”
        "Maybe we out ran them with our boards.”
     “You will never out run us,” the voice behind them shouted.
     “It’s them, pull on the strap and the board will go.” screamed Brandon as he shot ahead of Alexi.

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