When you look out over the desert, the sand lifts from the parched earth. Gently spinning in tiny cyclones, before settling again, as if the heat is too much for even the dried particles to have the energy to keep going. The wind is hot, blowing from the south-west, and as you keep your gaze on the shimmering desert, it shows mirages. Keep looking. Step out onto the sand, from your wooden porch. The wood creaks softly, relieved of your weight. Walk out. The sun beats on the top of your head, and the sand lifts in little whirls around your footsteps. Look around. Your house is still there, on the outskirts, a last stand of civilisation against the dusty wilderness. The road stretches away on the other side, winding into oblivion, the heat haze above it making it difficult to see where it goes.

Now you stand in the desert, looking away from civilisation. Nothing but sand, stretching miles away from you. Miles below you. How much has it swallowed over the millenia? Cars, sandblasted clean of paint, scarred hulks sunk deeply. Houses, like yours, live down there, preserved eternally in the sand. Silent, still, untouchable. Cities, once bustling and full of life. Now full of sand, that gently scoured them clean of life, and then engulfed them. The sand swallows everything it touches, eventually. It is just hubris that makes us think we can barricade it out.

Look around again. Did you keep walking? The heat shimmer has swallowed your house. Your refuge. The desert has swallowed it. Now it will swallow you.

The sand swirls softly, raising up into little cyclones that spin before settling, exhausted. The mirages surround you, the dancing figures given life by the shimmer of heat. They hold out their hands to you, if they have them. They promise you water. Trees. Safety. A city. Walk towards the city. Sink down, down into the sand.

Slowly, slowly, entombed in eternal stillness, a city lives as the travellers come home.

Credit To: Anne

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