Remember my desert-themed prompt contest from last October? This image was one of the prompts I used. Well, it inspired me too! So here is my interpretation of the prompt. I didn’t limit myself to 100 words, though, because I’m allowed to break my own rules. 😉
Bones clattered in Rasul’s sack with each movement his camel took. He gripped the reins more tightly, swaying with the steps of his mount. Though his keffiyeh shielded him from the sun’s rays, sweat dripped from his skin.
“Look ahead!” Baqir pointed with a sun-darkened hand. Not ten camel-lengths in front of them, the tip of a thick white bone gleamed in the harsh sunlight. The rest disappeared into the sand.
“Oh!” Almas peered around Baqir’s broad back. “A new skeleton? Where do you think it came from? Is it a mirage?”
“It seems real.” Rasul let a smile curl his lips. There would be coin in their coffers soon enough. “The wind must have stirred the dunes to reveal this one. Fate smiles upon us today.”
They were lucky that they hadn’t accidentally trod on a skeleton. That could seriously wound a camel depending on if the creature slipped or even impaled itself on the protruding bones. Fortunately, that sort of unfortunate mishap had only happened twice in Rasul’s time of gathering.
Almas bounced, and the camel shifted uneasily at its passenger’s behavior.
Baqir jerked the reins, and the camel settled down. “Watch it, boy,” the stocky man snapped.
“Sorry!” Almas stilled only momentarily before resuming his bouncing. Baqir let out a low growl.
Rasul ignored his companions and gazed at the bone. It was a good find indeed. There had been a time when this area of the desert was rife with tanim skeletons. Everywhere one looked, bones would protrude from the sand, great ribcages and powerful limbs, even thin wing-bones. It was a mass tanim grave, left over from some great battle before Rasul’s time.
But now, moons after Rasul and Baqir had started gathering the bones, the skeletons had become more and more rare. Unfortunately, the demand for bones had not lessened; in fact, it grew greater and greater as their fame grew. For who could resist talismans of luck and protection?Read More »