The caravan was a long snake of wagons and tents. It moved at night, under the stars, then there it was, the next day, camped in another place.

The caravan had water - the smell reached across the sand - had food - and those smells too - and shelter. The caravan had a way to get out of the desert.

"Don't approach the caravans" had made sense when they were younger. When they were weak. But her sister was gone and she had nothing left.

She had reached the first tent when she noticed something off. She was inside its open flap when she realized there were no sounds of people, no chatter, not even a camel snort.

She had grabbed the water and swallowed the guest-sip every desert place allowed when she heard the flap start to close.

Don't approach the caravans. Don't let them see you.

Don't get inside, whatever you -

she took off running just as the tent reared up, the floor opening in a giant maw


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