Sandstorm

Sandstorm

A Story by Night Edge
"

An attempt to write western sci-fi.

"
Chimes shattered the silence every so often, a clinking of metal against metal as the dusty wind blew past. Clink clink. Clink clink.
Inside the store, the man read through the daily post, gave an occasional murmur behind his mustache, turned the page. Waited.
That was all you could do these days; wait.

The paper was full of disjointed warnings and contradictory stories, of advancing sand crossing the boundaries of the deserts. Water sources drying up. People going out of business. The end of the world… if it hadn’t come already.

“Like I don’t know that.” the man muttered, turning the page. Something about a rise in bandits. Same old, same old. This had been a forest once, he used to tell his customers. The biggest one in all of Eurasia. And don’t you forget it… whippersnappers.

Vrrrrrrrrrrrrrm.
Eeeeeeert.
Clunk.
(And the wind chimes, lightly, clinking against each other in the dry breeze. Clink, clink, clink.)

This caused the man to look up from his paper, adjust his glasses. The two figures dismounted their cycles… odd versions, oriented for side-saddle riding. Models he hadn’t seen in a while, details he couldn’t quite remember.
Twins, from the looks of it, blond hair and nicely tanned skin to boot, both about eighteen.

“If I were fifty years younger…” the man muttered under his breath, folding his paper and placing it back on the table.
The taller one wore a rather odd piece of clothing, a strange fashion the old man hadn’t seen: a red duster, one that trailed all the way down to her feet so that it dragged across the sand as she walked. The sleeves had been ripped off at the shoulder, and the front was left unfastened so that it billowed in the wind, revealing slender legs, a pair of black shorts barely past her thighs, and a bandeau top of the same ebony shade. Her hair, a boyish cut, barely hung past her ears.

She was the one chatting easily to her sister as she bent over to grab the pump for the gas, and the old man followed every movement with eager care through the dusty store-front window. In the back of the store, the glass of the soda bottles clinked and the wind chimes seemed to shiver with anticipation.

The shorter one wore her hair in a simple ponytail, and she too wore a tang top, though no dramatic fashions like her twin. Her bottoms were loose pants that ended at the knee, and boots that made up the rest of the distance. She seemed more serious as she filled up her own sand cycle, and once she was done, turned to face the store.
Her gaze caught the old man’s with the intensity of a dragon, and he turned to look busy with his register.

Too late.

The door opened with a light clink, and the boots thudded across the dirty tiled floor. Only once the noises stopped did he chance to look up from his fiddling and find the barrel of a gun pointed at his forehead.
Silence.

(Except the wind chimes. Clink, clink, clink.)

“Why me?” he finally said, a horse whisper, as the female waved her twin in from outside. She walked inside, a swagger in her step, her chest bouncing perfectly as she scooped sodas, bags of candy, and beer into her arms and coat.

“Because you’re conveniently placed.” the female mused, her voice soft and smooth. One hand held the pistol; the other fiddled with a cross pendant around her neck. “You happened to be in the way.”

“P-Please… obviously you believe in God…”

Click. Another gun.
Two of them.
One at his head; the other at his crotch.

“God doesn’t exist, sorry to say.”

“… Right.”

“You got everything, Z?”

The girl popped her head up from behind one of the racks, her duster full to the brim with spoils. “Dude… they’ve got beef jerky! Real cow beef jerky!”

“Take it.”

The man whimpered lightly; he had been planning on raking in some major cash for that jerky. Maybe moving to somewhere the deserts hadn’t reached yet: somewhere quiet, maybe cold. Maybe even rain, if he was lucky. “P-Please…”

“I’m sorry, sir.”

Her eyes moved to the newspaper sitting on the counter. “Guess you didn’t read page six.”

She slid it around the counter so it sat in front of them, used one gun to nudge it open to page six. Pointed to the pictures.
Kissentell twins. Twenty thousand golden pennos.
Wanted: dead or alive.

He should’ve known.

“You done yet?”

“Almost!”

The duster was almost falling off the girl’s thin shoulders as she walked back, her own two pistols in her hands.
(The wind chime outside clinked merrily in the wind.)
She gave a cheerful grin to the poor man, making a peace sign with her fingers.

“Thanks for your cooperation.”

“We’ll be leaving. We doubt you’ve got anybody to call in the middle of nowhere… but if there is, don’t try anything.”

“Have a nice day!”

The door clinked shut. The cycles started up.
And like that, they were gone. The man watched the speck of red until it vanished into the blue horizon, behind the shimmering waves of heat.
He gripped the counter tightly, shaking with anger and fear and doubt.
If nobody else came, he doubted he could make it much longer. Maybe he was destined to die in this desert. Maybe he was destined to do so because he had never really taken the chance to do anything other then sit in a chair and serve up those who made their living like leaves on the desert wind.

His eyes moved back to the picture in the paper again: there they were, smirking up at him, as if on some inside joke he would never really understand.

Zeiki and Annabelle Kissentell.
Each of them worth ten thousand golden pennos, for stealing, killing, and all around no-goodery.
Wanted: dead or alive.

He paused, glancing up at the window, and gave a small salute, sinking into his chair.

“G’luck, gals.”

The wind chimes clinked together in the wind. Clink clink, clink clink.

© 2010 Night Edge


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Reviews

This is a great story (Meaning; I like the premise, the characters are believable and the writing is fluent).
The only issue I noticed was, in the beginning, the tense seems off. It swaps a bit from past to present. It was noticable, so change it, but other than that I saw no other grammatical/literary errors.

This really is a great story. I didn't really get a "sci-fi" edge out of it, primarilly because it is short, but I can sort of see some sort of "punk" tone to it; not sure which.

Nice to read something good.

Posted 9 Years Ago


This was a great read. wish there was more. I would even like to read a story on the twins.

Posted 9 Years Ago


You certainly know how to set up and execute a thrilling story NE! and the layout is perfect I hope? I am writing at the mo and I may take a lesson from your pro formatting in dialogue. The old man learned his lesson, I wonder if those girls ever will? lol the sound affects are brill

clink clinking at you

with a smile

from Tai

Posted 9 Years Ago


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Added on May 14, 2010
Last Updated on May 14, 2010

Author

Night Edge
Night Edge

Portland, OR



About
Night Edge is my superhero name. Don't ask. I'm quite confident in my awesomeness although some people might disagree. I enjoy writing. It's my life blood. I'm not shy about anything. But I'm almo.. more..

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