Thick dust whirled upward in a swirling column, thinning out and widening in breadth the higher the wind whipped into the sky. A dust devil. Close enough to my position in the middle of sandy scrub land that the dusty air rendered the sun above hazy. Close enough for the wind whistling through desert plants and scattering gravel every direction to take on the rattle of millions of skittering little feet.
Heat beat down on the top of my head. My bag lay somewhere to my left, to avoid getting mucky. I stood in the path of the column of dust, which rose and fell, rose and fell. I panted from my run to get there, eyeing the erratic motion of the thick base. Three times my width.
Here was good.
The dust devil bore down on me with a roar. I screwed my eyes shut and opened my palms at my side. Leaned into the wind slapping at me from all directions, twisting my hair. Felt dust and sand and gravel scour at my cheeks and palms. Wished the wind would lift me from my feet and carry me away.
But my feet remained bound to earth. In a blink, the dust devil passed, leaving me gasping in its wake. Hair and face and skin caked in dirt.
Turning, I watched the dust devil recede, losing momentum and structure. I licked my lips and spat, brown sludge mixing with the sand between my shoes. The thirsty ground wicked the moisture right up.
In the distance, the dust devil abruptly fell apart, collapsing and drifting away in the hot wind as if it had never existed.
Little granules of dirt ground between my teeth when I grinned. What fun.
In the distance, another dust devil rose.
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