The wind was strong that night and tossed the stench of the deadman under doorways. Ida tucked the blanket over her head but still the rot seeped through the weave, souring the wool. Across the fire pit, her parents were lumps of limbs similarly cocooned and illuminated by the glowing coals. Ida gathered the edges of her blanket and shuffled around the fire. Her father lifted the bedding and her mother beckoned for Ida to lie between them. She shed her blanket like an old skin, relieved from the itching shiver down her spine. Immediately Ida nuzzled into the waves of her mother’s black hair. She smelled of sage and smoked meat from her time spent outside. However, despite Mother’s aroma, the decay still lingered to curl Ida’s nose hairs and she gulped air through her mouth. Closing her eyes, Ida forced herself to sleep.
The darkness brought dreams of dust devils. Ida was unashamedly afraid and turned wildly to run. Her mother had warned her to stay clear of sand tornadoes and this one threatened to take hold of her and pull her into the sky. Her hair stung her cheeks as the wind whipped across the earth. For miles and miles and miles, Ida could only see earth as even the sky was the color of sand. The whole world an indistinguishable vacuum.
-Excerpt “The Turning Mountain” ’15
Image: Lacuna Passage the game