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Angel of the Sands: Part 3

After a moment to consider your response, you place your hand into his and allow him to lead you through the crowds to a large deep red tent. It’s one of only a few already set up and around it you see many more armed and topless men facing outwards like silent sentinels.

As you draw closer, two of the otherwise unmoving men part and pull open a flap. Your rescuer leads you inside and a small swishing noise lets you know the gap has been closed after you.

Inside feels warmer than outside. A small fire burns merrily in the middle, the thin wisps of smoke drifting up to a small hole in the very centre of the canvas. Spread around this in a circle are many cushioned areas and further back again a large bed with netted curtains drawn around it, and several low tables with cushions for kneeling in front of. Each table has food, cosmetics or jewellery laid out on it, similar to the gifts you have already.

“All this is yours, Angel,” he says, disturbing you from your inspection of it all. “Come, sit, and let us eat.”

Never letting go of your hand he moves with you to the centre and motions for you to sit on a collection of large blue cushions. As soon as you are comfortable he settles down beside you, his skin almost touching yours. Given that there are so many other places to sit you, this seems strange but until you know more you cannot say if it is normal behaviour or not.

Within seconds of sitting, the tent flaps open again and the same female servants as before come rushing in, each carrying platters of food. The smell of roasted meat and other foods you don’t recognise fills the tent as they come towards you. Once the food is placed within reaching distance around you, everyone but one girl leaves. She stands off to one side, a bowl in her hands.

“Try this,” Temullgei says as he lifts the nearest platter and presents it to you. An almost blackened meat sits in a thick mush of something that smells sweet. You hesitate a moment unsure about using your fingers before you take the plunge and lift a small piece to your lips.

The taste of apple and chargrilled pork fills your mouth. While you chew he gazes at you, his eyes searching your face for a reaction. You smile, not sure what else to do while you’re eating. He takes your gesture in the affirmative and takes a handful of the meat as well. His hunger is evident as he barely chews before he swallows, but he doesn’t take any more until you do.

The same ritual of him following your lead is passed through several more times as he offers you the other dishes. You try everything at least once, although some of the fruit dishes are too tart for your likes. Most of the platters are meats, but one tastes a lot like a sort of sweet potato. At no point were you given utensils so by the time you have filled your stomach you have sticky fingers and aren’t sure where to place them.

“Done?” he asks when you shake your head at the next platter he offers you.

“Yes, thank you.”

Leaning back a little he says something to the girl at the side. She gets up and brings the bowl she’s been holding the entire time over to you. As she kneels he says another few curt words you don’t understand. In response she hands him the bowl and gets back up.

With the bowl of what looks like water between you, he takes your hands and washes them for you. His hands feel rough to yours but every motion is gentle and deliberate. The water is cool, but not too cold.

Once he’s done, he quickly scrubs his own. Just as he finishes the girl hands him a cloth and he dries your hands as gently as he washed them, caressing each finger with the soft material. When both of you are clean and dry the girl comes forward again and takes the bowl and cloth. With a small bow she hurries from the tent, leaving you alone with the clan leader.

“Drink?” he asks as he gets up from beside you.

“Yes, please,” you reply. Not sure what you’ll be given but aware of how little you’ve drunk the last few days. You watch him as he pours two chalices of a liquid you can’t see from a pitcher standing on one of the small tables nearby.

He hands you your drink as he comes back and retakes his position at your side. While staring at you he waits. It occurs to you that he might be waiting for you to drink first, just as he’d eaten after you had, so you lift the chalice to your lips and taste the red liquid. You’re pleased to find it’s a wine that tastes sweet and refreshing.

As you suspected he now drinks and almost downs his entire chalice. Silence falls between you and you fidget awkwardly. After a little longer your mind picks up on something you can say.

“Thank you for finding me,” you say and notice he’s still staring at you.

“Do not thank me. I came as soon as I knew.” He smiles again. “An Angel such as yourself is important to our people. My tribe will take you back to our home city. There you will be safe, at least for some time.”

You nod, not sure what to reply to this statement. Although he is being kind and courteous so far, you know so little about him and his people that you worry about saying something wrong.

“I must say, I am honoured to have found you. And relieved. If one of the other Khaads had got to you,” he looks away and shakes his head, before continuing. “I offer you my protection, Angel. My tribe and I will keep you from harm, at the sake of our own lives if it comes to it.”

“Thank you,” you reply.

He lifts his hand and strokes a stray strand of your hair away from your face, before pulling back and frowning.

“Forgive me. I… I shouldn’t have touched you.” He gets up and bows. “I will let you rest now, Angel. I hope I can receive the honour of your company again soon.”

Without waiting for you to reply, he hurries from the tent. You watch him go and frown once you’re alone. A minute later the same girl who gave you food and clothes when you were found comes in and bows. Behind her several more servants come and take away all the left over food while she opens the curtains on your bed and pulls back the blankets. Afterwards she bows again and hurries after the retreating servants.

You’re alone again and you suspect the maid was hinting you should go to bed, but you’re not sure what you want to do. You feel tired but you’ve learnt very little about the people you’re with and even less about how you got here and why you’re thought of as an Angel.

What do you do?

Go to bed.

Leave the tent and try to find Temullgei to ask a few questions

Leave the tent and take a look around.

Stay in the tent and investigate its contents.

This story is entirely free to the reader and will continue to be throughout, but as you might have gathered from the website around this I make my living from writing fiction. This post is over 1000 words long and took me a few hours to write and polish. Although it’s definitely not a must, if you enjoyed this and want to say thank you in a monetary fashion please consider becoming a patron of mine at Patreon (a lot like kickstarter but more of a pledge per episode/installment sort of thing). You can also say thank you by sharing this with friends who might enjoy it or dropping me a message here or through my email address.

Angel of the Sands: Part 2

Not wasting time on trying to request a spoon or fork you pull your body into a semi-upright position and lift the wooden bowl to your chest. The oaty substance cools the burning skin as you scoop it up to your mouth. The first few mouthfuls barely register with your senses as you chew and swallow them as swiftly as you can, unable to slow even if you wished to.

By the time the bowl is half empty your stomach loosens its control of your pace and you give your mouth time to taste the substance. It has a similar texture to porridge, but more creamy, with a subtle after taste much like goat’s milk.

When you finally feel full you notice you’ve wiped the bowl clean, and you spend the next minute making sure you have every last morsel off your fingers. Satisfied, you sigh and lie back. It makes you feel a little better that you’re enclosed and no one saw the ungraceful eating, but you’re not sure you’d have cared even if someone had been able to see. One taste of the food had overridden everything but your survival instincts anyway.

The tent like structure domes above you and helps keep the worst of the sun off but you still feel hotter than you’re used to or comfortable with, but you can’t be bothered to move and try and remedy the situation. Now that your hunger is satisfied and you’re no longer in immediate danger your body lets you know it wants to rest by making it difficult to keep your eyes open. Combined with the gentle rocking that only lulls your senses further, you lose the battle and slip into a peaceful sleep.


Several hours later you wake to find the same brown woman sitting beside you. Your little tent is darker than it was and significantly cooler. It’s also stopped rocking back and forth, but you can still hear the sounds of people moving and talking outside. Your companion smiles at you and takes your arm to help you sit up.

As soon as you’re half-vertical she scoots around you and you feel her brushing your blonde hair. A moment later she braids it in one length down your back.

“Thank you,” you say when she finishes and comes back to your side. She just smiles and holds out what looks like folded clothing. Not knowing what else to do you take it. Before you can try and ask her anything she leaves again, pulling the flap shut behind you. You’re fairly sure you’ve been given the clothes to change into so you unfold them and find a single gown-like piece of clothing from a very light, almost see through material as well as a contrasting sash.

Hastily you pull off your top, trying not to irritate your burnt skin and wrap the gown around you, realising it only goes over one shoulder while the other is held in place with hooks attaching it to the top flap just underneath your armpit. The deep blue material would have looked good on you had the burning of your otherwise pale skin not been made more obvious by this change in clothing. You sigh as you remove your shoes, socks and jeans, and smooth down the skirt so you’re decent once again.

Not sure if the woman is going to come back, you move towards the flap and lift it to see out. Instantly she notices you and comes rushing over to help you out. Once you’re standing she takes the sash and wraps it around your waist, tying it in an elaborate bow at the back. While she fusses over your appearance you gaze at your surroundings.

Many men and women are scurrying here and there, erecting large tent structures that look a little like yurts. In pens here and there are many horses, far more than you’ve ever seen before. The sun is setting in the sky, casting an orange glow over everything and making the brown and grey canvases look alive with colour.

Everyone who notices you stares until you look in their direction, and then they glance away, seeming embarrassed and hurry about whatever activity you’d distracted them from. As soon as the woman is finished she pushes you back to sit in the opening of the litter. As you sit the dress lifts enough to reveal your feet. Within seconds she kneels in front of you and places a bowl of cool water at your feet. One by one she uses cloth to clean your feet and then another to dry them off before slipping them into matching shoes.

When she’s done she helps you stand again. You glance up to see the man who’d rescued you stride through the crowds. His eyes never leave you. Judging by the stern look on his face and the way everyone else scurries to get out of his way, he is the leader of these people. Behind him are several more men, but they hang back and allow him to dictate their path. All of them are topless, and tanned deep bronze colours and have the front and sides of their hair short with long braids down their backs, not too dissimilar from your own.

As the men get closer you notice women scurrying after as well, each of them carrying a package of some kind. When your rescuer reaches you he sinks down to one knee and bows before you, everyone else follows his example You gasp. The stern look on his face vanishes as he gets up and allows his eyes to look over you. For a moment no one says anything and an awkward silence develops.

“Forgive us, Angel. We came as fast as our horses could,” he says in his strange accent, his eyes still never leaving your face or body. You open and close your mouth, having no idea what to say in response. One by one the girls come forward and offer you the packages, opening up the plain cloths to reveal more clothing, clay jars that look like perfumes, jewellery and furs. No one else speaks until the gifts have all been laid at your feet.

“I hope they are to your liking, Angel. You’re the first… woman to ever arrive. We weren’t prepared.”

“They’re fine,” you reply, still overwhelmed.

“I am Temullgei Khaad, and these are my people.” he motions to the girls and men waiting with him, taking his eyes off you for a brief second. “My Gerd is being made available for you to use, another gift, Angel. If you are not too tired I wish to have your company during my night meal.”

He smiles and offers you his hand.

What do you do?

Decline his invitation and ask to rest for the night so you can find out more about these people before you interact with them socially.

Accept but be guarded with what you say and do.

Accept and ask lots of questions about where you are and why he keeps calling you Angel.

Accept and tell him everything you know in the hope he can help you get back home.

If you want to re-read part 1 it’s here.

This story is entirely free to the reader and will continue to be throughout, but as you might have gathered from the website around this I make my living from writing fiction. This post is over 1000 words long and took me a few hours to write and polish. Although it’s definitely not a must, if you enjoyed this and want to say thank you in a monetary fashion please consider becoming a patron of mine at Patreon (a lot like kickstarter but more of a pledge per episode/installment sort of thing). You can also say thank you by sharing this with friends who might enjoy it or dropping me a message here or through my email address.

Angel of the Sands: Part 1

So this is my usual sharing blog and that’s when I normally give you lovely readers an excerpt from one of my books soon to be released or something like that, but for a while a couple of years ago I ran through an entire novel with you all and it seemed to go down well (you guys like free stuff right?) so I thought I’d do that again, except I also really like those create your own adventure things where every page has an option at the end of it and the reader gets to decide what happens next, so, on that note, I thought that’s exactly what I’d do.

Yup, you read that right. I’m going to write a blog with story in it, in the usual second person narrative style, and then give you the options of what happens next. Readers can comment and vote for the option they want and then I will write the most voted for option two weeks later. So, here goes.

The first thought in your head is how pink the backs of your eyelids are in the bright sunlight, the next is how every inch of your exposed skin feels like someone has set it alight. You wince as you try and open your eyes but they’re crusted shut with gunk, you must have been sleeping a long time. As the sounds of horses snorting reaches your ears you try to move. Hot sand greets the feel of your fingers and you try once more to open your eyes. This time you open them just enough to see a bright blue sky before the pain of the grit forces you to close them again.

Barely seconds later you hear the sound of feet in the sand and a shadow moves over you. You try to pull away from it, not sure if the caster means you harm or not, but your body refuses to work properly, resulting in a feeble scuffle where your hands sink into the burning hot sand either side of you. Instead you try to sit but your head spins and nausea grips at your stomach, deterring you from trying again.

A man’s voice says something in a language you don’t understand as he kneels beside you.

“You’re safe,” he says in a thick accent, struggling with the s and f sounds. With that, he pushes his arms through the sand underneath you and lifts your body to his bare torso. Knowing your female body would be no match for the effortless strength in him, you don’t struggle. The movement makes your head pound so you lean into him and rest against his shoulder. As you inhale the scent of horse and fresh sweat mingles with spices and coconut. It ought to be unpleasant but you find it strangely comforting.

You feel the sands shift underneath him as he turns and carries you towards the sound of more horses and people. Discussions in hurried whispers follow you, but most are too quiet to make out and the few that are loud enough are spoken with words entirely foreign. After what feels like forever he stops and places you upon soft cushions and fabrics that feel cool to your skin.

“Rest,” he says and withdraws, pulling something over you to shade you from the sun at the same time. Whatever you’re resting on sways gently as someone climbs up beside you. The sweet smell of coconut milk fills the small enclosure. You try once more to open your eyes and see a young woman, tanned a deep brown sitting beside you before your body forces them closed against the pain again.

Moments later you feel her lean forward, making the bed rock gently again, and wipe a damp cloth over your eyes, removing some of the grime and cooling the sun-scorched skin. You sigh with relief as she continues this treatment until you can see again. She then moves on to the rest of your face, neck and bare arms, washing your skin with the blend of water and coconut milk from a bowl cradled in her lap.

While you’re being pampered your thoughts are allowed to wander and you soon feel the memories of the previous two days returning to you. One moment you were in London, walking in the botanical gardens and the next you were in a small oasis in the middle of a desert. Ever since then you had been losing a battle to live. If these people hadn’t come along you’d probably have died, still not knowing how you got here or why.

When she’s finished cleaning you try and sit up to thank her but your head and stomach remind you that they don’t want to. Even if they hadn’t she shakes her head and gently places her hand on your torso to push you backwards. For a moment she stares at you and you stare back, until you give in to her and lie down again. Instantly your head feels better.

From your comfortable position surrounded by silk cushions you watch as she moved to a small opening in the canvas shade and calls out to the rest of the people. After a minute or two she’s handed a bowl with some mashed oat like food within and a wooden cup. She places the bowl near you and comes close to help you lift your head to drink. The water is warm but fresh and soothes the ache in your throat.

It takes you several minutes to drink the liquid at the pace she’ll allow you to have it, but she doesn’t seem to mind the effort. Once you are done she strokes your blonde hair with her fingers to neaten it, an almost envious look in her eyes. Her hair is so dark brown it might as well be black and cut short to frame her face but not get in the way of any tasks.

With her tasks seemingly over she gives you a brief smile, bows in an awkward manner given that she already knelt to fit beside you and backs out of the opening. You get a glimpse of the many horses and people outside before her hands close the gap entirely, leaving you alone with the bowl of food and no utensils to eat it with.

Only a few seconds later the bed you are in sways and wobbles before settling into a gentle rhythmic motion that matches the sounds of movement outside. Whoever they are they’re taking you with them.

What do you do?

Eat the food with your fingers and rest to regain your strength.

Get up and try to make them understand you want some utensils before you will eat.

Get out of the litter and try to get away from the people who’ve taken you.

Comment with the option you want and any questions you might have, although I reserve the right not to answer some things if it spoils potential plot.

This story is entirely free to the reader and will continue to be throughout, but as you might have gathered from the website around this I make my living from writing fiction. This post is over 1000 words long and took me a few hours to write and polish. Although it’s definitely not a must, if you enjoyed this and want to say thank you in a monetary fashion please consider becoming a patron of mine at Patreon (a lot like kickstarter but more of a pledge per episode/installment sort of thing). You can also say thank you by sharing this with friends who might enjoy it or dropping me a message here or through my email address.