TITLE: Devils in the Air
GENRE: MG - Fantasy
The desert scorch rapped its tongue over Casablanca, causing Moroccans to fan themselves with large straw hats and sponging their necks. Twelve-year-old Anis Mimouni left the mosque after noon prayer, closing the heavy wooden door behind him.
His wet hands sizzled as he unfolded a piece of paper clutched in his pocket. His pointy Moroccan hoodie fell over his eyes and he folded the front part over his brow. Magic vibrated in his hands, like static that coursed through his veins. He squinted to be able to read the piece of paper: All junior apprentices to report in the library with their key.
“Ouch, no key!” He waved one hand in the air to let the magic fall to earth. “Gee, I never got one of those before. I can’t believe graduation is one key away.”
He stared at the paper, but nothing mentioned a way out. His fingers left a wet mark on the paper before he tucked it inside his jellaba. He lifted up his ankle length cotton robe and slipped into his babouches. The heelless slippers cracked as the leather stretched.
A dust devil swirled around, churning the desert sand on the battered ground.
“Little devil yee. What are you looking for?”
Anis ran after it, stamping and finally pinned it down.
“That’s right,” he said, “You return to the hell fire where you came from.”
The ground waved under the heat and gathered a second time into another dust devil that kicked the sand all around. Anis ran after it, then stopped when someone waved at him: a beggar.
The beggar sat in a pile of dust, the stripes of his jellaba tucked under his legs in a pile of clothes. He lifted a tin in Anis’s direction, demanding attention.