TITLE: Flying Ships and Shadows Sweep
GENRE: MG Fantasy
Dusters crawled all over Madinah Zarkah, the blue city. It was one of those days where it seemed like the doors of hell had been opened, letting in a sweltering heat and welcoming more and more evil into North Africa. The fountains had run dry. Soon, people would have to suck on their own sweat to wet their tongue.
How did the dusters get in? thought thirteen-year-old Anise Mimooni as he left the school of magic and closed the heavy wooden doors behind him. Desert dunes lined one side of the Moroccan oasis, offering a barrier to the desert dusters. Today, the barrier had been breached.
Anise’s hometown buzzed with the voices of sellers in the souk. He had to compete for space with pack animals piled high with goods. Standing guard in front of the magic school, he whipped his rod. The wooden stick sizzled away, absorbed into the peddlers’ cries, “Knife sharpening,” “Fruits, bananas, oranges.” The oasis inhabitants hadn’t noticed the intrusion yet.
The ting of hammer hitting copper pots startled him. The aroma of the street filled with pungent spices made him turn. The grilled meats on open fires sizzled. The heat filled his belly and worry knotted his guts. It would be so easy for dusters to hide behind the hodgepodge of stands and tousle everything. Something clattered on the ground close to him.
Anise jumped to the side. A duster danced around him, lightly sweeping the sand of the desert into powder puffs.