The desert was a blinding furnace. The heat felt like Hakim was sucking another man’s breath into his lungs. His feet and hands were ragged stumps of dust and clotted blood. Four times he nearly twisted his ankle on a crag of rock. This would mean death. This is what I came for.
There was no solace in the wind, small shards of sand pounded into his face and hands – whatever exposed flesh lay mercilessly bare at that moment. He had watched a man squirm and squeal in the caravan as an old sage approached his eye with a needle no thicker than a strand of hay, to dislodge a fleck of rock. It was terror enough to watch three men perform the operation. There would be no way Hakim could perform it on himself. He kept his eyes tightly shut. This is what I came for.
“Beware of days that end.” That was the last thing Leo whispered to him before he began this sojorn.