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Cosmic Camel

“A sandstorm?” croaked Donal, hoarse with thirst and fear. “Are you sure?”
“I am positive. The Karaburan is famous in camel lore. It is a whirling wall of
sand, so dark and dense that you can scarcely see beyond your nose – let alone walk
through it.”
“Have you been in a Karaburan before?”
“Naturally. Dozens of times,” said the camel loftily. “I know exactly what to do.”
“Oh, good.”
“First you get down on all four knees, like this.” The camel knelt down to
demonstrate. “Close your eyes. Then press your ears down flat – like so – and seal
your nostrils, to keep out the sand. Just open them a crack to breathe.”
“I can’t close my ears and nostrils!” protested Donal. “And I bet Brola can’t
Brola gave a wail, and toppled sideways off the camel onto the ground, where she
lay waving her hands weakly. “My poor Greengrass! It can’t survive a sand-storm.
We’re all going to die!”
Ulan Nuur’s nostrils flared. “If you won’t take good advice, we’ll just have to
walk through it,” he said huffily. He jerked to his feet and stalked off.
“Come on, Brola!” cajoled Donal. “Try and get up. We’ve got to move. We can’t
stop here, with that coming.”
As he pointed to the dark cloud, he realised with a shock how much bigger and
closer it already looked. And now he could hear it: a hissing drone like a den of angry
snakes, growing louder by the minute.
Biting his lip, he glanced around, searching for anywhere that might offer
protection. Their best hope was a large sand-dune three or four hundred metres away.
“Stand up, Brola! We’ll go and shelter behind that big dune over there till the
storm’s passed by. You can walk that far, surely?”
“I can’t walk at all,” she complained. Ignoring her protests, Donal heaved her up
on to her feet and propelled her towards the dune.
They were only half-way there when the sun was blotted out. A shadow rushed
across the ground – a shadow made of sand. It whirled round Donal like a cloak of