Under Red Sand

For a while, all they could do was stare at it from the crest of the dune. Jutting up from the rust-colored sand was a fully jointed hand–like a human’s–made of metallic plating and electrical cables. It was the size of a three-story house. It was Elliot who finally broke the silence with a long whistle like an Acme bomb in a Road Runner cartoon.

“The thumb is taller than I am,” said Taka.

“Shit, Tak, that’s a low bar to clear. My kid sister is taller than you are.”

Taka turned to Elliot and gave him a one-finger salute, a gesture that took real effort in the environmental suit, even as advanced as it was.

Elliot walked nonchalantly to the base of the hand and slapped it with his palm.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Taka asked.

Elliot chuckled. “High five.”

“Who knows what this thing is?! Don’t touch it.”

“Relax. The storm unburied it. That means it’s been here the whole time. If it was active it would have done something by now.” He turned and began walking back up the dune toward Taka. He heard a terrible screeching grinding noise behind him.

The fingers were moving.

Notes: I used an image as a writing prompt for this piece. I found it on page 16 of my copy of The Art of Destiny. You may be able to find the image on the artist’s ArtStation page.

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