Cory woke in the middle of the desert. Well, perhaps ‘woke’ is the wrong term for what happened. More that he was already conscious, and just suddenly became aware of his being in the middle of a giant sea of hot sand.
He looked around the place, his mind working slowly as it tried to fully register what was happening around him. Looking around a second and third time, Cory confirmed that he wasn’t hallucinating, and that it was, in fact, desert in every direction he could see.
‘Where am I?’ he wondered when his brain finished shaking the cobwebs off. And, almost immediately after the questioned finished forming in his mind, blind panic set in and he took of running full tilt across the sand.
This only lasted about ten minutes though. The unreasonably hot sun and endless sand wore the confused teenager out before he’d even gone a full mile and a half through it.
As he doubled over to try and catch his breath, no small task with how hot and displeasing the air was, and the panic filling him waned just enough for him to get a rational thought through. He began to think back, trying to think back and see if he could remember how he had ended up appearing within this scolding hot desert.
He had been in his home, he knew that much. It had been night time, and he remembered that he’d just returned home and gotten into an argument with his parents about his being out so late. Had he gone to sleep? Yes, that must have been it; he’d gone to sleep after the argument and now he was dreaming about the desert.
This thought calmed him momentarily, and he stood back up to start walking forward, looking around at the desert scenery as he did so to see what kind of world his mind had created for him in his sleep.
The dream was remarkably details, Cory thought. He could feel every bead of sweat on his body, and was aware both of the intense heat beating down on him from above and radiating up from the sand below. Perhaps, he thought, this was some kind of lucid dream. He had heard about those, but hadn’t thought he would ever have one himself.
‘Shouldn’t I be able to control it then?’ He thought as he walked. He tried to take off flying through the sky, as it would definitely beat walking across the desert, but for some reason, he couldn’t manage it. ‘Guess I don’t have much control over it.’ He thought to himself, scanning the horizon for anything interesting.
As he looked around, he heard something. Some kind of movement nearby. He saw it to, if only for a moment. A shifting in the gritty sand a few feet away before the ground became still again.
Cory stared at the spot where he had seen the movement, wondering what kind of nightmare atrocity would jump out at him if he went over to it. He figured he may as well, as dying within his dream would cause him to wake up, and he started to make his way over to the shifting sand.
When he was only a few steps away from the spot he’d seen the movement, the sand before him seemed to explode. Grains of sand were blasted away in all directions as a wide, fanged mouth rose up and closed in on him.
As the mouth of far too many fangs approached, the world seemed to slow in Cory’s mind. As it did, something occurred to Cory that made his blood turn into frozen slush despite the heat of the desert around him.
He remembered the argument he had had with his parents. They had yelled at him for breaking his curfew. He had only been out with his friends, but they had yelled at him for not at least calling to say he’d be back late.
Sure, his friends and he had had a few drinks, but nothing worth getting upset about. At least, that was what Cory had thought. But his parents had given him hell for it, and he’d left the house in a huff.
He hadn’t gone to sleep. He had walked out of the house and started towards the street. He had been passing the trash can at the edge of the yard and then.. Desert.
‘I’m not dreaming.’ Cory realize in shock. Even more frightening, that meant that this creature in front of him was truly there as well, about to bite down and separate his top half from his bottom half.
Cory jumped back, the tips of the front most fangs digging into his boots and ripping them off as the creature’s cry, pink, cracked body sank back into the sand with a low hiss.
Cory scrambled to his feet and started running again, full sprint in the other direction. The sandworm followed him from below, and Cory could hear it, feel the vibrations in the sand below his feet.
The sand parted again as the sandworm sprang out again. Its powerful fangs sank into Cory’s chest, pulling him into the mouth of the creature. Cory tried to let out a scream of agony as he felt the many other fangs of the creature, jabbing and piercing and cutting into him from every angle, but his body went numb as his spine was cut, and everything faded to darkness as the creature’s inner acids washed over him, beginning to remove the flesh from his body.
Cory, in his last moments of lucidity before losing consciousness, swore he’d be better to his parents. Considering he’d gone from a solid to a liquid in the following few minutes, it was unlikely that he’d ever get the chance.