A person separated was here. A force greater than him concealed its parallel endeavors but for insidious details which only in this barren and monolithic dish became evident. Still, only through the merestone did the migration of the dune crest bare itself. It rose by some distance downwash from the needle flinting an edge against the glow, although the plumbness of the needle looked considerably degraded. Though the movement of the dunes to him was to him a certainty, the locomotion of his metric and the debauches of the pair of travelers against it had no collar, only sad questions. He rebuilt the base well to again align the merestone with the rolling peak and perched there with his hands doubling the loose breast of his shirt over itself against the wind. His waxy hair stood stiff as heather grass. Even as he reclined there, focusing on his stillness, the high dune sifted down over itself. A tail blown out from the crest dissipated the looser linens of the dune out to the dark where the radiated pale of the erg itself dissipated. In ceaseless surfeit, the windward skin slid up and poured over the lee. Down behind the erg where its luminous dermis is carried on the wind a foggy glow arises low in the sky. Tailings in stinging single grains blew outward to where he sat in weak reckoning of the wind in a possible cyclone that only felt straight where it swung through the valley. The sting high on his cheek below his eye was infrequent though. In its absence he slept sitting on the stone well.
The pressure of the wind persists like a third wall sliding down through the valley pulling a fresh and empty valley behind it. The wind or relinquished equilibrium bore him downwash in the seat and he awoke as much to the stone arm in his ribs as to the needles of single grains on the wind. He retained so little grasp on the passage of the night that he was startled each time awakening to the high dune down a piece from the marker. He would rebuild the well upwash to set up the bearing to the peak. After migrating several stations further from the crest he parked so oblique to it that it no longer seemed to move. In relation to the merestone now it began to sink as if its material edged over a brink. AS it sank the radiance of wherever the sand had blown was more and more exposed to almost the downcast horizon where a uniform strap of unblemished beige light bulged and faded out into a receding, feathery beard with no indication of its source. Only high above his head, deep into the valley, did the fan of light give to the valley darkness. Though with nothing but emptiness unchanging in this whole stretch to scale its impact, the soft warmth of the aurora made its glow almost that of a small town hung beneath the sand. Tomorrow sunrise would be his eighth day stalled out at this motel.
A low sound like a groan or snore moved beneath the snap of wind. A starry spire of dune straight out from him rolled down itself. Behind it another rises. He can sleep no more in the seat so badly recombined as he had moved it up the wash it no longer fit his form. Up and over the rock field slowly toward the breaching light of the motel he methodically pecks. The glow let onto the wide open and partial vents of bald light from the windows and figures gestured in the billow of the still light on paint in gray smudged threatening to rise themselves in that ascendant light like pupils in the moon dilating and stalking.
The approaching morning will be the eighth day stranded at the motel. The new glow is promising, like a curtained window. He returns up the rock field and across the chalk road to his occupied room which is lit. He kneels to the vent at the curtain and sash. A blend of amorphous shadows on the wall wave in syrupy pseudopods. Their overlapping edges grow slightly darker as if the occulting body is translucent and should not be casting a shadow at all. The air conditioner engages without the compressor and throws the hem of the curtain up and the erect man stands before a lamp with a thin blanket over him and hanging out from his arms billowing. Lit as well from the other direction the same obscure shade leaks out onto the chalk by Jack’s feet. Unnerved now even more by the unexplainable postures and productions in the room that are casting the shadows he runs back into the chalk wind and up to a low growth of pinyon pines above the office.