The Sandstorm Skin

The Sandstorm Skin

The barren, austere landscape of the Chihuahuan Desert is troublesome, to put it kindly.  On my mission to discover new plant and animal life among the sandy rocks and crags of Big Bend, Texas, I’ve run into many hardships, the least of which is the lack of water and shelter during the blazing days and icy nights of this heartless land.

The most troubling of the difficulties I’ve dealt with?  Sandstorm.

Not sandstorms.  The sand and wind never meant me any harm.  I’m talking about Sandstorm.  The Sandstorm.

What she is, exactly, I may never know.  Who she is?  Even less likely.  All I know is that, when the winds blow and the sand grinds against my skin, she’s always there, her harsh brown eyes like sharp pebbles, one solid thing among the swirling vortex of sand.  When the winds slow, she’s gone, too.

It’s all her fault, I know it is.  That woman – spirit, ghost, apparition, whatever – has it in for me.

One night, I hear the telltale whistling of the wind outside the break in the rock where I’ve made my shelter and I know that Sandstorm is at it again.  Burying my head in my backpack to keep the sand out of my eyes, I close my mouth tightly and hope this one isn’t as bad as the last few storms have been.

It’s just as bad, if not worse.  When the winds slow enough for me to open my eyes, I sit up, looking around for Sandstorm’s coppery eyes and dust-colored skin among the swirling debris.  There she is, closer than she’s ever dared to come, her eyes unmoving and her mouth set in an unforgiving frown.

“What do you want from me?”  I choke out.  Sand fills my mouth when I dare to open it, but I feel like I need to stand up to Sandstorm.  This is injust.

“Why are you here?” she replies coldly.  Her voice is deep and thrumming, with a cadence like something striking a hollow tree.

“I – I’m only an explorer.  I mean you no harm, ma’am.  Please – stop the storms, and I’ll leave you in peace.”

At first she doesn’t move.  Her eyes are stolid and unfathomable; I see no emotion behind the glassy exterior.  Then she raises one hand and snaps her fingers.  The sand falls back to the ground immediately; the wind ceases so fast, I feel my ears pop.

“You have no malicious intent,” she growls.  “I see it in your eyes.  But I cannot allow humans to taint my realm any more than they’ve tainted the other wild places of the world.”  She extends one hand, gesturing outwards to the expanse of stone and brush behind her.  The Chihuahuan Desert.  “I must protect my home.  However, I will give you one chance.  Leave this place, and my sands will treat you well from here on.  Stay any longer, however… you will be sorry.”

I know she means the threat.  Fumbling around for the straps on my backpack, I grab it and run from the rock as soon as Sandstorm’s shimmery image has faded.  I know I must heed her warning.

I do not wish to anger the desert.


  1. Download The Sandstorm Skin
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Format: Minecraft 1.8+ Skin 64×64

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