They rode hard through the remainder of the day until the reached the wasteland. Sand hills stretched out in front of them for as far as they could see. The sun beat down on them and Samantha felt the sweat trickling down her back.
“How are we going to make it through?” Samantha asked.
Kyle jumped off the mustang and squatted on the ground studying the desert in front of him. “There is a trail that we must follow. It leads from well to well.” He picked up a handful of the hot sand and let it sift through his hand.
Samantha slid off her horse and rested her hands on her waist. “Who dug the wells?” she asked.
“No one knows. Some say it was an ancient civilization that once roamed the wasteland. They say they were destroyed and their land with them.”
Kyle stood and walked to his horse. “We need to fill our water skins before going and we will need to travel at night. There is a well this way.”
He headed off.
Samantha looked after him. There’s nothing around here. Where’s he going?
Kyle walked for about twenty feet then stooped again grabbing another handful of sand. This time though as the sand sifted between his fingers the wind caught it and it began to circle around a stone wall. The sand continued to circle the stone wall until a small round well appeared.
Samantha’s mouth dropped open. “How did you do that?” she asked.
Kyle grinned at her. “It really isn’t anything I’m doing. It’s old technology of a sort. My dad taught me, his dad taught him, and so on. It has something to do with being in the right spot at the right time.” Kyle stood next to the well and began lowering the bucket.
Samantha walked next to him and ran her hand across the rough bricks that formed the mouth of the well. “Can you teach me?” she asked.
Kyle began raising the bucket and pointed at the setting sun with his other hand. “You see how the sun sits right above that hill over there?”
“You’ll notice that that hill has an odd shape to it and when the sun hits it just right, it forms an X on the ground where the well will appear. You then have to pick up a handful of sand and allow the air to form it,” he said.
“That sounds more like magic than technology to me.”
“Magic. Technology. It’s all the same isn’t it?”
Kyle pulled the bucket from the well and filled his water skin.
Samantha handed her skin to him. “I don’t think so. Magic is something that comes from within a person; the energy is all different. Technology is…well technology is something that has to be molded and created and then uses energy from an outside source.”
“Sounds the same to me,” he grinned.
His grin faded as he looked past her. “Someone’s coming. We need to be going.”
Samantha turned after grabbing her water skin. There was a dust cloud moving toward them. I hope it isn’t another car. It doesn’t seem to be moving as fast.
Kyle picked up some more sand and allowed it to run through his fingers. The sand swirled around the well once again and it disappeared. He ran back to the horse with Samantha close behind. The two jumped on and kicked their horses into action.
“We’ll have to ride all night and rest during the day. Hopefully whoever is out there doesn’t follow us,” Kyle said.
“I don’t think anyone would be dumb enough to do that,” Samantha said.
They ran their horses into the wasteland until they had moved behind the first set of hills. The horses’ hooves sank deep into the sand and they struggled to move through it. The sun went down behind the distant mountains and purple and red hues filled the sky.
The moon was at their back as they rode, lighting the way. “Have you been this way often?” Samantha asked.
“I came this way last about five years ago. I remember the way though. The last time I came this way I was being dragged behind a horse.”
Samantha looked at him quickly, her eyes wide. “What happened?”
“Probably, about the same thing that happened to you.” Kyle looked down at his hand. “Bandits attacked my village. Many of us were dragged across this desert. Only a handful of us survived. I was sold to the slaver class and eventually ended up with you in the arena.”
“I’m sorry Kyle. I know it’s hard.”
There was a sudden thundering coming from behind them. Samantha turned and seeing five horseman behind them pulled a her dagger from her belt.
The horsemen were closing in fast. One man raised his hand toward the moon then throwing his hand down toward them. A bright blue sphere appeared from his hand and sped toward them.
Samantha threw her hands down and up from the ground. Millions of pieces of sand spread up from the dune in front of them. The sphere slammed into the sand wall.
Samantha blocked her face with her hands as the sand hit her.
Kyle had his bow out and shot at the oncoming riders, hitting one fatally.
The other three continued on while the last one came in much slower. One raised a pistol and fired while the other two pulled lances from the side of their horses’.
Samantha pulled a knife from her belt. The cold energy coming from it sent shivers down her back. She thought of a frozen dagger splitting into three. Throwing the knife, it split into three smaller knives and sped toward the three oncoming riders.
The man in back circled his hands and pointed toward the ground in front of the riders. The sand circled and blew two of the knives to the ground where they exploded into ice balls. The third knife hit the pistol rider in the chest. He fell backward off his horse and screamed as his chest froze. The freezing spread through his body until he was solid ice.
The other two men sped through the swirling sand, their lances leveled.
Kyle pulled his sword from its scabbard and deflected the oncoming lance. Using his knees to steer his horse he swung it around and kicked it hard in the flanks. The horse jumped and charged the man. As the horseman turned his own horse Kyle slashed hitting him across the shoulder.
The man dropped his lance and pulled a short sword from his belt. But he was much too slow as Kyle swung again. Kyle hit the man again across his chest. The sword ripped through his black vest, ripping a gash in his chest. The man screamed out in pain. He turned his horse and fled into the night.
The other man had gone for Samantha; his lance struck her horse as she turned it to block the oncoming horseman.
The horse fell and Samantha jumped clear just in time. She rolled out of the way of the falling horse and came to her feet. Samantha held the two daggers in front of her. She could feel the cold energy racing through her body. Her eyes turned a cold blue.
The horseman turned and the sand fanned out behind the horse as it skidded around. He lowered his lance and charged again.
The intensity in her eyes grew brighter. With a cry she charged the oncoming horse. The daggers glowed blue. She jumped to the right just as the horse flew by. She pushed her thoughts toward the horses’ legs.
The horse tripped throwing its rider head first into the sand.
Samantha was on him instantly bringing both daggers down into his back.
“Ahhh!” Samantha screamed. A burning sensation engulfed her legs. Looking toward the man who stayed back she saw him smiling.
The man looked toward Kyle and his smile faded. He turned his horse and rode back the way he had come from.
Samantha grabbed her legs willing them to stop burning. The burning slowly ebbed as Kyle ran to her side.
“Sam, are you …” He pulled her into his arms holding her tight.