Sandy screamed as she fell, tumbling toward the blurry white ground while wind ripped at her clothes and hair and punched her in the face. When she faced sideways, she glimpsed a half-dressed woman struggling with the tank top that had crawled over her face, and above her the bed came apart in a flock of sheets and pillowcases and plushies around the mattress and frame. Tumbling over and over and she was going to die and WHAM!
She choked on the sweet-smelling dust that had billowed up from her crater, coughed, and flopped over to look up at the sky, still panting for air. Not dead? Not even bruised, it felt like, which was ridiculous.
A curvy dark shape lay in a crater in a slope of the blinding white sand. Sandy called, "Mel? Are you alive?"
"Mom, I brought a friend over, I hope that's okay. You'll never guess what her name is!" The friend stood shyly in the kitchen doorway, fiddling with the sunglasses that pulled the neckline of her black tank top down over brown curves of cleavage. She wasn't just more developed than Sandy in the chest, but taller and stronger and broader in the hips and shoulders, more than almost any of the other girls starting 9th grade that day, and gorgeous with short red hair and full dark lips.
Mel didn't answer, so she rolled over and pushed up to her knees, and almost flew into the air, like she weighed nothing! "What the hell?!" She got her feet under her and tried taking a step toward her friend, which turned into more of a long jump that left her sprawled unhurt next to Mel, with a mouth full of-- granulated sugar?!
Mel had lost her fight with the tank top, leaving her back bare except for black bra straps. Then she groaned and flopped over, boobs jiggling slightly in the fancy black satin.
Mel leaned close, round boobs pressing up to the neckline of her top. "'Black elixir' has to be coffee, right?"
Sandy forced her eyes back to the tiny book with its cramped writing. "Nobody in my family drinks the stuff. But that has caffeine, which is the important part, right?" She gestured at the can of diet Dr Pepper on the nightstand.
"Sandy?" Mel realized where she was looking and flushed from cleavage to hairline and crossed her arms over her chest.
Sandy blushed too, and quickly offered her a hand up, which did send Mel into the air with a funny surprised sound. "Holy crap! Are we on the moon?"
"Only if the moon is made of sugar." Wherever they were, it was all white dunes. Way off on two sides were faint blue mountains, but the other two directions were just haze. No clouds in the sky, and no jet trails or smoke or smog. No sign of people at all.
Mel scooped up a handful of the ground and tasted it with the tip of her tongue, then poured it out and watched it fall. "This makes no sense. At all. How did we even get here?"
The wall glowed faintly orange, and when Sandy leaned over the footboard, she saw that the ugly face carved there had opened fiery eyes. One leg of the bed stretched and shook out its lion paw, making the whole bed shift so that Mel grabbed her around the legs, then the other, and the bed walked down the staircase that hadn't been there two seconds ago.
The girls clung together as they descended into a vast foggy realm where other beds, and sometimes couches or cribs or car seats, faded in and out of view. Most bore one sleeping person, sometimes with a plush animal or two, but sometimes there were two, and sometimes they weren't entirely asleep. Sandy knew one of them, a curly-haired boy from last year's PE class, Mason or Roman or something like that, but just as she pointed him out to Mel, his hand moved under the blankets and started pumping back and forth. Her face burned, because it would seem like that was why she had pointed him out, but Mel was blushing and staring too, until Jason or Jackson was gone in the mist above them.
They came out the bottom of the fog, and could see that the bed was walking on giant books that hovered in midair, so large that an entire double bed could use them as stairsteps but otherwise normal — Sandy thought she had read about half of them, but there was a lot of manga she didn't know, maybe Mel's. Then one book wobbled beneath the bed's foot, forcing it to leap to the next, but that one tilted and fluttered away in a blur of steamy romance scenes and magic duels, and the bed tipped entirely sideways.
"The bed!" they exclaimed at the same time. "It could be anywhere in this," Mel said doubtfully, looking at the sugary slopes around them.
Sandy crouched down and LEAPT with all her strength. The ground crunched under her left foot, sending her wobbling off-balance, but she went way up, at least two or three stories and higher than the nearest dunes. "I see it!" She landed okay, but when she tried to jump into the next valley where she'd spotted the colors of her quilt, she landed on the slope and went tumbling and skidding down, scooping up what felt like half the sugar desert into her shirt.
Mel slid down next to her, crouched for balance but still on her feet. "Wow! This is crazy! But the bed didn't get stronger, just us."
Sure enough, the frame was broken apart, and the footboard was split completely in two. The pieces of the face were still, and the eyes just carved wood. They both looked at it for a while. "We totally need this if we're going to get out of here, don't we?" asked Sandy, but she didn't think it was a question.
"I spy with my little eye, something that begins with... S."
"Sugar," said Mel. "We're going to get diabetes and die if we don't find someone with real food. But that's not what's bugging you."
Lots of things were bugging Sandy: the impossibility of what was going on, the way the sugar was forming a gritty paste with her sweat and abrading every inch of her skin, even under her bra and underwear, the impossibility of what was going on, and what Mel was probably asking about.
"I know they're just toys, but I had them for years. I got Glinda when I was three. She was my first —" no, that was way too embarrassing to bring up, even if the landscape was making Mel's skin look like a well-done sugar cookie with extra jiggling.
Mel sighed and shifted the bundle of bedding and bed parts to her other shoulder. "I know, but we looked everywhere and they weren't with everything else. Maybe they were smart enough to stay home when we started messing around with crazy magic stuff." She paused. "Hey, do you feel that?"
Sandy stopped. "Feel what? Oh." The sugar under her feet was vibrating slightly, and grains were trickling down the slope they were climbing. "Earth— sugarquake? At least there's nothing to fall—" Something blotted out the afternoon sun, casting the girls into a yellowish dimness.
|Contents||2: Lost in the Dessert 2 -->|
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