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Teen And Up Audiences
Archive Warning:
No Archive Warnings Apply
Original Work
Original Characters, The Wanderer (OC), The Chariot (OC), Ak'rlln'k (OC), Ak (OC)
Additional Tags:
Experimental, Environmental Devastation, Body Horror, Demons, (or so they are called), Post-Apocalypse, Post-Revolution
Part 1 of The Desertification Series (Working Title)
Published: 2021-08-14 Words: 2,967 Chapters: 1/1



A wanderer is running out of water on a desert journey back home; a three day trip instead becoming five. But the sands always have a purpose in guiding one's steps and as the sun sets, history is unraveled.


thanks to my pal for editing this for me, if youre reading this youre cool


Curious as it was, it was quite temperate in the desert. The sun shone still on the back of the wanderer, definitely adding heat, but there was a coolness to the air atypical of what they would think deserts have. Not like they were complaining. Wayfaring through dunes of endless sand back home was enough a trouble as it is, especially without a camel, heat would just be more insult to injury. Nonetheless they walked, the sun’s light soon setting in the matter of two hours. They quickened the pace, they were running out of food and water—this was supposed to be three day trip!—but today marks the end of the fifth.

They should have packed more.

Exhausted, the wanderer took but a small break to catch their breath. They had been walking for hours now, and they were certain this was the path, and it was. But it was still a tiresome one.

Taking a brief sip from their waterskin, they heard a faint sound amongst the sand; knowing far too well of the fauna here, the wanderer drew a short sword and wielded it. It was getting closer; the sound of hooves through sand. A camel?

Nervously, the wanderer slowly walked towards the sound-

Only to find the source standing in front of them.

A camel they were not. Their figure was not unlike a centaur’s, though their upper half was not human. Additionally, instead of the four legs of a horse, there was double that. The fur was silver-grey, the tail long but hairless like a rat. The upper half showed a vague humanoid of great physique, with skin a very pale blue. The hands, or lack there of, were instead ending with claws as large as scythes and seemingly as sharp, if not sharper than one. The head of the stranger was hairless like the torso, with two eyes of bloody scarlet and horns curling inward like a ram. Nose-less and ear-less, only a mouth with small, needle-like bristles for teeth was present below the eyes; those eyes alone though, were enough to realise the stranger’s nature. Beings such as these take on innumerable forms, but their one recurring feature is the piercing red eyes, eyes that stay alight regardless of how dark it became. They were called by many names, but out of all of them “demon” has been preferred from their lips.

And despite the name and the horrifying form, this stranger was not a threat.

Slowly, and not at all unafraid, the wanderer sheathed their blade. It was not the first time they had seen a demon, though the amount be scant, they could never get used to the fearsome forms they took. The demon knowingly sensed this and smiled mischievously.

“Good evening to you, wanderer,” the demon started. They spoke clearly and deeply in addition to that smile. The voice itself was masculine, almost human-like, but still contained an unusual ring to it. Like words on top of words. Their eyes pulsed as they spoke. Still, they were friendly words, true and genuine.

“The sands bid us welcome, wanderers of the same path,” the wanderer finally replied. A typical greeting of wanderers of the desert.

“By chance we meet not, sun and stars be our guide,” the demon finished with a nod. A fellow wanderer indeed. “Has tiredness and hunger stroked your mind in the dunes? I see it in your eyes.”

The wanderer did not know of the obviousness of this fact, but answered anyway, “Foolish as I may be, I have neglected to pack necessary provisions. I assumed that the journey would be shorter, but it has already been five days.”

The demon nodded, still smiling, and turned to the west, pointing with their claw, “Walk there till the sun sets. The sands will guide your feet.”

The wanderer look towards the west, knowing that their home was south this was a bit of a detour. But if food and water be there, then it was worth the time. “Thank you friend,” they bowed, “May the sands guide your hooves as well.”

A chuckle was made from the mention of hooves as the demon began walking again. Calling out they said, “Farewell, wanderer! May we be guided to the same path again.” With that, the wanderer wandered once more, to the west.

For another hour they walked, and such a distance they travelled that they began to believe that the demon had tricked them, though knowing demons, they were not one to lie. Not like the demon told them exactly what they would be finding, if anything at all. Sighing, the wanderer walked on. The sun still had not set and the air was getting colder. The desert seems to always oscillate between these extremes—from the blasting heat of the daytime to the coldness of the night.

Still, the wanderer wandered on, towards the setting sun.

And it wasn’t until darkness came that they saw it. A campfire, in the middle of the desert flickered in the distance. The demon was not lying after all. Relieved, the wanderer quickened their pace.

Until they nearly skidded into the fire.

Because in front of them was yet another demon, differently formed than of the last. Their outside was an exoskeleton like an insect, a reddish-purple body long and legged like a centipede. The frontmost “legs” were human-like arms formed out of the same chitinous material forming the whole of the body, dubiously still having the same dexterity of a human’s hands. The end of the body housed three tails ending in stingers shaped like blades, which seemed to be venomous. Eight scarlet eyes encircled all throughout the face, the head itself having two mouths: one in the centre of the eyes, adorned by sharp claws, and another that lied within the face itself, the face opening like a hinge revealing dozens of even sharper teeth like a leech. The “tongue” was tube-like and fleshy, but little to the wanderer’s knowledge that the “tongue” was actually a stomach, similar to that of a sea star.

Somehow, the wanderer should have known that what awaited them was yet another demon.

Taking notice of their fear, the demon chuckled loudly, “Oh dear be careful lov’, you’ll get burned!”

Flustered, the wanderer gathered their senses, “May the sands bless you friend. I had been told to travel this direction by a fellow wanderer, I assume that you is what I seek.”

“Ahh,” the demon remarked, approaching them with their many legs, “The Chariot guided you here? Not surprised, the man has always been a softie.” They giggled at that last thought. “Come! Sit! The fire is warm on this cold night.”

“The Chariot?”

“You didn’t even exchange names? How rude,” the demon teased, encircling the wanderer.

“A name I have not,” they responded, getting increasingly fearful at how close the demon was.

“Ah, I see. Us demons have a tendency to gather too many names to keep track! I could lend you one if you wish.”

“No need.”

“Ah, but you can do many things with a name,” the demon instructed, their set of human-like hands rummaging through the wanderer’s hair with gleeful abandon, “Is a sad existence to go nameless. Trust me.”

The demon scuttled their way back to their side of the fireplace, revealing a bulging backpack to the light and began searching through it. Intrigued as to what the demon was doing, the wanderer leaned towards the bag. There were many things being taken out and put back in: knives, small statues, stones—an odd assortment. The wanderer finally asked, “And what is your name, friend?”

Amongst the sounds of ruffling within the pack, the demon answered, “Ak’rlln’k, The Chitinous Venom. Don’t try to pronounce it dear, humans aren’t used to our language—and that’s just the abbreviated first name! You can call me ‘Ak’ for short.”

“Please to meet—,” started the wander before being interrupted by the demon.

“Ah! There they are!” exclaimed Ak, as they pulled out two waterskins as well as a small box, “The damned pack is too damn filled with stuff, I swear I really should just drop most of it.” They approached the wanderer and placed the items on their lap, “There. That should last you 3 days at the most. Hope you like dried rabbit meat!”

“You are too kind Ak, bless you.”

“Oh don’t mention it, lov’. I packed it knowing someone was going to need it. Best give things away to people who need it, right?”

“Indeed. Do demons not need to eat?”

“Oh, we won’t die like humans would,” they laughed, seemingly at their own immortality, “But many days without food would make us quite tiresome.”

“Is that why you can travel the deserts with ease?”

“Part of it, with the addition that we cannot die of thirst. The heat of the deserts though still affect us. Us demons come from a place without such things, forested land, nice and temperate. Deserts for me are foreign territory. You humans have it rough.”

“You get used to it.”

The demon laughed, “I always admired that about humans. Your tenacity. Your almost constant need to adapt, to persevere. Though considering the history of this desert, its also serves as your curse.”

The wanderer paused, they did not know what the demon was insinuating. “What do you mean the history of the desert?” they then asked after a moment of pondering.

“Ah…,” Ak sounded, all their eyes focused on the wanderer, scarlet shades peek from within the campfire, “You do not know? Has it really been that long?”

“What do you mean?”

“What year is it?”


“78,” the demon repeated, “78. My, it has been so long. Well—,” With that word the campfire dimmed, yet the area around became brighter. A trick of the light, thought the wanderer? But they knew far too well of the abilities that demons may have. They were as numerous as the forms they themselves took. The smoke of the fire then became more potent, engulfing the two into a grey sphere of smog and within its walls shapes began to form. Shapes changing, forming objects, people; objects changing, forming pictures—pictures of a story. The first picture detailed many figures, human-like figures. A city formed around them, where tall buildings scraped the sky like a dense forest, a sight foreign to the wanderer. Foreign to all remaining humans.

“A long, long time ago,” started the demon, “Humans conquered the earth. They built cities of stone, glass, and wood. Towers that stood endlessly towards the sky.” The smoke then changed, showing more figures, a bit more detailed than the last. These figures held pickaxes and shovels, digging a deep channel into the earth. A canal. “They tamed the earth…,” the shapes changed, showing the canal to be filled, with boats sailing through it, “…as well as the seas.” The picture then changed again, showing a strange large object flying through the clouds, with wings and propellers. An aeroplane. “They built machines that enabled them to fly…,” the plane morphed then to another large, yet smaller object with two figures seen inside, as well as bubbled coming out of the back of it. A submarine. “…as well as going deep below.”

The smoke morphed to another picture of a human, in front of many machines unknown to the wanderer. A factory. “Yes,” Ak assured, “They were truly extraordinary. They still are. But they made such terrible mistakes.” The smoke became to swirl more violently, giving the picture such a bizarre, stretched out effect. “They produced too much things, things that they didn’t need.” Quickly, the smoke changed to the next picture, now changing in tint: once being a light grey now becoming strangely pinkish. This picture was of a forest with only few trees. What remained of the dead trees were mere stumps, and yet there were still figures wielding axes in front of the remaining ones. “They did not only tame the earth, but they destroyed it as well.” Ak’s voice was beginning to become less playful as it was before, instead becoming harsh and serious, as if anger was boiling from them. The smoke swirled more violently as the picture changed, showing several buildings with what appears as smoke coming from a long pipe at the top, with the smoke covering the whole sky. “They tainted the land, sea, and sky. They took the bounty of nature for granted.”

The smoke became more tornado than a sphere, with the two at the eye of the storm, the now scarlet smoke violently flashing pictures of fire, murder, and ruin. And at the end, Ak said only one thing-

“And that was their own undoing.”

With those words, the smoke disappeared as if it was never there; the campfire back to its normal height. And silence once again took over the dunes. The wanderer did not, could not know what to say with this knowledge. Their kind was responsible for the ruin of the earth, the widespread deserts, the trees being so scarce. Such a realisation stood heavy over their heart.

The demon took note of this.

“Yes, it was your kind that caused this,” the demon broke the silence, approaching them, “But you are not to blame. Not even the humans should be blamed. It was by the actions of the few, the powerful, the rulers, who truly caused this to happen. Do not feel so disheartened, friend. It was not by your hand that turned prairie into desert.” Ak held the hands of the wanderer to try to soothe them. They could tell that they were a lover of the land they were born in. The demon knew of the beliefs of the wanderers well.

“…Thank you Ak,” they finally said, still shaken from the story, “Thank you for telling me this.”

With a pat on the head, Ak replied, “The history of the sands deserve to be told. They themselves cannot speak, so I must speak for them.” They winked, though it was a bit hard to tell from the wanderer’s perspective, given their many eyes. “You should get some sleep. I will keep watch.”

“Demons don’t need to sleep either I suppose?”

“Oh no, we do. I just have insomnia.”

A small smile appeared on the wanderers lips, “I see. Good night then Ak.”

“Sweet dreams, wanderer.”

The desert sun came, the fire still somehow lit and crackling. The wanderer did not have any dreams, a usual darkness floated over them until a disturbance assaulted their senses. Neither the sound of the fire nor the light of the sun were what woke up the wanderer from a deep sleep, but a loud cracking sound coming from very close in front of them. Waking up with a start, the wanderer unsheathed their sword and jumped away from the source of the noise, pointing the blade in that direction. And in that direction was the demon, Ak, who was crunching on something peculiar with their larger mouth. Noticing a blade was pointed at their head, Ak chuckled.

“Ah, did I wake you? Don’t worry lov’ it’s only me! I’m having a bit of breakfast is all. Want some?” They held up a partially eaten giant dune crab, a type of beetle despite its name, which scuttles through the dunes to eat smaller insects and cacti with its strong claws. The corpse is roughly wider than the average hand, and were eaten on occasion by humans but they were known for being quite difficult to catch, even with firearms.

“…No thanks, I’ll manage,” declined the wanderer, still a bit shaken from the sound.

“Oh? Not even a little?” asked the demon, still eating their food whilst talking with their other mouth, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day after all. And you still have a long way to go. Here have a tail, eat up! Dune crabs are good for your human parts.” They tossed a half of the corpse to the wanderer, its blackened “tail” being similar to a lobster’s. Not like the wanderer has ever seen a lobster before. Or anyone really any more.

“Do demons not have internal organs?” asked the wanderer, taking a reluctant small bite of the tail. Dune crabs have never been their favourite.

“Would you like to see?”


It took Ak a while to recover from laughing, “No silly. Not normally, but we can make some if we really wanted too. There’s just goop inside.”


“Like your blood, only that ours does more than yours. Ours essentially does everything. It’s what makes us able to take so many forms.”

“Interesting. So you can essentially shapeshift whenever?”

“Oh yes! Only that its very painful. We may immortal, but pain is still pain after all!”

Nodding, the wanderer finished their breakfast in silence with only the crackling of the flames and the occasional breeze serving as background noise to the symphonies of the cracking and crunching of dune crab chitin. At that, the wanderer packed up their things, as well as the waterskins and box of rations Ak gave them, and stood up.

“It has been a pleasure, Ak, but my home still awaits me; I should leave at once.”

“Ah… I see. Well then, I wish you safe travels. Sand guide you, all of that.”

“Will you be wandering as well?”

The demon winked at them, “Oh silly wanderer, I already am.”

Unknowing as to what they meant but anxious to not waste time, the wanderer embarked, “Farewell, Ak. May your kindness bring you blessings twofold.” This sparked no reply, not even a laugh from the demon. Their curiosity getting the better of them, the wanderer turned around-

To find only the desert sand.


End Notes

this is a part of a greater series that is currently unnamed. i still have no idea where to go from here other than a more in depth exploration of the demons lore (that is EXTENSIVE). for now though, here ya go.

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