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Mandy Eve-barnett Mandy Eve-barnett
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She had a friend.

My response to a word prompt from my writers circle.

The frantic flapping of the tent cloth wakes me in the middle of the night. A sand storm is raging outside throwing tiny grains every which way, thousands of granules itching at the fabric in search of an entrance.  My sister moans in her sleep and I pull her covers closer to her neck. A duet of snoring comes through the dividing canvas my father and uncles have not been disturbed.  I snuggle into my covers and listen to the wind’s changing tune as it passes through palm fronds, cloth and the undulating dunes. We will have plenty of work to do in the morning, I will need my rest. Gradually the rhythmic sounds lull me to sleep.
A gentle hand shakes my shoulder as the sunrise’s rosy glow colours the tent’s fabric.
“Yadira, wake up child. We are moving this morning, hurry and dress your sister.”
“Yes mother. Naazish, wake up we must help mother with the tent.”
My sister opens one eye and smiles. Once I have her dressed I wrap my thobe around me and we push through the ma’nad. The sun is still rising but we can feel its heat. I can see mother has already packed away the rugs and pillows from the living spaces.
The storm has covered the tent stakes so we get to work digging the sand away from them. Once the tent is empty we pull the stakes out and watch the woven cloth float downward. Now comes the hardest part to fold the woven goat hair fabric in such a way that it can be transported and quickly erected upon our arrival at the next oasis. My mother shouts her orders to us as we take the corners and run to the opposite side, again and again, until the cloth is a tidy squared pile. With practiced movements mother ties the bundle and then my father and uncle load the camels with our possessions.
Once the animals are loaded and the goats and sheep herded we set off eastward. The dunes are rippled and the horizon changed but the men lead us confidently, knowing the direction we must take. My thobe flutters as a wind is channeled between two towering dunes. I hope we reach the oasis before another storm hits.
With the sun at its highest we climb over a dune and there before us is the oasis. The square structures of the buildings seem alien against the soft curves and undulations of the desert.  It has been many years since we last came to this settlement and I only have vague memories of it. As a small child I was fascinated with the hard surfaces.  Mother says I spent a long time smoothing them with my hands. Now I am older I will be able to venture further and explore the marketplace.

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