All was silence, and Uhammad was alone with the desert and his phial of spice. He held it above his left eye and focused on his strongest memory from their journey. After pulling back his lower eyelid, he tapped some of the powder into it. It burned worse than the bright red peppers he used to flavor his dishes. He felt weightless. Despite his sudden wish to fight its call, it had all too soon taken hold of his entire being.
I heft the shovel in my hand. The glint of it doesn’t compare. If I sharpened it, maybe. If I flattened it out with a mallet and ran the edge against a stone until it sparked like death-day firecrackers, then it just might outgleam the cat's ruby torque.