Chapter 3

There have been documented sightings of worms as large as 450 meters in the deep desert... It can render flesh to dust in minutes.


As Cindy's prized fountain pen struck the diagonal line to complete the tally to make 100, her eyelids began to descend. She had lost the battle with them.

She blinked.

She blinked again.

Was that?

No, it can't have been.

And then again; Cindy saw something she never would have expected in a meeting room.

A magnificent sand worm whooshed its way over the desert dunes in rising undulations. The colossal beast must have been 20 m long, as long as a blue whale, with a tail tapering ever inward to a singular point.

It saw Cindy and headed straight for her.

She ducked.

'Cindy, what's wrong? Am I boring you?' said the boss. 'I... I... I'm sorry. I... um... I got a sudden stomach cramp. I am okay now, go on, please,' she apologised.

'The evaluation of the stakeholder consultations indicated several key learnings...'

Whoosh. The sand worm swooped within an inch of Cindy's hair, messing up her perfect hair-straightening job through a wave of static electricity. Sucked into the sandworm's slipstream, Cindy flew through the air for quite a distance before being plonked without dignity onto a mound of soft sand.

Now Cindy was completely immersed in the desert scene. Alone. That is, except for the sand worm, and, unbeknownst to her, the community of bacteria living across the surface of the sand. Maybe I'm in a movie? There was certainly a movie like this, Cindy justified.

And then nothing. No sand worms, a perfect summer afternoon in the breathtaking desert dunes. Waves of sand forming a vast yellow ocean in all directions.

But what is that? Cindy questioned. That glowing crimson orb, the size of my head? But wait, there are two of them, two dazzling, entrancing, blazing infernos.

Cindy could not help but wander towards the lights, like a bored office worker to a flame.

And then whoosh again, the orbs emerged as the sandworm's eyes as it swooped up into the air, sucking Cindy back to her original location, upside down, scrambling.

It was so vastly big that as it passed overhead, it filled the sky and eclipsed the sun. If Cindy didn't know any better, it might have been midnight.

As the sandworm opened its cavernous mouth, glistening white fangs emerged to threaten its victim.

It curled itself up into a horizontal J shape, awaiting the accidental entrance of its prey into the loop created by its long curved body.

The red eyes, Cindy was yet to discover, were actually on the tail of the worm, and not thhe face. They would scare the prey through a two-pronged strategy of flashing its frightening crimson eyes, then sending out a pressure wave to propel the prey towards its head, where its sharp fangs eagerly awaited the unsuspecting victim.

It could attack prey in the sky, on land, and even in the water, if one could find such a thing as a body of water in the desert.

Cindy looked up to the sky. The sand worm was no longer above her. The sky was a perfect shade of blue, but it was the wrong blue! Cobalt blue, with a crimson red sun. The opaque blue sheet of sky begun to swirl about like ripples in marbled water, and at last Cindy began to question her sanity.

She looked down again. Two shining crimson eyes staring her in the face. Was this just an after-image of the sun, duplicating itself in her startled field of view? She blinked. No, these were definitely eyes. She looked around for an escape route, but before she could find one, she felt herself propelled in the direction of an enormous mouth with dazzling white fangs ready to greet her with open arms.

Bugger, she thought.