[PDF / Epub] ☀ Rebel of the Sands ✍ Alwyn Hamilton – Sausageskinsuk.co.uk

Rebel of the Sands ONEThey Said The Only Folks Who Belonged In Deadshot After Dark Were The Ones Who Were Up To No Good I Wasnt Up To No Good Then Again, I Wasnt Exactly Up To No Bad Neither I Slid From Blues Saddle And Tethered Her To A Post Behind Some Bar Called The Dusty Mouth The Kid Sitting Against The Fence Was Sizing Me Up Suspiciously Or Maybe That Was Just His Two Black Eyes I Tugged The Wide Brim Of My Hat Lower As I Stepped Out Of The Yard Id Stolen The Hat From My Uncle, Along With The Horse Well, Borrowed,like Everything I Owned Belonged To My Uncle Anyway, According To Law, Down To The Clothes On My Back The Doors Of The Bar Banged Open, Spilling Out Light And Noise And A Fat Drunk With His Arm Around A Pretty Girl My Hand Snapped To My Sheema Before I Could Think Better Of It, Checking It Was Still Tightly Fastened So The Better Part Of My Face Was Covered I Was Wrapped Up To My Eyes, And Even Hours After Sunset I Was Sweating Under The Padding Like A Sinner At Prayers I Figured I Lookedlike Some Lost Nomad Than A Real Sharpshooter, But So Long As I Didnt Look Like A Girl It Didnt Much Matter Tonight I Was Getting Out Of Here With At Least My Life All The Better If I Got Out With A Few Coins In My Pocket, Too It Wasnt Hard To Spot The Pistol Pit On The Other Side Of Deadshot It Was The Noisiest Building In Town, And That Wasnt Saying Nothing A Great Big Gutted Out Barn At The End Of The Dusty Street, It Was Swarming With Bodies And Blazing With Light, Propped Up Against A Half Collapsed Prayer House With A Boarded Up Door Might Be That Once Upon A Time The Barn Had Served Some Honest Horse Trader, But That Was Years Ago By The Looks Of Things The Crowd Thickened The Closer I Got Like Buzzards Swarming To A Fresh Carcass A Man With A Bloody Nose Was Pinned Up Against A Wall By Two Others While Another Drove His Fist Into The Mans Face Over And Over A Girl Called Out From A Window With Words Thatd Make An Iron Dragger Blush A Group Of Factory Workers Still In Their Uniforms Huddled Around A Nomad In A Busted Up Wagon Who Was Shouting About Selling Djinni Blood Thatd Grant Good Folks Their Hearts Desires His Wide Grin Looked Desperate In The Oily Lamplight, And No Wonder Itd Been Years Since Anyone Round These Parts Had Seen A Real Live First Being, Let Alone A Djinni Besides, He Shouldve Known Better Than To Think Desert Dwellers Would Believe Djinn Bled Anything Other Than Pure Fireor That Anyone In Deadshot Would Believe Themselves Good Folk Everybody In The Last County Went To Prayers Enough To Know Better On Both Counts I Tried To Keep My Eyes Forward, Like Id Seen It All Before If I Climbed Past The Buildings, Id Be Able To Look Across The Sand And Scrub All The Way Home To Dustwalk, Though Thered Be Nothing But Dark Houses Dustwalk Got Up And Went Down With The Sun Good Honest Behavior Didnt Belong To The Dark Hours Of The Night If It Were Possible To Die Of Boredom, Everyone In Dustwalk Would Be Corpses In The Sand But Deadshot Was Alive And Kicking No One Paid Me Much Mind As I Slid Into The Barn A Big Crowd Was Already Gathered In The Pistol Pit Lines Of Huge Oil Lamps Hung From The Eaves, Giving The Gawkers Faces A Greasy Glow Scrawny Kids Were Setting Up Targets And Dodging A Big Mans Blows As He Shouted At Them To Move Faster Orphans, By The Looks Of Them Likely Kids Whose Fathers Had Worked In The Hulking Weapons Factory On The Outskirts Of Dustwalk Until Theyd Gotten Blown To Bits By Faulty Machinery Or Until The Day Theyd Gone To Work Drunk And Burned Themselves Too Badly To Live Gunpowder Wasnt Hardly Safe Work I Was So Busy Staring That I Nearly Walked Straight Into The Giant Of A Man At The Door Front Or Back He Demanded, His Hands Resting Carelessly On A Scimitar On His Left Hip And A Gun On His Right What I Remembered Just In Time To Pitch My Voice Lower Id Been Practicing Imitating My Friend Tamid All Week, But I Still Sounded Like A Boy Instead Of A Man The Hired Muscle At The Door Didnt Seem To Care Its Three Fouza To Stand At The Back, Five To Stand At The Front Betting Starts At Ten How Much To Stand In The Middle Damn I Hadnt Meant To Say That Aunt Farrah Had Been Trying To Smack The Smart Mouth Off Me For A Year Now With No Luck I Got The Feeling It Would Hurtif This Man Tried But He Just Frowned Like He Thought I Might Be Simple Front Or Back Theres No Middle, Boy Im Not Here To Watch, I Said Before I Could Lose The Last Of My Nerve Im Here To Shoot What Are You Doing Wasting My Time, Then You Want Hasan He Shoved Me Toward A Heavyset Man With Billowing, Bright Red Trousers And A Dark Beard Slicked To His Chin, Standing Behind A Low Table Piled With Coins That Bounced As He Drummed His Fingers I Took A Deep Breath Through My Sheema And Tried To Look Like My Stomach Wasnt Trying To Escape Through My Mouth How Much To Enter The Scar On Hasans Lip Made It Look Like It Curled Up In A Sneer Fifty Fouza Fifty That Was Almost Everything I Had Everything Id Been Saving Up In The Last Year To Escape To Izman, The Capital Of Miraji Even With My Face Covered From The Nose Down, Hasan Mustve Seen The Hesitation His Attention Was Already Wandering Past Me, Like He Figured I Was About To Walk Away That Was What Did It I Dropped The Money On The Table In A Jangling Handful Of Louzi And Half Louzi That Id Scrimped One By One Over The Past Three Years Aunt Farrah Always Said I Didnt Seem To Mind Proving Myself Dumb If It Meant Proving Someone Else Wrong So Maybe Aunt Farrah Was Right Hasan Eyed The Coins Skeptically, But When He Counted Them With The Speed Of A Professional Money Grubber He Couldnt Deny It Was All There For A Brief Moment The Satisfaction Tamped Down On My Nerves He Shoved A Piece Of Wood At Me That Dangled From A Loop Of String Like A Pendant The Number Twenty Seven Was Painted In Black On It Had Much Practice With A Gun, Twenty Seven Hasan Asked As I Put The String Over My Head The Tag Bounced Off The Wraps I Had Forced Over My Chest To Flatten It Some, I Hedged We Were Wanting For Almost Everything In Dustwalk, In The Whole Last County For That Matter Food Water Clothes There Were Only Two Things We Had Too Much Of Sand And Guns Hasan Snorted Then You Ought To Know Enough To Keep Your Hands From Shaking I Pressed My Hands Close To My Body To Still Them As I Walked Into The Pit If I Couldnt Hold A Gun Steady It Wouldnt Much Matter That I Learned To Aim Before I Learned To Read I Lined Up In The Sand Next To A Man Who Looked Like He Was Mostly Bones Under His Grubby Factory Uniform Another Man Came To Stand On My Other Side With A Twenty Eight Around His Thick Neck All Around Us The Stands Filled The Bet Wranglers Shouted Out Odds And Numbers If I Were Betting, Id Wager I Didnt Have Any Odds No One In Their Right Mind Would Put Money On Some Skinny Boy Without The Guts To Even Lower His Sheema And Show His Face Maybe I Could Win Some Crazy Drunk A Poor Mans Fortune By Proving The Right Minded Ones Wrong Good Evening, Gents Hasans Voice Carried Over The Crowd, Quieting Them Down Dozens Of Kids Ran Among Us Handing Out The Pistols A Girl With Braids And Bare Feet Passed Me Mine The Weight Was Instantly Comforting In My Palm I Quickly Flicked Open The Chamber There Were Six Bullets Neatly Lined Up Everyone Knows The Rules So Youd Better Play By Them Or, God Help Me, Ill Break Your Cheating Faces Myself A Laugh Erupted From The Stands, And A Few Whoops Bottles Were Being Passed Around Already And Men Were Pointing At Us In That Way I Knew From Watching My Uncle Trade Horses Round One You Got Six Bullets, Six Bottles If Youve Got Any Bottles Left At The End, Youre Out First Ten Line Up The Rest Of Us Stayed Still As Numbers One To Ten Shuffled Into Place, Their Toes On A Painted White Line In The Dirt I Judged It About Twelve Feet Between Them And The Bottles A Kid Could Make That Two Men Still Managed To Miss With Their Very First Bullets In The End Only Half The Men Hit All Their Marks One Of Them Was Twice The Size Of Any Other Competitor He Was Wearing What Might Once Have Been An Army Uniform, Though It Was Too Worn To Tell For Sure Whether It Used To Be Gleaming Army Gold Or If It Was Just Dirty With Desert Dust He Wore The Number One Painted In A Bold Slash Across The Piece Of Wood On His Chest He Got The Biggest Cheer Of All There Were Cries Of Dahmad Dahmad Champion As He Turned Away, Grabbing One Of The Kids Scurrying Around To Collect Broken Glass Dahmad Spoke Too Low For Me To Hear, Then Shoved The Child Off The Kid Came Back With A Bottle Of Brown Liquor Dahmad Started Chugging, Lounging Against The Bars That Separated The Pit From The Stands He Wouldnt Stay Champion Long If He Was Going To Wind Up Sloshed The Next Round Was Evendismal Just One Of The Shooters Hit All His Targets As The Losers Shuffled Off, I Got A Clear View Of The Winners Face Whatever Id Been Expecting, This Boy Wasnt It He Wasnt From Around Here, No Doubt About It That Was The First Thing I Noticed Everybody Around Here Was From Around Here Nobody In Their Right Mind Would Chose To Be In The Last County Otherwise He Was Young, Maybe A Few Years Older Than I Was, And Dressed Like One Of Us, Wearing A Green Sheema Carelessly Round His Neck And Desert Clothes Loose Enough That It Was Hard To Tell If He Was Really As Broad As He Seemed His Hair Was As Black As Any Mirajin Boys Even His Skin Was Dark Enough That He Mightve Passed For One Of Us But He Just Wasnt He Had Strange Sharp Features Id Never Seen Before, With High Angled Cheekbones, A Straight Square Jaw, And Eyebrows That Made Dark Slashes Above The Uncanniest Eyes Id Ever Seen He Wasnt Bad Looking Either, At That A Few Of The Men Hed Beat Spat At His Feet The Young Foreigners Mouth Pulled Up In One Corner Like He Was Trying To Keep From Laughing Then, As If Sensing My Eyes On Him, He Glanced At Me I Looked Away Fast There Were Eleven Of Us Left And We Were Jostling For Space Along The Line With The Extra Body, Even With Me Being Half The Size Of Every Man Here Move, Twenty Seven An Elbow Jammed Into My Side My Head Shot Up With A Retort On My Tongue The Retort Died There As I Recognized Fazim AlMotem Sidling Up Next To Me I Fought The Urge To Curse Fazim Had Taught Me Every Curse Word I Knew, Back When He Was Eight And I Was Six When We Were Caught Using Them, I Got My Mouth Scrubbed Out With Sand And He Blamed It All On Me Dustwalk Was A Small Town Id Known Fazim My Whole Life, Hated Him Since I Grew Into Some Sense These Days He Spent Most Of His Time In My Uncles House, Where I Was Stuck Living, Too, Trying To Get His Hands Under My Cousin Shiras Clothes Every So Often Hed Make A Grab At A Piece Of Me, Too, When Shira Wasnt Looking What The Hell Was He Doing Here Actually, With The Gun In His Hand, I Could Sort Of Figure Damn Him It Was One Thing If I Got Myself Spotted As A Girl It Was A Whole Other Thing If Fazim Recognized Me Id Been In Trouble Plenty Since I Was Caught Cursing, But Id Only Been Beaten Within An Inch Of My Life Once Itd Been Right After My Mother Died, When Id Tried To Borrow One Of My Uncles Horses All The Way Out Of Dustwalk I Made It Halfway To Juniper City Before They Caught Me I Couldnt Sit On A Horse For A Month When Aunt Farrah And Her Switch Were Done With Me If Aunt Farrah Found Out I Was In Deadshot Gambling Stolen Money, Shed Beat Me Until That Inch Felt Like It Had Been A Mile The Smart Thing Would Be To Turn Around And Get Out Of Here Except That Would Mean Id Be Fifty Fouza Poorer And Money Was In Shorter Supply Than Smarts I Realized I Was Standing Like A Girl And Straightened Up Before Facing The Targets The Kids Were Still Racing Around, Lining Up The Bottles Fazim Tracked Their Movements With The Barrel Of His Gun, Calling Out, Bang, Bang, Bang And Laughing As They Flinched I Wished His Gun Would Backfire On Him And Shoot That Smile Off His Face The Kids Cleared Out Fast, And It Was Just Us Shooters And Our Bottles We Were The Last Group Before The End Of The First Round Guns Were Already Going Off All Around Me I Focused On My Six Bottles Straight Ahead I Could Make A Shot Like This Blindfolded But I Was Being Careful I Checked My Distance, Lined Up The Barrel, Checked My Sight When I Was Satisfied, I Pulled The Trigger The Bottle Farthest To The Right Exploded And My Shoulders Eased A Little The Next Three Bottles Went Down In Quick Succession My Finger Pressed Down On The Trigger For The Fifth Time A Shout Punctured My Focus I Had No Other Warning Before A Body Rammed Into Me My Shot Went Wide Fazim Had Been Shoved Sideways By Another Shooter, Ramming Into Me On His Way To The Ground, Another One Of The Shooters On Top Of Him A Boo Went Up From The Crowd As Fazim Scuffled In The Sand With The Other Man The Big Man From The Door Was Already Breaking Up The Fight Fazim Was Dragged To The Side By The Scruff Of His Neck Hasan Watched Them Go, Looking Bored, Then Turned Back To The Crowd Winners From This Round Hey I Shouted Without Thinking I Want Another Bullet A Laugh Went Up Around Me So Much For Not Drawing Attention To Myself My Neck Was Burning With All The Eyes On Me But This Was Too Important Too Important Not To Ask Scorn Was Written All Over Hasans Face, And I Felt The Mix Of Humiliation And Anger Rise Up In My Throat In Answer Thats Not How It Works, Twenty Seven Six Bullets, Six Bottles No Second Chances But Thats Not Fair He Pushed Me I Gestured At Fazim, Who Was Nursing His Jaw Up Against The Wall And This Isnt A School Yard, Little Boy We Dont Need To Be Fair Now You Can Use Your Last Bullet And Lose Or Get Out Of Line And Forfeit I Was The Only One With Any Bullets Left The Crowd Started Jeering At Me To Get Out Of The Way, And An Angry Flush Rose In My Hidden Face Standing Alone On The Line, I Raised My Gun I Could Feel The Weight Of The Single Bullet In The Chamber I Let Out One Long Breath That Moved My Sheema From Where It Was Sticking To My Lips One Bullet Two Bottles I Took Two Steps To My Right And Then Half A Step Back I Twisted My Body And Tried To See It All In My Mind Dead Center And Id Never Hit The Second One Clip It Too Far Off And Neither Would Break Fifty Fouza I Shut Out The Shouting And Taunts Around Me I Ignored The Fact That Every Eye In Here Was On Me And That Id Blown All Chances Of Being Inconspicuous Fear Crept In In Its Place The Same Fear That Had Crouched In My Stomach For The Past Three Days Since The Night Id Been Crawling Around My Uncles House After Dark, On My Way To Tamids, And Overheard Aunt Farrah Say My Name Amani I Hadnt Caught Whatever Had Come Before My Name, But It Was Enough To Make Me Stop Shes Needing Of A Husband My Uncle Asids Voice Carriedthan His First Wifes A Man Could Finally Beat Some Sense Into Her In Less Than A Month, Zahia Will Have Been Dead A Year, And Amani Will Be Clean And Allowed To Wed Since My Mother Was Hanged, Folks Had Slowly Stopped Saying Her Name Like A Curse Now My Uncle Mentioned Her Deathlike A Matter Of Business Its Hard Enough To Find A Husband For Your Daughters Aunt Farrah Sounded Irritated Now You Want Me To Find One For My Sisters Brat, Too Aunt Farrah Never Said My Mothers Name Not Since Shed Been Hanged Ill Take Her As A Wife, Then Uncle Asid Said It Like He Was Talking About Trading A Horse My Arms Nearly Buckled Into The Sand Aunt Farrah Made A Disdainful Hissing Noise At The Back Of Her Throat Shes Too Young There Was An Impatient Tone In Her Voice That Normally Ended A Conversation No Younger Than Nida Was She Is Living In My House Anyway Eating My Food Aunt Farrah Normally Ruled The House As First Wife, But Every So Often Her Husband Would Root His Feet, And Just Now Uncle Asid Was Warming To This Idea Unnervingly Fast She Can Either Stay Here As My Wife Or Leave As Someone Elses I Choose Her To Stay I Didnt Choose To Stay I Chose To Get Out Or Die Trying And Just Like That, Everything Came Into Focus Me And My Target Nothing Mattered But The Aim I Pulled The Trigger The First Bottle Broke Instantly The Second Teetered For A Moment On The Edge Of The Wooden Bar I Could See The Chip In The Thick Glass Where Id Hit It I Held My Breath As The Bottle Rocked Back And Forth Fifty Fouza I Might Never See Again Fifty Fouza To Lose And My Only Way Out The Bottle Hit The Ground And Shattered The Crowd Roared I Let Out A Long Breath When I Turned Around Hasan Was Looking Like I Was A Snake Whod Dodged A Snare Behind Him The Foreigner Was Watching Me, Eyebrows Up I Couldnt Stop Grinning Behind My Sheema Howd I Do Hasans Lip Curled Line Up For Round Two TWOI Didnt Know How Long Wed Been Shooting Long Enough For Sweat To Start Pooling In The Small Of My Back Long Enough For Dahmad The Champion To Slosh Down Three Whole Bottles Of Booze Between Rounds And Long Enough For One Man After Another To Get Knocked Out Of The Game But I Still Had A Gun The Target Faced Me At The End Of The Room, Bottles Moving On A Slow Rotating Board Some Kid Was Turning With A Crank I Slammed My Finger Down Six Times I Didnt Hear The Glass Shatter Over The Roar Of The Crowd A Hand Dropped Onto My Shoulder Your Final Competitors Tonight Hasan Shouted Near My Ear Our Own Champion, Dahmad The Man Stumbled From The Drink And Raised His Arms High Our Returning Challenger, The Eastern Snake The Foreigner Barely Acknowledged The Taunts And Hoots His Mouth Just Pulled Up At One Side And He Didnt Look Up And A Newcomer On This Fine Evening He Yanked My Arm Up Hard And The Crowd Went Wild, Hollering And Stomping Their Feet Until The Barn Shook The Blue Eyed Bandit The Nickname Killed My Excitement In One Panicked Jolt I Searched The Pistol Pit For Fazim No Matter If I Could Pass For A Boy, My Eyes Werent Something I Could Hide Everything Else About Me Was As Dark As Any Desert Girl Was Supposed To Be, But My Pale Eyes Made Me Stick Out Stupid As He Was, If Fazim Was Still Here He Might Just Be Smart Enough To Put Two And Two Together And Not Come Out With Three But I Grinned Behind My Sheema All The Same And Let The Cheers Wash Over Me Hasan Dropped My Arm Ten Minutes To Get Your Last Bets In, Folks Our Final Round Is Coming Up There Was A Rush For The Bet Wranglers With Nothing Else To Do, I Sank Down In The Sand In An Empty Corner Of The Pit, Leaning Against The Railings My Legs Still Felt A Little Unsteady From Leftover Nerves, My Shirt Was Sticking To My Stomach With Sweat, And My Face Felt Flushed Behind The Cloth Of My Sheema But I Was Winning I Closed My Eyes I Might Actually Leave With The Cash Pot I Worked It Out Quick In My Head The Prize Money Came To Over A Thousand Fouza Id Have To Scrimp Till I Was Dead To Steal And Save A Thousand Fouza Especially With The Mines In Sazi Collapsing A Few Weeks Back An Accident Badly Placed Explosives That Was The Official Story Itd Happened Before, Though Maybe Not So Bad Only Id Heard Whispers Of Sabotage, Too That Someone Had Planted A Bomb Or The Wilder Rumors Claimed It Was A First Being A Djinni Striking Sazi Down For Its Sins But No Matter What Happened, No Metal Coming Down From The Mines Meant No Guns, Which Meant No Money Everyone Was Tightening Belts Lately And I Didnt Even Have Enough To Buy A Belt But With A Thousand Fouza I Could Do A Hell Of A Lotthan That Get Out Of This Dead End Desert That Ran On Factory Smoke I Could Run Straight For Izman All Id Have To Do Was Get To Juniper City On The Next Caravan Then Thered Be Trains From There To Izman Izman I Couldnt Think Of The City Without Hearing It Whispered Like A Hopeful Prayer In My Mothers Voice A Promise Of A Bigger World A Better Life One That Didnt End In A Short Drop And A Sudden Stop So, Blue Eyed Bandit I Opened My Eyes As The Foreigner Sank Down Next To Me, Propping His Arms On His Knees He Didnt Look At Me When He Spoke Its Better Than Eastern Snake, At Least He Was Holding A Skin Of Water I Hadnt Realized How Thirsty I Was Until That Moment, And My Eyes Tracked It As He Took A Long Drink Still, It Has A Certain Dishonest Bent To It He Glanced At Me Out Of The Corner Of His Eye There Was A Skew To His Words That Would Make Even The Most Trusting Fool Think He Was Trouble You Got A Real Name Sure But You Can Call Me Oman If Youve Got To Call Me Something My Eyes Might Betray Me To Some, But Telling Him My Name Was Amani AlHiza Would Betray A LotThe Foreigner Snorted Funny, Omans My Name, Too Funny, I Agreed Drily, A Smile Pulling At My Mouth All The Same I Reckoned Half The Men Born In Miraji Were Called Oman, After Our Exalted Sultan I Didnt Know If Their Parents Figured It Would Win Them Favor With Our Rulernot That Theyd Ever Get So Much As Spitting Distance From Himor If They Thought God Might Give Them Favor By Mistake But I Did Know That The Stranger Wasnt Named Oman Anythan I Was Everything About Him Was Foreign, From His Eyes To The Angles In His Face And The Way He Wore His Desert Clothes Like They Didnt Belong Against His Skin Even His Words Were Tinged With An Accent, Though He Spoke Cleaner Mirajin Than Most Folks Around Here Where You From, Anyhow I Asked Before I Could Stop Myself Every Time I Opened My Mouth It Was Another Chance To Get Found Out For A Girl But I Couldnt Help Myself The Foreigner Took A Swig Of Water Nowhere In Particular You Nowhere Interesting I Could Play That Game, Too Thirsty He Offered Me The Skin, His Attention A Little Too Sharp I Was Parched, But I Didnt Dare Lift My Sheema, Not Even A Little Besides, This Was The Desert You Got Used To Being Thirsty Ill Live, I Said, Trying Not To Run My Tongue Over My Dried Lips Suit Yourself He Took A Long Drink I Watched His Throat Rise And Fall Greedily Our Friend Certainly Seems To Be Thirsty, That Is I Followed His Gaze To Dahmad He Was Draining Another Bottle, His Face Red So Much The Better For You I Shrugged I Was Going To Beat You Both Anyhow At Least Youre Bound To Come In Second Now The Foreigner Broke Into Easy Laughter I Felt Stupidly Pleased With Myself For Being The One To Drag It Out Of Him One Of The Men Pushing To The Front Of The Bet Wranglers Looked Over At Us, Frowning Like We Might Be Conspiring I Like You, Kid, The Foreigner Said And Youre Talented, So Im Going To Give You Some Advice Throw The Game You Really Suppose Thats Going To Work On Me I Tried For Bravado, Straightening Up As Much As I Could You See Our Friend Over There He Nodded To Dahmad He Plays For The House Hasan Gets Rich Off Dahmads Winning They Dont Like It When Strangers Beat Him And How Do You Know So Much Not Being From Around These Parts The Foreigner Leaned Over Conspiratorially Because I Beat Him Last Week We Both Watched Dahmad Sway On His Feet, Grabbing The Wall For Support Doesnt Seem All That Hard Its Not The Two Men Hasan Sent To Corner Me In An Alley And Get The Money Back Wereof A Challenge, Though He Opened And Closed His Hand, And I Saw Healing Bruises On His Knuckles He Caught Me Looking Dont Worry He Winked At Me You Ought To See The Other Guys I Wiped Away Whatever Hed Seen In My Face That He Thought Was Worry And Here You Are, Back To Give Them A Second Chance At You He Turned His Full Attention On Me, All Joking Gone How Old Are You Thirteen Sixteen, Near Seventeen, As A Girl, But As A Boy I Looked Young Someone Who Can Shoot Like You, Youll Go Far In A Fewyears If You Dont Get Killed Tonight Thered Be No Shame In Quitting We All Know You Can Shoot Dont Need To Die Proving It I Eyed Him Why Are You Back If Its So Dangerous, Then Because I Need The Money He Took A Swig From The Waterskin Before Getting To His Feet And I Always Make It Out Of Trouble Alive I Felt A Twinge At That I Knew What It Was Like To Be Desperate He Offered Me A Hand Up I Didnt Take It You Cant Haveneed Than I Do, I Said Quietly And For A Moment I Felt Like We Understood Each Other We Were On The Same Side But We Were Still Against Each Other The Foreigner Dropped His Hand Suit Yourself, Bandit He Walked Off I Sat There A Moment Longer, Convincing Myself That He Was Just Trying To Intimidate Me Into Quitting I Knew We Could Both Beat Dahmad But The Foreigner Was A Decent Shot I Was Better I Had To Be Better The Bet Wranglers Were Fending Off The Last Of Their Customers As The Three Of Us Stepped Back Up To The Line This Time When The Little Barefoot Girl Ran Up, She Only Brought One Bullet With Her In Her Other Hand Was A Strip Of Black Cloth Our Final Round Tonight Hasan Declared Blind Mans Bluff I Reached For The Blindfold, But The Sound Of Gunshots Stopped Me I Ducked Before I Realized The Sound Was Coming From Outside Someone Screamed Half Our Audience Were On Their Feet, Craning Over One Another To Get A Look Outside At This New Entertainment I Couldnt See, But I Heard The Shout Clear Enough In The Name Of The Rebel Prince Ahmed A New Dawn, A New Desert Pinpricks Raced To Every Bit Of Skin I Had Damn The Foreigner Rubbed His Knuckles Across His Chin That Wasnt Smart A New Dawn A New Desert Everybody Had Heard The Rallying Cry Of The Rebel Prince, But Only In Whispers Youd Have To Be An Idiot To Shout Your Support Of The Sultans Rogue Son There Were Too Many Men With Old Ideas And New Guns To Say A Word Against The Sultan In The Last County Snatches Of Voices Rose From The Babble The Rebel Prince Was Killed In Simar Weeks Ago I Heard Hes Hiding In The Dervas Caves With His Demon Sister Should Be Hanged Straightaway Hes Marching On Izman As We Speak Id Heard Half Those Stories, Too And A Half DozenEver Since The Day Of The Sultim Trials, When Prince Ahmed Reappeared After Disappearing Fifteen Years Earlier, To Compete For His Fathers Throne, The Stories About Him Walked The Line Between News And Myth They Said That Hed Won The Sultim Trials Outright And The Sultan Tried To Have Him Killed Instead Of Naming Him Heir That Hed Cheated Using Magic And Lost All The Same The Only Part That Stayed The Same In Every Version Was That After Failing To Win The Throne At The Trials, Hed Disappeared Into The Desert To Start A Rebellion To Win The Country Back A New Dawn A New Desert A Spark Of Excitement Struck Inside Me Most Stories I Knew Were About Things That Happened Long Ago To People Long Dead The Rebel Prince Was A Story We Were All Still Living Even If He Was Likely To Get Killed Any Day Now The Scuffle Outside Was Short, And Then The Lug From The Door Was Dragging In A Kid By The Collar He Was Probably As Young As I Looked In My Disguise Drunken Boos Went Through The Crowd As He Passed Well, Well Hasans Voice Carried Over The Din As He Tried To Get The Crowds Attention Back The Boy Stumbled To Stay On His Feet, Blood Pouring From His Face He Looked Like Hed Taken Some Bad Hits To The Face But Nothing Worse No Bullet Holes Or Stab Wounds Yet It Looks Like We Have A Volunteer The Lug Dragged The Boy Forward And Shoved Him Against The Target He Put The Bottle On Top Of The Kids Head My Heart Went Down Like A Stone Into My Stomach We Have A New Game, Then Traitors Bluff, Hasan Crowed, His Arms Wide The Crowd Answered In A Roar I Could Make That Shot Without Hurting The Kid The Foreigner Could, Too But The Champion Was Swaying On His Feet And Downing Another Drink I Wasnt Sure He Could Hit The Ground If He Tripped, Never Mind Anything Else The Kid Swayed On His Feet, And The Bottle Clunked Dully Into The Sand The Crowd Answered With Heckles He Looked Like He Might Cry As Hasans Lug Rammed His Shoulder Back Until He Stood Straight, Putting The Bottle Back On His Head The Kid Is Too Hurt To Stand Up Straight, Let Alone Keep The Bottle Steady I Caught The Foreigners Words He Was Talking To Hasan You Cant Shoot A Target That Wont Stay Put Then Dont Shoot Hasan Waved A Hand If You And The Bandit Are Too Cowardly, Then You Can Just Walk Away Let My Man Win So Thats What Hasan Was Counting On That The Foreigner And I Would Go Yellow Bellied And Let Dahmad Win Just To Keep Some Kid Alive Just Some Kid Who Was Younger Than I Was And Already Had Arms Marked With Scars From Factory Work No It Was Him Or Me This Kid Wasnt Going To Survive Long In The Desert With Rebellion On His Tongue Anyway Not When Half The Last County Would Rip Him To Shreds For Treason What Would It Matter If I Took The Shot And Someone Else Killed Him Wouldnt Make It My Fault If He Died Or Shoot Him In The Head And Well Call It Close Enough, Hasan Joked My Hand Tightened I Dont Care Of Course He Did He Was Counting On Us Walking Away We Both Knew It You Dont Think It Will Look A Little Bit Suspicious If We Both Drop Out And Let Your Man Win I Asked, Cutting Off Whatever The Foreigner Had Been About To Say Hasan Spun A Bullet Between His Fingers I Think That My Pockets Will Be Heavy With Gold And Yours Wont Sure, I Flung Over My Shoulder Without Taking My Eyes Off The Pathetic Young Rebel Standing With His Back Against The Target He Didnt Deserve To Be A Victim Of The Desert Anythan I Did And Youll Havetrouble Than Gold When Your Customers Figure Theyve Been Duped Hasan S Face Changed He Hadnt Thought Of That I Scanned The Crowd, Trying To Look Bored, Like I Didnt Need This Like I Wasnt Trying To Play Him Just Like He Was Trying To Play Us Youve Got A Room Full Of Drunks Here Whove Put Up Some Hard Earned Money On This And Times Are Tight Lately, What With No Raw Metals Coming In From Sazi Its Making Everyone Mighty Irritable, Ive Noticed Dont You Feel It In Your Bones I Didnt Need To Check If Hasan Was Following My Gaze A Blind Man Could See The Mass Of Broke Factory Workers And Underfed Boys And Men With Already Raw Knuckles Aching For A Release Even The Kid With His Split Lip Lined Up As A Target Was One Of The Restless Only He Was Drunk On The Princes Rebellion Instead Of Two Louzi Liquor Hell, I Knew The Feeling I Was Counting On It To Carry Me All The Way To Izman Living Under Our Sun Doesnt Exactly Give Men A Cool Head Especially, Say, If An Eastern Snake And A Blue Eyed Bandit Were To Start Talking Out There I Looked At Hasan Out Of The Corner Of My Eye, Praying That He Wasnt About To Have Me Shot Ill Tell You What, Though I Can Help You Out Can You, Now Hasan Scoffed, But He Was Still Listening Sure Ill Forfeit And Take The Kids Place For A Thousand Fouza The Foreigner Rounded On Me, Saying Something In A Language I Didnt Know But That Sounded Like Cursing Are You Crazy, Kid He Switched Back To Mirajin You Want To Get Shot Instead Of Him If Im Lucky, Hell Miss Me I Felt My Chest Rising And Falling With Each Shallow Breath The Kid Was Rocking Back And Forth On The Sand That I Was Sure Was Filled With Glass He Had Bare Feet, But He Didnt Whimper Are We Shooting Or What Dahmad Bellowed, Chucking His Empty Bottle At The Kid, Missing Him By A Foot I Was Still Watching Hasan The Sale Wasnt Made Yet If Im Not Lucky, You Dont Have To Pay Me A Thing And Your Crowd Gets Blood Hasans Lip Curled Up Nasty Like And Everybody Goes Home Happy Except The Dead Bandit, The Foreigner Said, Low Enough That I Was The Only One Who Heard He Raised His Voice Well Throw The Game The Foreigners Eyes Hadnt Left Me, Though He Was Talking To Hasan I Opened My Mouth To Argue, But Something In His Gaze Made Me Stop We Were On The Same Side Now If The Blue Eyed Bandit Here Is So Determined To Get Up There As A Target, Ill Shoot First Ill Miss The Bottle Without Shooting Him In The Head Then You Let The Bandit Shoot With Me As The Target Hell Miss, Too My Shoulders Felt Tight, Like My Arms Knew I Couldnt Bear To Miss A Shot But He Was Trusting Me So I Nodded Ever So Slightly Your Champion Wins By Default We All Get Out Of Here Without A Bullet Hole In Us And With The Money, I Piped Up Before The Foreigner Could Make Us Both Honorable And Poor We Leave With A Thousand From The House Winnings Each Ill Give You A Hundred Each, Hasan Said Eight, I Retorted Five And Youre Grateful I Dont Send Someone After You To Break Your Fingers And Bring Me My Money Back Done Five Hundred Wasnt A Thousand, But It Was Better Than Nothing And I Might Still Be Able To Get To Izman On That The Crowd Was Beginning To Get Rowdy A Cry Went Up From The Stands Are You Yellow Bellied Fools Going To Shoot The Kids About To Piss Himself Hasan Tore Away From Us Gents Who Really Wants To See This Rebel Brat Get Shot At Hes Too Short By Half Anyway Hasan Snatched The Bottle Off The Kids Head Scram The Kid Stared At Him Like He Was The Hangman Whod Just Cut The Noose Go, I Urged Silently Then He Was Stumbling Away The Pressure On My Chest Eased Even As A Murmur Of Discontent Rose Hasan Silenced Them With A Raised Hand Wouldnt You Rather See These Three Men With A Score To Settle Take Aim At Each Other The Uproar From The Stands Was Deafening, Feet Stamping So Hard The Whole Building Shook, Down To The Nails Step Up, Bandit I Took One Long, Shuddering Breath Maybe I Ought To Have Thought This Through Or At Least Held Firmer At A Thousand Come On, Kid, A Voice By My Ear Said You Trust Me, Dont You I Eyed The Foreigners Cocksure Grin I Dont Even Know You He Reached Out And Pulled My Hat Off My Head I Was Glad Id Thought To Shove My Hair Back Under The Sheema That Was Pulled Low As My Eyebrows, But Still I Felt Bare Without The Hat All Thereason To Trust Me The Walk Across The Barn Seemed Too Long Hasan Grinned As He Balanced The Bottle On Top Of My Head Better Earn Your Money And Not Shake, Kid Or Everyonell See The Bottle Trembling Like A Girl On Her Wedding Night My Anger Rooted Me The Bottle Didnt Move Not When The Foreigner Stepped To The Line Not When He Slotted His Single Bullet Into The Chamber Not Even When He Raised The Gun And Pointed It Straight At My Head Except I Couldnt Breathe He Took Careful Aim, Adjusting The Shot He Was Taking His Time, And My Nerves Were Fraying By The Second Just Fire, You Coward The Shout Burst From My Lips The Same Second The Gun Went Off I Didnt Have Time To Flinch A Boo Went Up From The Crowd And I Was Still Alive To Hear It I Tipped My Head And The Bottle Tumbled Unbroken Into My Hands I Looked, And A Bullet Was Embedded In The Wall A Hair To The Left Of My Skull Only Then Did I Start To Shake I Wasnt Sure If It Was From Nerves Or From Excitement I Wrapped My Hands Around The Bottle To Hide It Either Way In A Blur Of Boos I Walked Back To The Line The Foreigner Passed Me Halfway Across The Pit As He Walked Out To The Target He Paused For A Second, Placing My Hat Back On My Head You All Right He Asked Cut It A Little Fine There I Tugged My Hat Back Down Whats The Matter, Bandit Like He Thought Something Was Too Damn Funny Feeling A Little Less Immortal I Shoved The Bottle At Him I Wouldnt Taunt Someone Whos About To Aim A Gun At Your Head He Laughed And Kept Walking And Then I Was The One Standing Behind The White Painted Line And He Was The Target I Could Hit The Bottle No Problem If I Wanted To What Were The Chances Dahmad Would Actually Hit The Foreigner Anywhere Fatal And Even If He Did, What Was The Foreigner To Me Not A Thousand Fouza In Prize Money I Fired The Bottle Stayed In One Piece The Game Is Over Hasan Cried Over The Shouts Dahmad Reclaims His Spot As Your Champion Some Cheered, Likely Those Holding Slips With His Number On Them And Slowly A New Chant Started To Go Up From The Crowd Shoot Shoot Shoot The Champion Was Weaving Unsteadily Yeah I Want A Shot At The Snake, Too The Foreigner Had Pulled The Bottle Off His Head, But Now The Champion Was Swaggering Over To The Line, Taking Aim And Gesturing At Him To Step Back Into Place Theyre Right Hasan Crowed We Cant Have A Winner If Dahmad Doesnt Shoot He Cut His Gaze Toward Me I Understood What He Meant Clear Enough No Winner Meant No Winnings For The House And That Meant No Money For Us What Do You Say, Eastern Snake My Eyes Met The Foreigners And I Shook My Head He Held My Stare For A Long Moment, All Hints Of Joking Gone Then He Stepped Back And Set The Bottle On His Head The Champion Stumbled Up To The Line He Could Barely Stand He Squinted At The Foreigner, As If Trying To Make Out Where He Was Exactly My Father Had Been This Drunk Most Days When He Came Home From Factory Work He Got His Hands On A Gun One Of Those Times My Mother And I Would Ve Both Been Dead If Hed Been Able To Shoot Straight Dahmad Raised The Gun From Where I Was Standing I Could See He Was Aiming Straight At The Foreigners Chest The Foreigner Had Beaten The Champion Last Time Dahmad Was Drunk Enough To Think Revenge Was A Better Idea Than Winning And A Man Was A Big Enough Target For Even A Drunk To Hit As The Champions Hand Squeezed Down On The Trigger, Hasans Earlier Words Crashed Down Around Me There Were No Second Shots In This Game I Flung My Body Sideways Without Thinking And Crashed Into Dahmad The Shove Sent The Bullet Three Feet To The Left The Liquor Sent Dahmad Down Into The Sand While I Staggered To Find My Footing, Clutching My Arm The Crowd Went Up Like A Powder Keg That Had Been Waiting For The Right Spark They Knew Theyd Been Tricked, But No One Seemed To Know How Some Were Screaming That The Foreigner And I Were In It Together Others Were Shouting That Hasan Had Scammed Them In An Instant They Were Rushing The Bet Wranglers Son Of A Whore A Pair Of Hands Grabbed Me By The Front Of My Shirt Dahmad Was Back On His Feet And He Had Me Clear Off The Ground, My Toes Dragging In The Sand I Started To Thrash, But He Shoved Me Back Against The Wall Of The Pistol Pit, Knocking The Air Out Of My Lungs And Then There Was A Knife In His Hand Dahmads Face Was Close To Mine, His Teeth Bared, His Breath Reeking Of Spirits Hot Against My Cheek Im Going To Gut You From Navel To Nose And Leave You Here Picking Your Insides Up Off The Ground, Boy The Foreigners Hand Clamped Over The Champions Wrist, Moving Too Fast For Me To See But I Heard The Sickening Snap I Dropped To The Sand In A Heap As The Champion Fell Onto His Side Roaring In Pain, The Knife Clattering Away I Saw Bone Sticking Out Of His Arm The Foreigner Swiped The Knife From The Ground Run, He Ordered The Whole Place Had Gone To Hell A Drunk Smashed Into A Lantern As He Careened It Dropped Into The Stands, Shattering In Oil And Flames I Turned To Make For The Entrance, But The Brawl Was Too Far Gone Already There Was No Escape That Way The Foreigner And I Stood, Backs Against The Wall We Were Forgottenthe Chaos Wasnt Even About Us Any The Whole Barn Was Filling With Smoke We Were Going To Be Choking In Seconds I Dont Suppose You Can Fly He Shouted Over The Noise, Pointing His Chin Straight Above Us A Window Just Out Of Reach, Above The Stands I Grinned At Him Even Though He Couldnt See It I Cant Fly, But I Dont Weigh So Much He Understood Me Perfectly Linking His Fingers Together, He Created A Foothold I Shoved The Pistol I Was Still Carrying Into My Belt Damned If Id Leave A Decent Weapon Here I Took A Few Short Steps Back And Ran My Third Step Landed My Right Boot In The Foreigners Interlaced Fingers And He Launched Me Upward My Arms Banged Into The Ledge With A Jolt That Was Going To Leave Bruises His Hands Were There Under Me, Holding Me Steady As I Dragged Myself Up The Windowsill The Prayer Houses Roof Was An Easy Drop Below, And In A Few Seconds I Was Out In The Night Air I Was Dying To Make A Run For It Instead I Turned Back, Bracing My Feet Against The Roof As I Pulled Him Up, Until He Was Out Of The Window And On The Roof Beside Me We Jumped Down From The Old Prayer House, Rolling As We Hit The Sand Below A Bullet Bounced Off The Wood Near My Head All Right, Bandit, He Gasped Where To Where To He Asked Me, In The Town With The Sky Smelling Of Smoke And Fiery Chaos Blooming In The Dark I Had To Get Back To My Uncles House I Had To Lose Him My Little Cousin Nasima Once Got Slapped Silly For Bringing Home A Mouse She Found Under The Schoolhouse I Could Only Guess Whatd Happen To Me If I Brought A Stray Foreigner Anywhere Near Home And That Wasnt Even Banking On What The Foreigner Would Do If He Found Out I Was A Girl Nah, Ill Be All Right He Looked Over His Shoulder Got Somewhere To Be I Was Already Backing Away, Eyeing The Bar Where Id Left Blue, Hoping To God The Horse Was Still There Thanks For Everything I Forced A Grin At Him Even Though He Couldnt See It But Ive Got To Go See A Bar About A Horse And Before He Could Say Another Word, I Bolted THREEGet Your Useless Self Up And To The Store, Or Dont Expect To Eat Today My Blanket Came Off Me With A Violent Rip I Groaned, Squeezing My Eyes Shut Against The Sunlight And My Aunts Face And Dont Expect To Eat Tomorrow Either I Counted Her Footsteps As She Stomped Away Ten Steps And She Was Clear To The Kitchen I Cracked An Eyelid How Much Sleep Had I Had A Few Hours, Maybe I Wanted Sleepthan I Did Food But Burnt Dawn Light Was Leaking In And Calls To Prayer Were Starting I Rolled From The Mat To The Wooden Floor, Pulling My Blanket Over My Head As I Dug Around For Some Clothes Around Me, The Six Cousins I Shared The Cramped Room With Were Stirring Little Nasima Sat Bolt Upright Before Flopping Back Down And Stuffing The Corner Of Her Blanket Into Her Mouth You Could Barely See The Floorboards Between Our Mats Our Room Looked Like A Battlefield, Clothes Strewn Everywhere Like Fallen Bodies, Schoolwork, Mending Needles, And The Odd Book Scattered Throughout Like Shrapnel Only Olias Corner Had A Clear Floor Shed Even Tried To Hang A Horse Blanket From The Ceiling To Separate Herself From Her Sisters It Took Some Getting Used To, This Room Thered Been Only Two Rooms In My Fathers House The One He And My Mother Slept In And The Big Room Where We Ate And Where I Slept For Almost Sixteen Years That Room Was Gone Now, With The Rest Of The House I Grew Up In It Took Some Searching, But I Found My Good Blue Khalat Shoved In A Ball Under My Mat It Was Wrinkled, So I Did My Best To Smooth Out The Creases With My Hands Before Tugging It Quickly On Over The Plain Brown Shalvar I Wore On The Bottom Shira Sighed Into Her Pillow Can You Stop Crashing Around Like A Dying Goat Some Of Us Are Trying To Sleep In Her Corner, Olia Pulled Her Blanket Back Over Her Head I Found A Boot And Dropped It From As High As I Could So It Hit The Floor With A Loud Thud Shira Flinched She Was The Only One Of My Female Cousins I Shared Blood With The Others Belonged To My Uncles Other Wives Aunt Farrah Had Given Her Husband Three Boys, Then Shira She Simpered At Me Through Heavy Lidded Eyes You Look Terrible, Cousin Didnt Sleep Well My Fingers Faltered On The Sash I Was Knotting Around My Waist Shira Smirked Pointedly Looks Like You Mustve Been Tossing And Turning, Too I Resisted The Impulse To Tug My Sleeve Down Over My Bruised Elbow Of Course Shira Knew Id Snuck Out She Slept Two Feet Away Not That She Couldve Guessed Where Id Gone But That Wouldnt Stop Her From Telling If She Thought Itd Get Her Something, Even If It Was Just The Satisfaction Of Seeing Me Get A Beating How Could I Sleep I Went Back To Tying My Sash With Sluggish Fingers Did You Know That You Snore Olia Snorted Under Her Covers See, I Told You, She Shot At Her Half Sister Sometimes I Almost Liked My Next Youngest Cousin We Used To Get Along Just Fine Back Before I Lived Under My Uncles Roof And Hating Me Became One Of Aunt Farrahs Household Rules Though Maybe That Wasnt You Last Night, I Jabbed At Shira Hard For A Pile Of Blankets To Snore Shiras Bed Had Been As Empty As Mine When Id Clambered Back Through The Window After Using Some Of Our Precious Water To Scrub The Smell Of Smoke And Gunpowder From Myself Judging By The Sickly Sweet Smell Of Oils On Her, Shed Been Out To See Fazim Hed Probably Told Her He Was Going To The Pistol Pit And Coming Back Rich I Tried Not To Smile At The Memory Of Him Getting Pitched From The Competition I Wasnt Even Sure Fazim Had Made It Out Alive We Were At A Stalemate I Wouldnt Tell So Long As She Didnt After A Moment, Shira Flopped Back Onto Her Bed And Started Pulling A Comb Through Her Hair, Ignoring Me I Was Running My Fingers Through My Own Mess Of Black Hair As I Made My Way Into The Kitchen The Boy Cousins Were Already Starting To Mill Around On Their Way To Work, Shouting To One Another Over The Prayer Bells No One Who Worked In The Factory Had Time For Prayers Except On The Holy Days I Snaked Around My Cousin Jiraz, Whose Uniform Was Half On, Half Knotted Around His Waist As He Scratched At A Healing Burn Across His Chest Hed Gotten It From One Of The Machines A Few Months Ago When It Belched Fire At Him Unexpectedly He Was Lucky Hed Lost Only A Month Of Work Instead Of His Life I Grabbed The Tin Of Coffee Off The Top Shelf It Was Mighty Light There Was Sawdust Mixed In To Thin It Out, Too My Stomach Tightened Things Always Got Bad When Food Was Low Actually, Things Were Always Bad They Just Got Worse Farrah Uncle Asid Walked Into The Kitchen, Rubbing His Hand Across His Face Nida, His Youngest Wife, Trailed Behind, Eyes On The Ground, Hands Over Her Pregnant Belly I Turned My Attention Away Just In Time To Pretend I Didnt Notice My Uncles Eyes Drag Along Me Is There Coffee Yet Desperate Restlessness Filled Me I Wasnt Staying Here No Matter How Light The Coin Purse I Wore Tied Against My Middle Felt After Last Night Give Me That Aunt Farrah Snatched The Tin With One Hand, The Other Smacking Me Sharply Across The Back Of The Head I Winced I Told You To Go Open The Store, You Hear Me I Couldnt Not Hear You I Stepped Out Of Her Reach, Not That Itd Save Me From A Beating Later I Was Glad To Get The Hell Out Of This House And Out Of My Uncles Sights, But I Couldnt Stop My Smart Mouth Any Louder And The Whole Town Could Hear You Screeching I Let The Door Clatter Shut Behind Me As I Dashed Down The Steps And Into The Street, Aunt Farrahs Threats Of A Switch To My Back Fading With Every Step My Uncles Shop And His House Were At Opposite Ends Of Dustwalk, Which Was A Whole Two Hundred And Fifty Paces To Walk Dustwalks Single Street Was As Crowded As It Ever Got, What With The Men Trudging To The Factory And Women And Old Folks Rushing To The Prayer House Before The Sun Burned Away The Last Of The Cooler Night Air The Familiarity Weighed On Me Lately Id Been Thinking Someone Just Ought To Kill This Town Out Of Mercy No Steel Was Coming Down From The Mountains Itd Been Years Since The Last Buraqi Was Spotted There Were A Few Regular Horses Left To Sell, But They Werent Worth A Whole Lot There Was Only One Thing Id Ever Liked About Dustwalk, And That Was All The Space Outside Of It Beyond The Flat Faced, Dead Eyed Wooden Houses, You Could Run For Hours And Still Find Nothing But Scrub And Sand I Resented It Now, How Far It Was From Everywhere Else But When I Was Younger Itd Been Enough Just To Get Away Far Enough That I Couldnt Hear My Father Slurring That My Mother Was Nothing But A Used Up Foreigners Whore Who Couldnt Give Him A Son Far Enough That No One Could See Me, A Girl With A Stolen Gun, Shooting Until My Fingers Were Sore And My Aim Was Good Enough That I Couldve Knocked A Shot Glass Out Of A Drunks Shaky Fingers The Furthest Away I Could Ever Get Was When My Mother Used To Tell Me Bedtime Stories Of Izman Only When My Father Couldnt Hear The City Of A Thousand Golden Domes, With Towers Thatd Scratch The Blue Off The Sky, And As Many Stories As There Were People Where A Girl Could Belong To Herself And The Whole City Was So Rich With Possibilities That You Almost Tripped Over Adventures In The Street She Read Me The Stories Of Princess Hawa, Who Sang The Dawn Into The Sky Early When Izman Was Attacked By Nightmares In The Night Of The Nameless Merchants Daughter Who Tricked The Sultan Out Of His Jewels When Her Father Lost His Fortune And She Read Me The Letters From Her Sister Safiyah Safiyah Was The Only Person Id Ever Heard Of Whod Gotten Out Of Dustwalk She Ran Away The Night Before She Was Meant To Be Married And Made It All The Way To Izman Letters Came From Her In The Capital To My Mother With A Caravan Every Once In A Blue Moon They Talked About The Wonders Of The City, A Bigger World And A Better Life Those Were The Times My Mother Would Talk Most About Izman How We Were Going To Leave And Go And Join Safiyah Someday She Stopped Talking About It On The Hottest Desert Day Anyone Remembered In A Long Time Or Maybe Just One Of Those Days That Folks Remembered So Well After Because Of What Happened I Was As Far Into The Desert As I Could Get Without Losing Sight Of The House The Sun Was Glaring So Hard Off The Six Empty Glass Bottles I Had Lined Up That It Was Making Me Squint, Even With My Sheema Pulled Up To My Nose And My Hat Low Over My Eyes As I Took Aim I Remembered Swatting At A Fly On My Neck As I Heard Three Gunshots I Stopped But I Didnt Wonder Much This Was The Last County Then The Smoke Started To Come Up That Was When I Ran Back Into Town My Fathers House Was On Fire Later, Id Find Out My Mother Shot My Father In The Stomach Three Times And Then Dropped A Match To The House But All I Remembered Understanding Then Was Relief When They Dragged My Fathers Body Out Of The House He Wasnt Even My Real Father I Remembered My Mother Trying To Run To Me Before They Dragged Her Off And My Throat Going Raw From Screaming When They Put The Noose Around Her Neck Dreaming About The Places My Mother Talked About Stopped Being Enough When The Trapdoor Dropped Open Below Her Feet I Was Just About Halfway Across Town When I Noticed The Crowd Forming In The Big Gap Next To The Prayer House, Where The House I Grew Up In Used To Be I Spotted Tamids Too Neatly Parted Dark Hair Through The Crowd I Shoved Through Bodies Until I Was Next To Him People Tended To Stand Clear Of Tamid Like They Thought They Might Catch A Limp From Him It Left That Muchroom For Me What Are We Staring At I Moved To Take The Place Of The Wooden Crutch Under His Left Arm It Worked Fine And All, But The Stupid Boy Kept Getting Taller, And Every Time Somebody Bothered To Build Him A New Crutch, Hed Go And Grow Again He Flashed Me A Smile That I Returned With A Stuck Out Tongue Whats It Look Like He Passed The Crutch Back To Hayfa She Was The Only Servant In Town, On Account Of Tamids Family Being The Only One That Could Afford Both To Buy Food And To Pay Someone To Cook It He Rested His Weight Against Me Tamid Was Pale As Sin For Desert Folk But At Least His Tall, Skinny Frame Looked Less Hunched Today At First, In The Glare Of Sunrise, All I Saw Was The Familiar Blackened Brick Of The Sultans Weapons Factory On The Edge Of Town The Only Reason The Hellholes Around Here Were Allowed To Exist Was To Serve The Factory Then I Caught The Glint Of The Sun On Polished Metal The Sultans Army Was Coming They Marched In Lines Of Three Abreast, Down From The Hills Their Gold Sheemas Covered Them From The Sun, And Their Sabers Hung From One Hip, Guns From The Other, White Zouave Tucked Neatly Into Their Boots, And Gold Shirts Cinched At Their Hips Their March Was Slow But Inevitable It Was Always Inevitable At Least There Were No Blue Uniforms Dotted Among The White And Gold Blue Uniforms Meant The Gallan Army The Sultans Army Might Not Make Life Easy, But They Were Still Mirajin, And We Were Their People The Gallan Were Foreigners Occupiers They Were Dangerous Politics And History Werent Exactly What Folks Talked About In Our End Of The World, But The Way I Heard It, Our Most Exalted Sultan Oman Had Figured Two Decades Back That He Was Better Suited To Rule Miraji Than His Father So He Made An Alliance With The Gallan Army The Foreigners Killed His Father And Anybody Else Who Refused To Bow To Him As Sultan And In Return He Let The Gallan Army Set Up Camp In Miraji And Take The Guns We Made, To Go Off And Win Their Wars On Far Off Shores Arent They Back From Sazi A Bit Soon I Squinted Into The Dawn, Trying To Count Them Seemed Like There Werent As Many As Usual You Didnt Hear The Pistol Pit In Deadshot Burned To The Ground Last Night I Stiffened, Hoping Tamid Didnt Notice There Was Some Riot My Father Heard This Morning Something To Do With The Rebel Prince He Says The Armys Coming Down From The Mountains To Sort It Out To Hang Drunks And Gamblers, You Mean The Sultans Army Had Passed Through On Their Way To Sazi Only A Few Days Ago Theyd Gone To See The Mines, Probably To Find Out If They Were Worth Salvaging It Was Unsettling To Have Them Back So Soon Normally The Mirajin Fifteenth Command Came Through Every Three Months To Collect The Weapons The Factory Churned Out And Take Them For The Gallan Deadshot Was Always A Bed Of Sin They Had It Coming I Was Meditating This Morning On The Golden City Of Habadden Tamids Voice Took On A Righteous Tone He Had A Tendency To Read The Holy Books Until The Spines Were Worn, And I Swore Hed Started Preaching At Methan The Holy Father Did Lately Their People Were So Corrupted By Wealth, They Turned Their Backs On God So God Sent The Warrior Djinn To Cleanse It With Their Smokeless Fire Sure, Then There Were The Less Holy Stories Of Djinn Seducing Women, Stealing Them From Fathers And Husbands, And Carrying Them Off To Hidden Towers Those Were The Good Old Days Nobody Had Seen A Djinni In Decades Now All It Took To Burn Down A Den Of Sin Was A Girl, A Foreigner, And A Whole Mess Of Drunks See, Tamid Went On, Soundinglike My Chiding Friend Again I Bet Youre Glad You Listened To Me About Going To The Pistol Pit I Screwed Up My Face It Was As Good As Admitting Guilt His Expression Dropped You Didnt Shut Up, Will You I Looked At Hayfa, Who Seemed A Little Too Interested In Staring At Tamids Crutch While Pretending Not To Listen You Want To Get Me Hanged When He Sighed, I Felt His Disappointment So Thats Why You Look Like An Exhausted Wreck This Morning And Folks Say Youre Not Much Of A Charmer But I Scrubbed A Hand Over My Face All The Same, Like I Might Be Able To Rub Away Evidence Of Last Night I Couldve Won I Leaned In Close To Tamid So Nobody Would Overhear If Theyd Played Halfway Fair Didnt Say You Couldnt, Amani He Didnt Share My Excitement I Said You Shouldnt It Was An Old Argument We Used To Have It Back When My Mother Was Still Alive When She Used To Talk About Izman We Stopped Having It After She Died I Didnt Bother Telling Tamid I Was Still Planning On Going Not Until The Night I Overheard My Uncle After Scrambling Away From Where I Had Been Crouched Below The Window, I Headed Straight For Tamids House Id Climbed Through His Window Like Id Done Since I Was Old Enough To Be Able To Jump To The Windowsill And Just Like Always Tamid Greeted Me, Trying To Look Exasperated And Failing I Told Tamid I Was Running Out Of Time, That I Needed To Get Out Now Or Never While I Talked His Expression Turned Less Joking Tamid Had Never Really Understood My Need To Get Out Of Dustwalk Of All Folks In This Godforsaken Town, He Should Have That Night He Said The Same Thing He Always Did No Matter Where We Went, Nothing Could Change What We Were A Cripple And A Girl If We Were Worthless Here, Why Would It Be Different Anywhere Else Id Tried To Tell Him Different About The Letters From Aunt Safiyah About A Better Life About Bigger Things Than Living And Dying In This Dead End Desert Town But For Someone So Filled With Holy Zeal, Tamid Wasnt Really The Blind Faith Sort So I Let Him Figure Hed Converted Me And Didnt Tell Him I Was Planning On Strapping My Chest Down And Making A Run For It, One Way Or Another I Wasnt Like Him I Had To Believe Izman Was Better Than Here, Or There Wasnt Much Point Living Anywhere At All Now Hayfa Cleared Her Throat Its Not My Place And All, But Youre About To Be Late For Prayers, Sir Tamid And I Traded A Look, Both Of Us Stifling Our Laughs Like We Were Kids In A Classroom Again Lateness Is A Sin, You Know, Tamid Said With Mock Sternness In School, Tamid And I Were Late All The Time We Used To Try To Blame His Leg, And Our Schoolteacher Used To Scold Us That Lateness Was A Sin We Mightve Been Frightened, Except He Told Us Everything Was A Sin Tamid Had Read The Holy Books Three Times Over, And As Far As He Could Find, Neither Lateness Nor Talking In Lessons Nor Falling Asleep In School Was A Sin Still, Tamid Took The Crutch Back From Hayfa As She Tried To Usher Him Toward The Prayer House And Away From Me Were Not Done Talking About This, Tamid Called As I Turned To Walk In The Opposite Direction I Spun Long Enough To Give Him A Mocking Salute Before I Dashed Across The Scorching Sand Toward The Shop I Tossed Open The Iron Grates On The Storefront Before Kicking The Door Open To Get As Much Sunlight Inside As I Could Before Going In I Checked Around The Bags Of Salt And Shelves Stacked With Tinned Things Swimming In Thick Juices That Made Them Last Unnaturally Long, Watching For Any Shadow That Might Move The Doors And Windows Of The Store Were Edged In Iron, Just Like Every House In The Last County, But That Didnt Always Stop Things From Crawling Through In The Dead Of Night In The Desert You Learned To Look Out For Ghouls In The Shadows Ghouls Came In A Thousand Different Forms Tall Faceless Skinwalkers, Whod Eat A Mans Flesh And Take His Shape So They Could Feast On His Family, Too Small Leathery Nightmares, Who Sunk Their Teeth Into Sleeping Mens Chests And Fed Off Their Fear Until The Soul Was Sucked Out Iron Was The Only Thing Thatd Keep Them Out It Was The Only Thing Thatd Kill Them, Too They Hid From The Sunlight, But The Only Thing That Would Really Do The Trick Was A Bullet To The Skull Or An Iron Knife Through The Ribs Iron Turned All Immortal Things Mortal Powerless That Was How The Destroyer Of Worlds Killed The First First Beings And That Was How Humans, In Turn, Killed The Destroyer Of Worlds Ghouls There Werent So Many Ghouls As There Used To Be The Last Person To Get Killed By One Round These Parts Was A Decade Ago But Every Once In A While, One Would Crawl Over Some Break In The Iron And Into The Corner Shadows Of A House And Get A Bullet To The Head For Its Troubles Once I Was Satisfied That The Shop Was As Empty As A Drunks Bottle, I Propped Open The Door To Get Whatever Breeze There Was Before Dumping Out What Was Left Of My Money On The Counter It Came To Six Fouza And Three Louzi, No Matter How Many Times I Counted It That Wasnt Enough To Make It Out Of Sight Of Dustwalk, Let Alone To Izman Even If I Emptied The Shop Till And Didnt Get Caught I Wouldnt Make It That Far I Needed A New Plan And I Needed One Soon The Iron Bell On The Door Rattled, Giving Me Just Enough Warning To Swipe Up My Pathetic Collection Of Coins Before Pama AlYamin Came In, Herding Her Three Boys The Day Wore On With Painful Slowness While I Tried To Think My Way Out Of Dustwalk By Late Afternoon My Chin Was Dipping To My Chest As The Heat Tried To Drag Me Down Into Sleep The Sound Of Hoofbeats Made Me Look Up Just In Time To See A Handful Of Soldiers Clatter Past I Scrambled Up, My Mouth Dry Tamid Said The Army Was Coming To Deal With Deadshot So What Were They Doing Here Had Somebody Told Them About The Blue Eyed Bandit And Pointed Them The Way Of The Only Girl In The Desert Who Couldve Played The Part A Shape Dove Into The Shop As Fast As A Shadow, Plastering Itself In The Blind Spot Between The Door And The Window I Felt For The Rifle Aunt Farrah Kept Below The Counter The Man Didnt Come For Me, Though He Stayed So Still, I Thought He Might Have Stopped Breathing Another Horse Rode Past Without Looking In The Direction Of The Shop I Waited Until It Was Clear Before Speaking Fine Day For Hiding He Spun Around His Badly Wrapped Sheema Fell Away From His Face And I Saw Him Clearly In The Late Afternoon Light That Leaked Through The Window My Heart Did A Strange Little Jump The Foreigner I Schooled My Face To Look Impassive He Gave Me A Smile That Didnt Match The Tension In His Shoulders Just Needed To Get Out Of The Sun On A Day Like This His Voice Was Sure And Smooth, Like I Remembered From Last Night There Was No Hint Of Recognition There, And I Felt A Flicker Of Disappointment Its Not A Big Town, You Know Theyre Bound To Look Here Sooner Or Later Id Guess Sooner Another Horse Clattered Past, Then Slowed, Looping Around It Came To A Halt Outside The Shop, And The Mounted Soldier Called Something Out Twohorses Came Into View A Muscle In The Foreigners Jaw Twitched The Knife At His Side Was The Same One Hed Taken Off Dahmad Last Night When Hed Saved Me, And Id Left Him To Fend For Himself You Might Want To Find A Better Hiding Place His Hand Was Still Playing With The Hilt Of The Knife When He Looked Up, Questioningly I Stepped Back, Nodding To The Gap Below The Counter The Soldier Was Dismounting Now In The Second That His Back Was Turned, The Foreigner Dashed Across The Short Space Between The Door And The Counter He Vaulted Over The Counter And Landed So Close To Me, I Felt His Shoulder Brush Mine Before He Ducked Down Below I Quickly Adjusted Myself So I Was Standing Square In Front Of Him A Second Before The Soldiers Entered The First One Stood In The Doorway For A Long Moment, Looking In Every Corner Of The Tiny Place, The Other Two Flanking Him Finally His Scrutiny Landed On Me He Was Young His Hair Was Combed Backcarefully Than Most Soldiers, And He Had A Round Face That Made Him Look Soft But The Gold Sash Across His Uniform Told Me He Was In Command Afternoon, Sir, I Said In My Best Shopgirl Voice I Was Keenly Aware Of The Foreigner Below The Counter, Trying To Quiet His Breathing Commander To You His Hand Twitched, And He Turned The Gesture Into A Straightening Of His Cuffs Can I Help You, Commander Id Learned Young To Give The Army False Respect The Two Soldiers Whod Followed Their Commander Took Up Position By The Door Like I Might Make A Run For It One Of Them Was Older And Looked Every Inch A Career Soldier Stiff Back, Dark Eyes Straight Ahead The Second One Was Younger Than His Commander, Maybe Even Younger Than Me He Slumped In A Uniform That Didnt Quite Fit, With A Glazed Look On His Face Id Bet That He Wasnt Going To Live Long Enough To Ever Look Like A Soldier Im Looking For A Man The Commanders Accent Was Sharp And Northern And Expensive I Felt The Foreigners Arm Brush My Leg As He Tensed I Didnt Know If It Was The Soldiers Voice Or Because He Thought I Was About To Sell Him Out I Gave The Commander My Best Guileless Blink Funny, Most Men Round Here Are Looking For A Woman The Words Were Out Of My Mouth Before I Remembered That He Could Shoot Me In The Head And Call It Justice The Older Of The Two Soldiers Coughed, Covering A Laugh The Commander Just Frowned, Like He Thought I Didnt Understand Him A Criminal Have You Seen Him I Shrugged Seen A Few People Today Fat Pama And Her Sons Were In A Few Hours Ago, And The Holy Father, Too This Mans Not From Around Here His Head Twitched From Side To Side, Peering Around The Small Store He Started Pacing Evenly His Steps Made The Glass Bottles Of Liquor On The Shelf Behind Me Clink Together Is That Right My Eyes Tracked Him As He Walked To The Door Of The Storeroom And Squinted Through Into The Dwindling Stacks Of Tinned Food Our Supplies Were Too Sparse To Hide Anyone There As The Commander Turned Back Toward Me, I Noticed A Fresh Speck Of Red On The Counter Like A Drop Of Blood I Laid My Hand Across The Stain As Casual As I Could Youd Know If Youd Seen Him, The Young Commander Was Saying In His Tightly Coiled Accent I Smiled Like My Heart Wasnt Racing In My Chest, Telling Me To Run For The Hills Like I Said, Not Many Folks Round Here Today Not Many Foreigners, Neither You Sure About That Well, Ive Been Here All Day Its Quiet On Account Of The Heat And All Youd Be Clever Not To Lie To Me, Girl I Bit My Tongue He Was Barely Older Than I Was Eighteen Nineteen At Most Probably The Same Age As The Foreigner I Crossed My Arms, Careful To Hide The Bloodstain, And Leaned Over The Counter With A Smile Oh, I Dont Lie, Commander Lying Is A Sin After All, Isnt It Where Was Tamid When I Needed Him To Share A Joke But To My Surprise The Younger Of The Two Soldiers Spoke Up This Desert Is Full Of Sin The Commander Looked Toward His Soldier In The Same Moment I Did I Expected Him To Get A Sharp Reprimand For Speaking Out Of Turn But The Commander Didnt Say A Word No Wonder The Older Soldier Didnt Work Too Hard To Hide His Laugh No Commander Who Wanted Respect Would Let A Soldier Talk Out Of Line Like That The Young Soldier Met My Gaze And I Realized With A Start That His Eyes Were As Blue As Mine Id Never Met Another Mirajin With Light Eyes Desert Dwellers Had Dark Hair, Dark Skin, And Dark Eyes It Was The Gallan Who Had Pale Features Just Because They Were Entitled To Our Weapons, The Gallan Army Seemed To Think They Were Entitled To Everything Else In The Desert A Couple Of Years Back The Men Of Dustwalk Hanged Pretty Young Dalala AlYimin After A Gallan Soldier Took A Bit Too Much Of A Shine To Her All The Women In Town Comforted Dalalas Mother By Saying How It Was The Best Thing To Do, Considering She Wasnt Any Good To Anyone Now He Was Done With Her That Night Id Looked At My Own Blue Eyes And Thought Of The Gallan With Their Pale Eyes And Light Hair For Years I Hadnt Really Understood What My Father Meant When Hed Get Into One Of His Drunken Rages And Call My Mother A Foreigners Whore But I Was Fourteen Then, Old Enough To Understand That Folks Didnt Actually Believe The Dark Eyed Desert Man My Dark Eyed Mother Was Married To Was Really My Father I Figured My Mother Had Just Been Smarter Than Dalala Shed Gotten Herself Married To Hiza In Time To Pretend The Reason She Was Swelling Up With Child Was Him, And Not Some Foreign Soldier Whod Caught Her Alone And Against Her Will On Some Dark Desert Night And By The Time I Came Along With My Contrary Eyes, There Was No Admitting I Was Anything But Hizas Daughter, Not In This Town Seemed The Scrawny Soldier Had A Smart Mama Like Mine Just Not Smart Enough To Keep Him Out Of The Army His Mothers Husband Wouldve Wanted To Get Rid Of Him, I Reckoned Thats Why He Was In Uniform Too Young And Too Underfed And Too Smart Mouthed To Last All That Long As His Blue Gaze Met Mine, The Desert Heat Suddenly Seemed To Become Stifling The Shop Closing In Around Us, The Air Getting Thick With Nervous Heat I Felt A Bead Of Sweat Roll Down The Back Of My Neck Quite So, Noorsham The Commanders Voice Pulled My Attention Back To Him Abruptly, As He Gave Another Nervous Tug At His Sleeves He Gestured To His Two Soldiers, A Sign The Older Soldier Leaned Toward The Younger Soldier And Said Something To Him Before Leading Him Outside, Gripping Him Tightly By The Elbow It Struck Me As A Strange Gesture From One Soldier To The Other I Didnt Have Any Time To Consider It Though Because Just Like That I Was Alone With The Commander And The Foreigner I Was Hiding And It Occurred To Me, He Mightve Just Been Getting Rid Of Anyone Who Might Interfere I Touched My Hand To The Rifle Under The Counter The Commander Planted His Arms On Either Side Of Me So He Could Stare Straight Down At Me.This Man, Hes Dangerous Hes A Mercenary, And His Ilk Turn On A Coin There Is A War Going On Like He Thought I Could Have Lived Sixteen Years Without Noticing The Gallan Soldiers In Our Desert Miraji Hasenemies Than You Can Understand And Any One Of Them Could Be Paying Him If It Suited His Purposes, Hed Slit A Girls Throat Wide Open Except Hed Do Other Things To Her First, If You Catch My Meaning My Mind Went Back To Last Night, To The Stranger Whod Stepped In Front Of A Gun To Save A Kid If You Do See Him, Youd Better Tell Your Husband I Frowned, Faking Confusion I Dont Have A Husband Your Father, Then He Pulled Away From Me, Straightening His Cuffs With A Twitch Dont Have One Of Them Around, Neither I Kept Playing Dumb I Could Tell My Uncle, Though, If Thatd Do The Commander Nodded, Seeming Satisfied That I Was Just Duller Than A Bag Of Rocks Instead Of A Liar I Watched Him All The Way To The Door But I Was Never Good At Keeping My Mouth Shut SirCommander I Called Out, Keeping My Eyes Down, Like A Good Respectful Girl In The Presence Of An Officer With My Head Down, I Was Staring Straight Into The Foreigners Eyes Something Darted Across His Face, And For A Moment I Wondered If He Recognized Me From Last Night After All This Mercenary Whats He Wanted For, Anyhow The Commander Paused On The Porch Treason I Raised My Eyebrows At The Foreigner, A Question Below The Counter, He Winked At Me And I Couldnt Stop Myself From Smiling Back Well, Then, Ill Keep An Eye Out For Him, Sir I Waited Until I Couldnt Hear The Commanders Horse Any Before Reaching Down To Pull The Foreigner To His Feet Treason Youre A Good Liar A Small Smile Still Played Over His Face For Someone Who Doesnt Lie Ive Had A Lot Of Practice His Hand Was Lingering On Mine, Fingers Against My Pulse I Dropped My Arm And Looked Up That Was When I Noticed The Red Staining His White Shirt, Same As The Blood On The Counter Turn Around I Sucked Air Through My Teeth The Whole Back Of His Shirt Was A Mess Of Red I Dont Mean To Worry You And All, I Said, Trying To Keep My Voice Calm, But Have You Noticed That Youve Been Shot Ah Looking At Him Closer Now, I Could See He Was Clutching The Counter To Stay Upright Id Almost Forgotten About That Ce Texte Fait R F Rence L Dition Reli.PRAISE FOR Rebel Of The Sands Romantic, Thrilling, Hilarious, And Just Plain Great Fun Starred Review, Kirkus ReviewsThis Atmospheric Fantasy Combines Magic, Mythology, And The Wild West To Create A Riveting Talean Exciting, Romantic Adventure That Is Unique And All Its Own Starred Review, BooklistIf The Best Of The Old West And The Coolest Parts Of Arabian Nights Had A Baby Who Then Rebelled By Going Steampunk, The Result Would Be This Gem Of A Book Starred Review, BCCB Readers Will Be Drawn Into The Story And Wont Want To Put This Book Down Starred Review, School Library Connections Rebel Of The Sands Is A Winning Bit Of Storytelling, As Well As A Homage To Storytelling Itself It Evokes Such Disparate Influences 1,001 Arabian Nights, Hindu Lore And Navajo Myth, As Well As, Inevitably, The Triumvirate Of Tolkien, Lucas And Rowling That At Times You Wonder Whether Hamilton Can Pull It All Off She Can She Has Circled A Spot On The Map And Claimed It For Her Own The New York Times Book ReviewDebut Author Hamilton Combines Elements Of Western And Middle Eastern Civilization And Lore With Her Own Mythology, Crafting An Enticing, Full Bodied Storysuccessfully Mingles Romance With Thrilling Stakes, And Hints At A Welcome Sequel Publishers WeeklyA Perfect Combination Of American Westerns And Arabian MythsFans Of Sarah Maas And Victoria Aveyard Should Give This One A TryVOYA Rebel Of The Sands Is Vivid, Romantic, And Wildly Entertaining You Will Cheer For Amani The Whole Way As She Escapes The Bonds Of Oppression And Finds Her Own Power, And You Will Mark Your Calendar For The Sequel Rae Carson, Bestselling Author Of The Fire Thorns Trilogy Buckle Up For A Wild Ride Rebel Of The Sands Is A Stunning Debut Full Of Irresistible Energy, Heart Stopping Action, And A New Voice That Sings Alison Goodman, New York Times Bestselling Author Of Eon And Eona Ce Texte Fait R F Rence L Dition Reli.

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