As Allen trudged tiredly over the sand dunes of the barren desert, he concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other.
Left, right, left, right, left-
Allen collapsed in the soft sand with a thud.
Running non-stop for hours can really tire you out, he noticed. Guess I'm just lucky that I outran that giant centipede-looking thing. At least now, I can lie down for a bit. Just for a bit.
He sighed, lying face-down on the sandy ground. The sand was deliciously cool against his body, and he wondered hazily why the sky was still half-lit. It should've been day or night by now; and yet the sky was still stuck in a half bright stage that was either dawn or dusk. In fact, it had been like that for the past few hours.
What a strange world, Allen thought as he fell asleep.
Lag Seeing and his dingo, Niche, were happily walking home through the white desert Jose after a job well done. It hadn't been an easy job, tracking down the old man who seemed to change his name at every town he stopped at, but Lag had eventually located him. He handed the letter to one Peter Malony (though the letter was clearly addressed to 'Brian Hutchinson') and had hurriedly set off back to headquarters with his dingo. Aria, his section head, would be quite annoyed at how long he took to deliver that letter, but Lag was willing to listen to a lecture if only it meant that he would be able to take a short break and eat Sylvette's homecooked supper. But he would pass on the soup, Lag decided, gagging as he remembered the last time he had tasted it.
Niche was also walking along quite cheerfully, and playfully drawing lines in the sand by letting her hair drag behind her. Suddenly, she froze, and Lag, who was used to Niche's extraordinarily acute senses, stopped as well.
"Is it a Gaichuu, Niche?" he whispered.
Niche shook her head, which caused the large ratty creature on her head to wag as well. Niche made a sudden jump, propelling herself off the path and down the hill. At the bottom lay a figure, lying still and unmoving in the sand. Lag sprinted after Niche, and as he came closer he realized that the figure was a white-haired person wearing strange clothes. Niche prodded the man cautiously with her foot. He didn't move.
"Is he dead?" Lag asked, horrified. They both stared at the body, then Lag crouched down to check. If the person was dead, it was best to leave him here and move on, but if he was alive, there was no way Lag could leave him here in the desert.
Lag reached for the person's arm and pushed up the sleeve to check his pulse.
The person's arm was blood red and deformed-looking. Lag dropped it in surprise. Niche bent down and sniffed at it.
"Doesn't smell like fresh blood," she muttered.
Lag decided to check the person's other arm, but his head was in the way. With some gentle pushing and shoving, Lag rolled the person onto his left side and freed his arm out from underneath his head. This arm was normal, and Lag felt a steady pulse in his wrist.
The person was probably just exhausted from walking through Jose, Lag thought. He decided to set up camp for the night, and wait to see if the mysterious traveller would wake up.
Lag carefully started a fire with some pieces of wood he and Niche scavenged, then sat back with a thump and a satisfied sigh. The fire blazed merrily and lit up the campsite with a rosy glow.
Niche rummaged in the bag for some food, handed some to Lag, then huddled near the fire while she stuffed the bread into her mouth.
They sat there for a while, chatting about mundane topics such as the letter they had just delivered, Niche's new battle techniques, the Letter Bee office and the weather, before both of them decided to curl up and sleep. Niche lay beside the fire with her blade-like hair spread out, and Steak the rat creature as a makeshift-pillow. The rat was so devoted to her that it didn't mind the sharpness of her hair digging into its fur. Lag, before curling up as well, pulled out a well-worn blanket from his letter bag, which he shook out and put over the unconscious person. It was pretty cold in the desert when you stopped moving, and it would be a pity if the man woke up with a nasty cold. Lag stretched sleepily, then snuggled down beside Niche and fell asleep as well.
Allen cracked open one eye and looked at the two children sleeping on the desert floor, beside the ashes of the campfire. They seemed like decent people, he decided, and Allen supposed they'd do some talking tomorrow. Maybe they'd know more about this strange country, and how to get back to where he wanted to be. Allen knew that this wasn't his world, since he had never in his life even heard stories of humongous bugs that ate humans and roamed around freely. The most likely answer was that, in using the ark, he had somehow managed to land himself in another world.
Just my luck, he thought. But as the two kids beside him had obviously no intention of waking up for hours, Allen decided to go back to sleep as well. It can wait 'till morning. Everything looks better in the morning.
How wrong he was. How very, very wrong.
A/N: Comments are really appreciated, especially advice. I will be continuing this story, but I have no idea how far I'll take it, and don't hold your breath for the update - I update very, very slowly ;)