“I was cast out,” the thing croaked, through strained vocal cords greased by salt and embalming oils. “They take whom they wish from the tombs of old and raise them to work alongside the newly embalmed.”

“So why did they cast you out?” I asked, shuddering as the desert wind spiraling off a nearby dune filled my nostrils with the creature’s grave scent.

“I did not obey,” it said. “Most of the others remember nothing of the before, or are afraid. Those of us who do remember and are not afraid are cast into the sands. I have been wandering for I know not how long.”

“And who were you? In the…before?”

“That, I will keep to myself if you do not mind, stranger. It is unbearable to think about.”

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