The Coil

The encampment is little more than a desiccated husk. What remains of the few tents still standing are tatters of canvas flapping from poles bent and twisted by some cataclysmic event. Much of the ground here has been blasted into red glass and slag, but there are pockets that remain sandy, that still shift in the gale that howls through this canyon.

It is one of these pockets that hides the original purpose of this encampment. The wind blasts, the sand shifts, and the edges of a device emerge. It is a delicate thing, fragile, and yet somehow it remains intact. It looks not so much like a coil — though there are sections of glass tubing that do, indeed, coil — as a series of tubes, bottles, and decanters connected in series. It looks like the chemistry set of a mad scientist.

Dark residue clings tenaciously to the insides of several bottles.

And in one bottle, a minute Ember still burns, consuming nothing and yet, still, it pulses gently.

The wind and sands shift, and the device disappears once more.

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