Under Cover

After three days’ journey east, I came to the low gate of Dystosia. The city has bloomed in the desert for many years, growing in rings that spread from a wide and rich oasis flowing with sweet water that nourishes fragrant dates and other wonders.

The inhabitants do nothing all day but devise new ways to keep out from under the sun’s cruel gaze. They raise awnings over boulevards, weave palm fronds, and carry parasols with them wherever they go. “Happy is he who walks in shadow with all his steps,” they say.

At night, for coins, children climb tent poles and scramble over rooftops to repair holes in the cloths that blanket the city. They blink in the light of the moon. Some refuse to go out if it is full. They shade their eyes and say it reminds them too much of the daylight they’ve heard of in stories.

The people of Dystosia are so preoccupied with blocking out the sun, they do not realize it is all they think about. Though they never see it, they worship it with their attention, their time, their lives.

View this story's 11 comments.