The car was red and shiny-bright against the dusty road. The desert stretched away on every side; pale beige dust and darker dirt, little scrubby washed-out green stumps of plants, and occasionally a saguaro cactus, tall and faded, stretching its spiked arms up towards the bright blue sky.
The car, a Mustang convertible of indeterminable age and heritage, sped northwards, billowing white dust, a shining red dragon speeding onwards through its own smoke. The driver was a slim man, tall when standing, with a young, pleasant, handsome face. His hair was dark, ruffling in the wind, and his hands were long and elegant, pianist’s fingers that gripped the steering wheel. His eyes were dark, dark, dark blue; almost black in some lights, almost turquoise in others. He gazed steadily at the empty road ahead, occasionally glancing at the girl in the passenger seat next to him.
The girl was younger than him by perhaps ten years; also slim, also tall, with the same dark, dark, dark eyes. She sat very low in the seat in a position that should have looked ungainly, but which she somehow managed to imbue with a kind of languid grace that Cleopatra would have envied. Her hair was long and straight and dark, and the wind lifted it and played with it caressingly.
‘India,’ said the driver, her uncle Matthew.
She looked across at him.
He smiled. ‘Do you want the roof down?’
She shook her head. ‘No. Just keep driving.’
‘As you wish,’ he said.
India tried to concentrate on what lay ahead. Before too long, they would leave the freeway in her mother's red Ford Mustang convertible GT/CS with dark dark leather bucket seats, passing through little dusty towns until they reached the dark dusty place where her grandfather had died in a fiery crash all those years ago. She and Matthew, the last of his descendants, would perform the ritual and honor the memory of one who died so far from home.
"Here we are," said Uncle Matthew.
So soon? Sighing, India looked up at the sign.
Opening:.Alice Smales....Continuation: Khazarkhum