A boy casts his line.
The bait sails out, a grand arc tracing the sun.
It plops onto mud-pan, rolls and falls into a crack.
Below, imps smell the fetid scent of year-old wishes.
Seeking with tiny rat-noses, they locate the bait and one gobbles it up.
A faint tug. The rod tip twitches.
A splash of sea slides into the boy’s eyes and he hauls back.
The imp squeals in pain. It sounds like a wind devil, twirling, twirling.
Cranking hard, arching back, the boy reels in his catch.
The mirage dances, the imp fights, the boy keeps winding.
Claws scratch to catch a break in the vanished riverbed.
Relentless, the boy can already smell the roasting flesh.
Little does he realize, it is his own.