Back and forth, to and fro, left and right. My life had become nothing more than dancing around delicate memories of the past. I looked at what I was working on at the moment. I couldn’t tell what it was yet, but it might have been the makings of some skull buried long ago. Maybe it’s the preserved remains of a tribal war chief. I entertained the thought as I worked, even though I realized how utterly impossible this fantasy was.
The rest of my colleagues had already given up for the night, but not me. What’s the point? I thought. I can’t sleep anyways. Plus, the sooner we unearth this next useless artifact, the sooner I can go home. Not that I enjoyed my life back home, sitting around in my apartment watching the world around me pass by, but at least there I didn’t have to worry about the sand in my boots.
I wiggled my toes. Just as I thought, full of sand. I motioned to take my boots off but decided not to bother. Sand never hurt anybody. I looked down at my work. I’d made a little headway actually. I had a hunch that this was something big, but I’d learned long ago not to get my hopes up, almost everything we found out here was a waste of space. I used to be so excited about the work, but years of disappointment will snatch that away from you. Still, despite my better judgment, I couldn’t help but feel like all my bad luck was about to end. I began to work harder and soon the artifact took shape. I should wake my colleagues, I thought, but the thrill of discovery beat out my better judgment. I wanted this victory to be mine, and mine alone.
I’d been working so furiously I didn’t even realize how much I’d uncovered. I stepped back and admired my work. It was a body! I couldn’t believe it… Something wasn’t quite right though. The body was… fresh. I studied it a little closer and sighed; it wasn’t anything ancient! Sadly, it was likely some adventurist who got lost.
“Great! And now I’m going to have to report this!” I voiced aloud. I mean, I could even make out the clothes on the body. In fact, the clothes looked eerily similar to the clothes I was wearing. That’s when I noticed that the skeleton was holding something—something small. I bent down to get a closer look. It was a toothbrush. Did he die brushing his teeth? I thought.
“Wait. What… No!” I wanted to scream but I was suddenly deathly parched. I looked at the instrument in my hand. I was holding the exact same toothbrush as the skeleton. I leaped to my feet and tried to back away. “Wh- what’s going on?” The words barely escaped my mouth. And I was falling.
It didn’t take long before I felt the cool ground against my back again. The last thing I remember is the sound of sand, as it slowly slithered around me.