Sun, endless sun blazin’ into me one lonely eyehole with her merciless light. Twas the third week we’d spent in the desert and even the hull had creaked into a salty dryness for want o’ water. Unless some moisture (except that we sweated from our personal places) were forthcoming we’d all be unhealthily dead. Violent storms had tossed The Grim Bastard from a violent foamin’ ocean o’ bastard-fish into this yellowed hell.
Whence we’d come had been a haven o’ peace compared to this hideous waste filled with murderous wild camel folk. Exactly why they attacked us was a mystery for the frothin’ spit fountains they used as mouths were incapable o’ conveyin’ any meaning other than hatred. Yellow tufted humps lay across our deck with crude straws stabbed deep into their fatty hearts. Zabaglione-like lard dribbled from the mouth o’ Billy No Mates as he sucked the last of the camel’s load from the furry beast bag. Twas a paradoxical state we found ourselves in: we were unable to escape the desert, for their ferocious assaults kept us aboard the ship, but we’d have died of thirst without ‘em, for we depended on the oddly-elbowed brutes to give us the semi-liquid strength to survive their next wave.
Billy No Mates let loose with the cry we’d learned to dread: “Camels ho!” Dodging the misuse o’ the word ‘ho’ (of which Billy was inordinately fond), we skipped aside from the rank laces of drool that preceded the sharpened hooves on the ends of legs so heavily jointed they bent with serpentine ease. Even so, the beasts are huge and exude a vile stench to turn the belly of even a hardened seaman. A storm of shimmering steel and tumbling sand-cows surrounded me as I leaped up and looped the noose about the camel’s neck. Herr Gunther Garment, our unorthodox surgeon had laud us a cunning plan, if only we could capture enough of the misshapen mammals.
Half a baker’s dozen of the beasts remained bound on deck when the tide of their fellows receded, leaving streaks of blood and swearing in their wake. Inwardly I held me doubts and fear of the Good Doktor’s methods in a hushing secret, for I’d no wish to have the creatures’ monstrous rubbery lips stitched to me cheeks, Just because this sounds like the ramblings of a madman in no way diminishes its likelihood. The lunatic bonesaw strolled towards the disabled dromedaries, knives whirling between his fingers and a bucket of ship’s pitch gripped in his teeth. Leisure was forced upon us by the heat, although the throaty squeals of the be-surgerised camels and the Teutonic chuckles denied us the bliss of heat exhaustion.
Me eye strove to remain closed, lest it peep onto ghastliness, but me sinking heart knew it was time to wake – perhaps it felt the chill of the evening air. No one’d told me of the night sky in the desert; tis much like that of the ocean but lacking the creak of timbers and splashing of waves. Oh, but that sweet saline sound was replaced by the confused whimpers of abused sand-mammals. Perhaps we would escape the cruel confines of our desolate desert dungeon, for the camels still resembled themselves, in their perambulatory parts though Gunther had excavated the beasts’ infamous humps to leave a sailcloth-lined seat within. Quite why we could not have simply fitted saddles entirely eluded the capricious genius of Herr Doktor Garment.
Resigned to a rather grim ride, we survivin’ few sank into the beastly carriage-humps and lurched across the sand dunes. We made our way coastwards in safety, for the wild camels avoided their scarred and seated kin. Our only impairment was the curious mating urge which the hollowing put upon our steeds. Gaargh, twas horrid. Oh, and of course the desert marauders and the giant scorpions also diminished the joys o’ travel.