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The dust swirled around, wild and frenzied; coating everyone and everything in its mighty wake. It was powerful and ruthless, cold and relenting, like some men's hearts. Everything was covered in dirt and dust, hardly any plants and animals survived. Everything was choked and they became deserts, home to the mightiest dust storms.

The whole surrounding was a tan brown, reddish color. There were vast canyons filled with nothing but dust. Every trail was blown over and almost every town was wiped out except one. It was middle ground. It was filled to the brim with odd sorts, those who could survive the harshness of the storms. They believed they could with the help of their Shaman, John Quagmire.


The wheels slipped through the sand, creating thin ruts that were soon to be blown over once again. The wind whipped against the sides of the vehicles and trailers, throwing dust at them and tilting them a little off balance. The dust scratched at the glass windows and collected in every nook and cranny, inhaling it was torture, so no one opened their doors or windows.

The troupe was back together. The cars bore the sun and moon symbol, although worn with age and neglect. They had gotten everyone back together, besides a few stragglers who were dead, unwilling or just plain missing, but the main group was fine. Although a certain bearded lady, was to say, resentful of the whole thing, especially of the main man. She was quoted to say, "I'm only coming back to see what's going to happen and to see how well the boy's faring which I heard was not well." She got a kick out of that information apparently.

"Is he even ok?" The famous baseball player on break asked the little man in charge of the show. "Who? The kid?" Samson asked and his old friend, Jonesy nodded. "He's been better," Samson paused, "He hardly ever leaves the management trailer.." "Why don't he heal himself?" Jonesy questioned, steering the vehicle. It was weird. He has just been playing baseball a few weeks ago when Samson pulled up and requested that he and Libby join the Carnivale again. They were a little reluctant to give up their lives but when they heard that it was to help Ben, they were on board immediately. Jonesy owed his life to that kid (although where was he when he was shot?) and he needed help bad. It just didn't make sense after the Preacher why Ben couldn't heal himself. He was weakened no doubt about it but still.. He was special. A healer. Jonesy still couldn't wrap his head around it. He could still recall waking up to see Hawkins just sitting there waiting for him to get up. He could still see the dead birds all around them and he still felt the excitement of finding his knee healed. Hawkins gave him a new knee, no one could have ever done that. And to think, he delayed his important mission to help them, he was a good kid.

Now it was just like old times again. Everyone together and Jonesy steering the lead car with Samson right next to him. Ok, maybe not everyone was there. Sofie was missing and bride to Brother Justin, it was a startling development.

"He can't.. It don't work that way," Samson replied, breaking Jones from his thoughts. "He tell you that?" The taller man asked absentmindedly. "Yeah," Samson said, "I don't try to get into his business. If you couldn't tell already, he's not exactly a social butterfly and the fact that he failed don't help matters," the man sighed looking out at the dust storm. "Well, how was anyone to tell the preacher would come back?" Jonesy eased up on the gas pedal.

"I suppose, but Hawkins don't see it that way," The other man mused. "He sees it as a failure." Jonesy always thought Ben was a hard character and this proved it. "Are we really gonna do the act again?" He pursued. "Well, how else are we gonna make money along the way?" "I dunno, none of us have done this in a while," "So?" "So, don't expect much," "I won't."

Ben sat inside the management trailer, his abdomen ached almost as much as his head did. He had gotten stronger since his altercation with Brother Justin but he was still weak as hell. "God dammit!" He swore, kicking the wall of the trailer roughly. He was a failure. He couldn't save Scudder, he couldn't save the world, he couldn't even save himself. He was just pathetic, wasting away in the dusty, dark trailer. Why did anyone even want to help him?

He slid down the wall of the trailer, slumping down onto the wood floor, he couldn't heal himself. He didn't have the strength. The trailer bumped along and he closed his eyes, falling into a deep sleep.

The troupe bumped along, slowly and uneasily, seeing nothing but dirt and swirling dust. "Hey, ain't that a town?" Jonesy asked, squinting through the dust and at an outline of a small settling ground. "Why so it is." Samson sounded pleased at finally finding a place to set up. Both prayed for an actual town and not a ghost town. As they neared, the storms seemed to die down and as they got just outside the town, the storms died completely, leaving a clear ring.

The town was called Cain and it looked mighty sparse to say the least. Jonesy stopped the truck and so did the others, he hopped out and so did Samson. They stood examining their new surroundings with much scrutiny. Soon everyone was out except Ben. "Should we get him?" Jonesy suggested. Samson paused a few moments before answering, "Maybe we shouldn't..." "Nonsense." The other declared gruffly, striding over to the management trailer which had an eery feel to it. He knocked on the faded green door. "Hey, Hawkins. We're at a town," he called out and he waited but there was no answer. He shrugged and tugged open the door.