Have you ever been to north Africa? If you have, then you might know about the giant sandstorms that happen there. Let me give you a piece of advice about those sandstorms. Never go into one alone.
I had been in dozens of them since I had been working for a documentary on wildlife there in north Africa. I had a bunch of my film buddies there with me for the first sandstorm that I had been in. It was an amazing experience. All I saw on the horizon was a giant wall of what looked like reddish-orange dust and sand. It went across the entire horizon. As it got closer I remember a distinct smell. Something I just couldn't put my finger on.
The sandstorm got closer and closer. As it did, it seemed to engulf the entire sky. It was an eerie feeling when it hit. It was daytime but when it passed over us, we could barely see a thing. I had my eyes closed most of the time because I didn't want to get sand in my eyes. But sitting there, filming with my eyes closed, I swear I could hear something. I couldn't tell at the time, but it sounded like whispering now the more I think about it.
After the sandstorm was over, I had captured some good scenes for the documentary. But most of all, I wanted to see if I had captured that sound that I heard. I rewound back to the very second when the sandstorm hit. I listened. And listened. And listened. But nothing. All I heard was the sound of loud wind and the camera crew yelling commands and the usual stuff.
All the other times I had been in sand storms, there hadn't been anything out of the ordinary. But the final day I was in north Africa, I had heard on the portable radio that I always carry around that there was another sand storm coming. This time I didn't have the camera crew with me. I was alone. But I decided to go ahead and venture into the sand storm to get some more good footage. That was a horrible idea. As I went outside and turned on the camera, I saw the sand storm on the horizon. It look like a big one.
In the back of my mind, there was a nagging voice telling me to find out what that sound was that I heard in the first sand storm. As the sand storm got closer, I noticed that same smell again. But still I couldn't tell what exactly it was. And as it got even closer, I started to notice that same eerie feeling that I got the first time. But it didn't phase me. I was driven on by the need to film and document these natural wonders.
Then the sand storm hit. But this time the sand storm was darker and almost blood red. And the whispers were back. But this time they weren't whispers. They were raspy hisses and screams and moaning straight out of hell. I started to see through the camera that there were dark masses darting just outside my field of vision. I took my face away from the camera and shielded my eyes from the sand. And here's the old cliche.
I wish I hadn't. I can't say exactly what I saw and heard, mainly because the fear I felt at that moment and any time I think about it is and was too great to put into words. But I will say what I can. What I know is that these are the things that inhabit my nightmares now. I am on the brink of insanity. Now I will say once again, do not go into a sand storm alone.