The Sixth Pillar, by Matt Hlinak
The Mystic knelt upon his prayer mat, pressing his forehead to the earth and speaking the Prophet’s words. At peace, he rose, brushed off his mat and stowed it in his pack. Then he drew his sword and turned to face the jinni.
The desert whirled around the Gehenna-spawned fiend, blackening the sky. A sandstorm washed over the Mystic. He pulled the end of his turban over his face and stood still as the nighthawk waiting for a pocket mouse to crawl from its hole. When the jinni was upon him, the Mystic’s Allah-blessed sword carved a wide arc of fire and justice. Then the air fell still.
The nighthawk flew overhead, its eyes piercing the heat-bent air for signs of prey. The Mystic shook the sand from his robes and headed toward a distant outcropping to seek shelter from the Hell-hot sun.
Matt Hlinak is the author of DoG [link to http://www.amazon.com/DoG-Matt-Hlinak/dp/0615700217] (Rooster Republic 2012), as well as several short stories and essays. He lives in River Forest, Illinois, where he is an administrator at Dominican University.