As abruptly as the gale had started, the winds died down. Seymour spat out a mouthful of sand and looked around, relaxing his grasp on Seoc's arm without letting go entirely.
They were no longer on the top of the dune. In fact, there was not a dune to be seen. The desert here was flat and seemingly infinite, stretching outward in all directions to meet the dark, starry sky in a white band. It was as if they stood in the focus of a perfect circle.
"Where are we?"
The question was directed at nobody in particular, but naturally Seoc, as the only other living thing present, assumed it was directed at him. "You tell me. Ye're the detective here, are ye no'?"
Seymour grimaced. "Will you kindly shut your mouth? I'm trying to concentrate."
"If you let me go. I'm no' goina bolt again."
Reluctantly, the detective released him. Seoc wandered a few steps away and sat down heavily in the sand, holding his head in his hands. He did not understand. Why had it sent them here? Why had it not killed them? Or perhaps it had, he thought. Perhaps they were dead, and this was where the dead went. This struck him as plausible, but he had expected that the afterlife would have been a bit more crowded.
The sand began to stir around them, moving in a lazy circle of about ten feet in radius. Seoc watched, unfazed. He had already convinced himself that he was deceased, so he had no need to fear anything now, did he?
Apparently, Seymour had not come to the same conclusion. Assuming a defensive posture, he whipped his head from side to side, searching for the danger. Seoc thought it pitiful and rather amusing. Even if they weren't already dead, there was no way that Seymour's alertness would do either of them any good. He could not fight it--not with his bare hands, certainly. Whether it was a demon or not, it was supernatural, for Rezyn's sake. Seymour would have the same chance of survival if he just sat back and waited for it; there was no need to make a fuss or to be all valiant and heroic.
But no opponent, visible or otherwise, presented itself. Instead, there was a gust of wind, and the sand shifted, revealing that the surface beneath them was paved with cobblestones. The curtain of sand that had been swept away swirled and solidified into a sort of stairway, rising from the flat of the desert a few steps before stopping abruptly. It lead to nowhere. As it formed, Seymour began to mutter frantically and inaudibly. Seoc caught a few "Rezyn"s, but he could not tell whether the detective was cursing or praying.
Then, simultaneously, they became aware that something else had joined them within the ring of floating sand. Neither would have been able to say how exactly he knew, but both would have said with certainty that there was a third presence there alongside them.
"Welcome," it said, in not one voice but a thousand whispered ones that came from every direction. "Welcome to the Realm of In-Between."