This short story appears to have been detached from a longer work: not because the story is incomplete or characterization lacking -quite the contrary I would say- but because it mirrors a fantasy world that we assume without having really seen it. Personally I would have loved to see it.
It is set in an arab-like fantasy world dominated by heat and sand. The lead is gay but even if the story is emotionally explicit there is nothing graphic. Writing is excellent. The world seen through the eyes of the lead is very much alive even if the slight price to pay -due to the shortness of the story itself- is that all the other characters are a little out of focus.
I only have one objection but it is a serious one: the narration is told along two timelines, the present and the recent past leading to the present events. It is quite a refined structure, especially in a short story, but confusion is bound to arise as the settings of the two timelines are essentially identical, the first covering the trip to the last town and the second the trip from there to the ant tower. It took me several pages to understand flashbacks of a very recent past (we are talking of mere days) were alternating with the present and it did spoil the fun a bit. I can see the sense of interrupting the gritty trip through the sands with quieter moments but the quality of the story is such that it would have more than tolerated a single timeline.