The sea lapped at my toes like a playful puppy. Strange, I thought, how friendly it seems right now. And yet really I am at the edge of a vast and deep unknown that has the potential be the most cruel, unrelenting enemy known to man.
I let a handful of sand slip through my fingers and back onto the beach. I’d never have that same handful again, and there was something liberating about realising that. I let out a deep sigh; how nice it was to put the bones at ease after days of walking.
Beside me you were resting your weary hooves; it had never occurred to me that you would be tired by the distance too. You were still in good humour though, I could see that from the glint in your eye as you suggested building a castle.
“This beach is too soft, surely?” I asked, eager to have my human logic be proven wrong yet again.
And without a word, your long slender fingers scraped together a modest pile of sand which clung together faithfully despite its nature. You looked at me playfully and took my hands in yours, and together we sculpted a castle to rule all castles. It was fantastically detailed, with parapets and walkways, turrets and barbicans. You used the points of your inch-long nails to carve out the brickwork. I clapped my hands together with glee, and laid down on my front to get a closer look. Shimmering water was now filling a moat, and you were working on a footbridge to cross it. But my eyes were drawn to one arrow-slit in particular, from which a tiny spike was protruding. I reached out to touch it and whipped my hand back twice as quick.
“Ow!” I yelped, shaking the pain off.
My fingertip in my mouth to quell the blood, I took a magnifying glass out of the front pocket of my backpack: always to hand. On closer inspection I saw a minute disgruntled face that was the image of my ex captor. You, of course, could see in plain sight what I needed my magnifier for, and the two of us erupted into laughter.
What are you protecting, little man, your house of sand?
Your knowledge, your wife, your health, your land?
All could be taken should the wind start to blow
It’s not what you own but the places you go
Such amusement must have distracted your concentration, or your interest perhaps, for as soon as you let go our castle fell. I tucked the magnifying glass safely away, and produced a bottle of water. I drank readily. I noticed that we were in such a spot that if I looked up to the sky, the sun appeared perfectly captured between your antlers. A symbol of a wonderful afternoon. But all too soon a cloud overtook the sun, and as though that were our cue, we stood to dust ourselves off. It was time to continue our journey.
Fragments of Light is a hand-bound, illustrated zine compiling short bursts of creative writing about magick and madness.