It had started as a simple day at the beach with three of my friends. I joined, without a clue about what would happen that afternoon. And how could I? Even I can barely make sense of the absurdity of it all.
The four of us profited of the extremely low tide to explore a small, isolated cluster of rocks in an abandoned area at the side of our beach. Usually, this formation would be under water for most part of the year, and so someone thought it was a good idea to go and take a look around. It was notoriously an area where researchers used to study local fauna, since generally normal beachgoers and divers could almost never reach or get close to the formation.
The extremely rare event of such a low tide, mixed with the thrill of exploring a completely new and wild area, inspired me to adventure a bit more bravely than the other three people that were with me, and I got separated from the group. That was when I noticed an oddly shaped formation of various seashells, reflecting the light of the hot afternoon sun in an unexpected manner. A strange sensation overwhelmed me, and I acted as if I were not in control of my own actions. In hindsight, reaching out with my hand to examine the shells was not one of my brightest decisions.
Curiosity got the best of me, and without too much of a warning, the sharp edges of the weird shells cut through the flesh of my finger. A burning sensation spread out to the rest of my body, followed by an unexplainable sense of nausea. Before I knew it, I collapsed to my knees in just a few moments, without even the time to realize that my curiosity had probably brought me to an untimely demise due to an unknown poison.
When I came back to my senses, I was floating peacefully. The adrenaline suddenly kicked in, and I forced my eyes to open. I turned around in disbelief, seeing myself surrounded by water. But I soon realized that I wasn’t off the cost: I was inside a small puddle of water, on a sandy patch on the rocks, which now where unsurmountable mountains. I was minuscule. Panicking, I really tried my best to stay afloat in the shallow water, that was just a few centimeters deep. I couldn’t even touch the bottom.
I had only a few seconds to take in all that was happening, before the water suddenly became rough, as the sloshing sound of what seemed a raging squall approached. Far in the distance, I could see huge waves crashing down, as an object of impossible size collided with the surface of the water. The waves quickly reached me, and the clash pushed me underwater. Soon, the bright sunlight of the afternoon went extinct, as two huge shadows were cast upon me.
When I reached the surface again, I opened my eyes just to find myself in front of a set of massive, pink-lacquered toes, each resting above the water level. Although it was difficult to process, I was in front of a huge human being. Or better, a regular-sized human being. It wasn’t long before the second shadow approached, and a pair of larger, tanned feet reached the first, causing waves comparable to a storm to me, but that were probably just simple ripples. I looked up just to have confirmation of what I already assumed: tall above me stood the titanic bodies of Grace and Felicity, two of my friends. Even though the notion of ‘friends’ was about to be undermined by the events that would follow soon after.
To be completely honest, they were barely definable as ‘friends’ even way before the events of that fateful day. They had always treated me with spite, and we never seemed to get along well. It has always been a mystery why we still hanged out together at all. From their side, they probably started to take too much pleasure in mistreating me… Whispered words among them, laughter on my back, continuous taunts, or downright insults were basically part of the routine, lately more than ever. From my side… I couldn’t bring myself to explain rationally why I still endured all of that. The tension was already high between us, and now the two girls were literally towering over me.
Felicity was the first to come close to me, and the nearest. She was looking around, puzzled, her long dark hair moved by the afternoon wind, adjusting her sunglasses while searching for something… or someone.
At her side was Grace, shorter and less fit than her, but tanned and agile. She was the second one arriving to reach her dear friend.
“I told you, I saw it! He just… disappeared… right here…” Felicity explained, still looking around confused. It was Grace ‘s intuition to look down. Crouching to inspect me, a mite floating between their feet.
As her huge eyes focused on me, she let out a giggle of triumph.
“There he is”, she announced, standing back up and pointing a finger at me, for Felicity to see. “The idiot got himself shrunken!”. She said it as if it were the most natural thing to happen. And the most troubling thing was that she said it without an ounce of concern for me. If anything, Grace seemed amused.
Felicity looked down, followed her friend’s finger, and saw a small thing in the water, floating around her toes. Chaos ensued, as she let out a shrill scream and kicked the water before her. “Get that sandhopper away from me, I don’t want it to bite me!”. Her reaction caused the equivalent of a tsunami wave that washed me away, pushing me again underwater.
When I reemerged, I saw both girls’ faces above me. Grace still with a smug grin, and Felicity with an expression of amazement on her face. She had realized that I was no sandhopper after all. Which was probably for the worst.
For a few seconds, I could see my own fleeting reflection in the lens of her sunglasses. That was before the pad of Felicity’s titanic index finger was placed over me, hovering ominously upon me.
“Wait… This one, right?”. A rhetorical question to the other giantess. Grace didn’t even have the time to reply, before Felicity pushed me underwater with her finger. In an instant, what seemed to me like an immeasurable pressure (caused by only a few centimeters of water) overwhelmed me, as my titanic friend’s finger pinned me against the sandy bottom. I squirmed and trashed, feeling the sharp lacquered nail against my abdomen. The pressure from Felicity wasn’t too unsustainable, as the sand embraced the diminutive form of my body, but her fingertip was also pushing out the air from my lungs. Slowly asphyxiating me.
The images above the surface were blurry, but the most unsettling part was that both girls were smiling. Their muffled laughers boomed above, clearly not caring much about the fact that they could very easily end me if they kept me too long underwater.
As abruptly as it came, however, Felicity’s finger disappeared, swiftly emerging and abandoning the shallow waters in which it tortured me. I swam back to the surface just in time before running out of air completely.
While I was breathing heavily, eagerly inhaling air after almost drowning, I heard the two girls whispering in each other’s ear. Their plotting was not a good sign for me. At that point, I had already started to fear for my life and, with a desperate and clearly pointless attempt, I tried to swim away from the two girls. I turned back only to see an expression of contempt on Felicity’s face, and a mischievous grin on Grace’s lips. It was her turn, now.
Her chubby foot moved behind her, then sprung forward, splashing water everywhere. There was nowhere to hide, and no time to react: before I knew it, her titanic big toe hit my back with full force. She kicked me out of the water and sent me flying in the air. “Aaaand out of the park!” She exclaimed.
Luckily enough, I landed on a patch of wet sand, that cushioned the impact. I felt like I was launched on the other side of the sea, even if it was just outside the puddle of sea water, a distance that both girls covered in a couple of strides. I was still coughing out sand when they reached me. I couldn’t escape, and I stood once again under their shadows. The two giantesses exchanged a look of complicity… and raised their feet above me.
Drops of water the size of cars rained down on me from the sky, as Felicity’s paler foot and Grace’s tanned one stood above me, their skin slightly soggy and wrinkled after the long time spent in the salt water. Were they about… to just step on me? I wondered if they would go that far. To have fun at my expenses up to the point that they would simply obliterate me beneath them. I didn’t want to believe that. Sure, maybe I wasn’t the most important person ever to them, but I didn’t deserve to die for that. But their looming, descending soles seemed to disagree. I could do nothing but close my eyes and brace for the impact. For one moment, I had the curiosity to wonder who of them would actually do it.
Would it be Felicity, slowly and painfully grinding me into paste just for a laugh? And then washing away from her pale foot whatever would be left of me?
Or would it be Grace, obliterating me with one powerful step and no remorse? And then admiring with pride and superiority the stain left by my body?
Both outcomes seemed equally terrible. I couldn’t possibly believe they hated me that much. But when the impact came, I was spared. I incredulously opened my eyes to see Grace’s foot a few millimeters away from me on the right, and Felicity’s on the left. The two friends synchronized perfectly only to make fun of me.
“Shame I can’t tell if he pissed himself!” Felicity joked.
“What an idiot, I bet he liked that” Grace remarked.
“Yeah, what a pathetic fu—”. Grace was interrupted mid-sentence by Felicity, who kept her gaze fixed on something not too far away, near the rocks. She pointed at it, and Grace saw it too. You could almost see a cursed, gleaming reflection in her eyes. Without a word, the two of them strolled away, their thundering steps shaking the ground as they walked away, as if they were hypnotized. As if they hadn’t just tried to end my life for a joke.
I noticed that both gathered around a familiar-looking cluster of shells, not too different from the one I had encountered before. Slowly, with stiff, unnatural movements, they were reaching out to it with their hands with innocent and honest fascination for the bright object. I was too far away and, at my size, they wouldn’t have heard me even if I had warned them.
Which I didn’t do.
“Ouch!” they both exclaimed, almost at the unison, as the weird, poisoned shells cut their skin…