If sand waves were sound waves
What song would be in the air now?
What stinging tune
Could split this endless noon
And make the sky swell with rain?
Nathan unlocked the door to the beach house he has rented and looked around. The interior consisted of cheap furniture made out of pinewood. A table, covered with light-blue cloth, stood by the wall, accompanied by two chairs. Nearby was a small area to serve as the kitchen, complete with a sink, two cupboards and a microwave. On the opposite wall, a short wardrobe with five coat hangers, one of them cracked. A low bed was tucked in the corner of the room. And, in case someone forgot they were at the coast, a lifebuoy was hanging just above the bed. In short, nothing luxurious, but Nathan did not expect any opulence to begin with, going with the cheap option in his search for a vacation spot. It was enough to spend a week in, or more specifically to spend nights in, as he planned to do. The town by the beach would provide him with food and sightseeing during the day. His only concern was the toilet being outside, but he could deal with that. And the fact that the light didn’t turn on immediately after hitting the switch, only after two or so seconds of delay. Faulty grid? ‘Oh well, maybe it won’t cause a fire,’ he thought as he closed the door and set his briefcase on the floor. His vacation has officially begun.
As he unpacked, he noticed something standing on the table – a dark green bottle with a crimson label. He was surprised for not having noticed it earlier. He picked it up and read the print on it. Song of Sand, it said in bold, golden letters. Below the title, in a smaller and more discreet font, the text followed: The Taste of Point Sable! A Remedy For: Rainy Days, Heartaches, Sleepless Nights and Crab Pinches! Product of Point Sable Distillery LTD Made in XXXX. He checked the backside for the bottle’s contents. ‘Huh. Strong stuff,’ he murmured as he saw the alcohol by volume number. A bit too strong for his taste, even. He wondered where the bottle even came from and figured it must’ve been a gift from the rental company. ‘In any case, this could be useful for the crabs,’ Nathan thought. ‘I could drown them in it.’ He put the bottle down and finished unpacking, then changed into more comfortable clothes: a green, short-sleeved shirt, white knee-long shorts and a pair of sandals on his bare feet. He put the house keys in one pocket and his wallet in the other and left. The scent of the sea followed him as he walked through the beach towards the town. The salt, the rotting algae. He missed that smell. And that warm sand. And even the incessant shrieking of seagulls. When was the last time he’s been by the sea? Ten years ago, at least. There was a lot of catching up to do and Nathan had all the time in the world for that.
He started by taking a walk along the promenade, looking out towards the sea. He stopped by an ice cream shop and treated himself to two scoops of the bubble gum flavour. It seemed a popular choice among other people who stood in line in front of the shop, especially kids. Funny; there was no such flavour when Nathan himself was a kid, he noted. He finished it sometime before reaching the path that lead uphill and a sign that said this was the way towards the house of a famous poet who used to spend his summers here. Nathan wasn’t big on poetry but, he figured, a sight is a sight. He climbed the marble stairs up and looked over the house in question. It looked no better no worse than other houses standing in the area, which were also rentals, but the price of spending a week in one was way too steep for his pocket. At least the view from up there was good and Nathan took a few minutes to lean on a wooden fence and admire the surroundings. Far off, on the horizon, a set of wind turbines was spinning, thin white spires against the blue of sky and sea. He wiped the sweat from his forehead and followed the path back into the town.
He visited the old town district and marvelled at the colours and the styles of the buildings there, a row of picturesque, if somewhat dilapidated, terraced houses, long since uninhabited. This, as the plaque on the side of a building said, was where the local well-off folks used to live. The merchants, the high clerks. A bit of walk to the south was where, in turn, the poor initially dwelled. A sad collection of cottages for the fishermen and the like, now preserved as a tourist area. He pressed on, wanting to see other parts of town before dusk. He visited the town hall, a pleasant looking, moderately-sized building in the classic style and the square it stood on. He sat by the fountain in the middle of one of the town’s alleys, in the shade of an oak tree. Finally, when his legs started to tire and his stomach to growl, he found a small seafood restaurant and ordered a bowl of fried prawns. Is good fish? the waiter asked him in a thick, eastern accent as he was in the middle of eating. Nathan could only give him a thumbs-up as a response, too tired and busy with chewing on his food to even suggest this wasn’t a fish. But that gesture was enough. The waiter smiled at his response and for a moment his gold tooth glimmered in the setting sun, before he went about his business.
It was dark by the time Nathan came back to his beach house. He shook the sand off his sandals and left them by the front door, then sat down on the bed. Even though his legs ached, he felt he had a fruitful day. He already started making plans for tomorrow when his gaze fell on the bottle he found earlier, still in the same spot, on the table. ‘A glass couldn’t hurt,’ he thought and walked over to the cabinets to search for one. He found no glasses, but a brown ceramic mug instead, into which he poured some of the liquid. It smelled and tasted like rum, which did not surprise him in the slightest. He decided to finish his drink outside and so took the mug with him, having a seat on the sand in front of the house. Other than the waves, there was no sound to be heard and Nathan momentarily closed his eyes, enjoying the calm atmosphere of the evening. Then he looked to the night sky and the stars in it, wishing he knew how to recognize to which constellation they belonged. But soon a different sight grabbed his attention. There was a woman walking along the shore, in the distance. A tall blonde with tan skin and wavy hair, wearing a plain-white summer dress and holding a pair of thin sandals in one hand, as she strolled on ahead barefoot on the wet sand. He kept staring at her, unsure why. Maybe she was the most interesting thing to see on that beach. Maybe it was the drink compelling him to. When she eventually got close enough to notice that he was looking at her, she turned her head towards him. And smiled. Nathan smiled back and raised his mug to salute her, to which she smiled even wider and kept walking. He looked at her a while longer, then finally finished his drink and went back inside.
He slept well that night, dozing off as soon as he made it to his bed. A deep sleep without any dreams. Unfortunately for him, the awakening wasn’t as smooth. The first thing Nathan noticed after regaining consciousness was his head hurting. To call it a headache would be an understatement; he felt as if a lightning bolt bounced from one side of his skull to the other, threatening to split it open. Then he noticed, or rather felt, that he was lying face down in sand. And worse yet, it was everywhere – around his body, on his face, even in his mouth and nostrils. He slowly got on all fours, coughing and spitting out the sand, all the while trying not to pass out from the pain. When he finally came to his senses (and his orifices were free), he looked around. He was still wearing his clothes, which was a bit of a relief to him. He was at the beach, this much was obvious, but it was no beach he was currently staying at. Or at least it did not look like it. ‘Something’s wrong with me eyes too,’ Nathan thought, noticing how skewed his perception was. He looked to the left and saw the massive dunes of the beach stretching all the way to the horizon. He looked to his right and saw the waves crashing against the shore, as tall as he was. And then he looked ahead and noticed the third surprise since he awake, namely a pair of gigantic, bare feet, each so large that their big toes were the size of his whole body.
‘HELLO,’ a voice suddenly thundered above him, a feminine voice but so loud Nathan instinctively covered his ears. ‘ARE YOU OKAY?’
He looked up, past the massive pillars of her legs, past the long, white canvas of her dress, towards her face. If she wasn’t already crouching he’d have a hard time seeing it. He recognized the giantess as the woman he saw the night before, even if he couldn’t see her face clearly then. Now it was looking down at him, visibly concern and curious as well. He wanted to cry out to her, even if he was still in shock of seeing someone so enormous, so much larger than him. But as he opened his mouth he realized he couldn’t – not because he was afraid or did not know what to shout, he found himself physically unable to form any words, as if he became mute. But why? He didn’t have time to ponder on his condition, however, as he soon noticed her hand moving in his direction. He froze as two monstrous fingers grabbed him by the waist and lifted him from the ground as the giantess stood up straight and placed him in the middle of her palm. ‘OH MY GOD, YOU ARE REAL,’ her melodic voice boomed again. Nathan was now sitting in the middle of a warm, soft skin, as he looked up towards her face, her features clearly visible from his position. It was a pretty, rectangular face, with a sharp nose and big lips. She couldn’t have been older than mid-twenties. Two brown eyes, opened wide, stared at him. ‘YOU KNOW, AT FIRST I THOUGHT YOU WERE A STARFISH OR SOMETHING,’ she followed and smiled, revealing two rows of white teeth. ‘BUT NO, YOU’RE ACTUALLY A PERSON. A TINY PERSON. WHAT’S YOUR NAME?’
He tried to speak again, and couldn’t. So he settled on pointing to his open mouth and shaking his head, to show his inability to communicate. She seemed to have understood. ‘AH. I SEE. YOU DON’T SPEAK MY LANGUAGE. OR MAYBE YOU DON’T SPEAK ANY LANGUAGE AT ALL. WE’LL FIGURE SOMETHING OUT. MY NAME IS AMY. AMY, ME,’ she mimicked his gesture by pointing at herself, ‘NICE TO MEET YOU. ANYWAY, A BEACH IS NOT SAFE FOR SOMEONE SO SMALL. LET ME GET YOU TO MY PLACE. HOLD TIGHT,’ she smiled at him again and a shadow fell on him. He realized she was cupping her hands to cover, hide him. And so, Nathan spent the trip in this improvised cave which was nothing but two hands of a woman. Granted, Amy was tall and her hands reflected that, being rather big even despite Nathan’s current size. He could feel the softness of her skin and its warmth beneath him and he hoped she would let him out soon, as it was slowly getting too hot to breathe. He got his wish eventually; after a few minutes of walking Amy announced they made it and placed the hand he was in on the table, inviting him to get off. He slowly stood up and walked down from her palm onto the hard, wooden surface below. And then he looked around and realized something was odd – this wasn’t her place, it was his. The same kind of cheap furniture, the same bed, the same lifebuoy above it. His things were missing, however. Could this really be the beach house he’s rented? Or did they all look the same on the interior? He could swear he recognized it as his own. His train of thoughts was interrupted by Amy pulling up a chair and taking a seat. She crossed her arms on the table as she looked down at him, still as curious as before. ‘GOOD THING I FOUND YOU, SOMEONE COULD’VE STEPPED ON YOU. HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN THIS SMALL?’
He shook his head. ‘NO? YOU’RE SAYING YOU WERE BIG ONCE? AS BIG AS ME? AH, OKAY. THEN HOW DID YOU GET- OH RIGHT, YOU CAN’T TALK. THEN HOW ABOUT… OH? I’M HURTING YOU WITH MY VOICE, AREN’T I? TOO LOUD? How about this, if I whisper? Better?’
He nodded, vigorously. If he had to listen to her, then at least he could do so at a much more bearable volume now. He still wished he could answer her vocally, say anything, his sudden muteness worrying him even more than his tiny size. Quite tiny indeed; as he looked over towards her hands, he realized he was as tall as her little finger, meaning he couldn’t have been taller than mere two inches.
‘I should probably get you to a doctor,’ Amy spoke up, ‘But the nearest clinic is two miles away. And I doubt they could help you with your, um… condition. Maybe you should stay here for a while, let me keep an eye on you. I could use a company anyway.’
He shrugged. He had no better ideas what to do and, he realized, he did not want to be alone either. At his size it would be nothing short of dangerous. But there were questions, most notable one being ‘what exactly happened to me?’ And what happened to his voice? And why was this woman staying in his beach house? Again, his reflections were interrupted by a sudden move from the giantess’s part, as she picked him up and brought him to her face, her index finger on his back, her thumb pressing into his chest. She was delicate with him, but Nathan could still feel the raw power of her grasp.
‘You know,’ she spoke up with a smirk ‘When I was a kid I used to enjoy picking up lizards. There were always a few around my home. You kinda feel like one, to the touch. At least, size-wise.’ Her smirk vanished when she saw the discomfort on Nathan’s face, and was replaced by concern. ‘Oh, you poor thing. You must be so scared. Maybe this will help?’ She brough him closer and pressed him against her left cheek with her index finger, hugging him, in a way. ‘There. Doesn’t it feel nice,’ she asked, her whisper turning even softer, even more quiet. ‘Doesn’t it feel nice, Nathan?’
His eyes opened wide. She brought him back in front of her face, close to her mouth. He could feel the heat of her breath with every word she spoke. ‘Oh, Nathan. You silly, little thing. Didn’t they teach you to see things through?’ She smiled wide, wider than before. ‘You should’ve finished the bottle.’
He tried to escape, to squirm his way out as she brought him closer, as her maw opened wide and her massive tongue rolled out, but the grasp of her fingers was too strong for him. And as she placed him on the wet surface of her tongue, as her mouth closed and left him to slide down in the darkness, he finally made a sound: he screamed.