Out of the dust…or sand, as the case may be.

You’ll never guess my inspiration for today’s flash piece. ūüėČ

I stepped back, and stared at the sand castle I’d just shaped. ¬†Where had that come from? ¬†It was…not remotely what I expected when I agreed to enter Aunt Genna’s contest.

The draped towels behind me rippled as Starla shook them. ¬†“Come on, Tammy, hurry up!”

“Almost done!” I answered, feeling a little dazed. ¬†I reached one hand out and nudged a tiny seashell so it sat more firmly in the sand. ¬†Outside the draped towels that hid me and my creation, the other cousins and family friends laughed and chatted. ¬†Someone joked about ‘sand crashes’ and I heard Derek suggest that his¬†castle had already come through a siege.

What would he think when he saw mine? ¬†Boys didn’t like girls that made them look bad. ¬†A powerful impulse to destroy it rose up inside me, and I snatched up the little plastic shovel I’d used, ready to send the sand flying.

“Time’s up,” Aunt Genna said, as she pulled the towel down. ¬†“Don’t worry, Tammy, nobody’s castle is perfect….” ¬†She trailed off, staring.

Silence spread through the small crowd, like ripples in the wake of a shark.

My castle stood tall and graceful, glittering like gold in the sun.  Wispy turrets reached toward the blue sky, and tiny shell pillars propped up story after story of balconies, promenades, and tower rooms.  It stood over three feet tall, but looked almost bigger because the level of details made its size seem impossible.

Uncle Greg snorted. ¬†“Nobody’s castle is perfect? ¬†Tammy’s is.” ¬†He sounded almost angry, like he’d been cheated.

I opened my mouth to protest–it wasn’t even finished. ¬†I ran out of shells for the curved drive, so had to leave it shorter than I wanted. ¬†But, Uncle Greg’s comment had released everyone and now they turned to me, babbling words I couldn’t understand that rang against my ears. ¬†They looked more shocked than happy, and I thought I saw suspicion or wariness on couple of their faces.

Taking a step back, I looked desperately for a way out, a place I could hide from them. ¬†Fifteen minutes ago, I hadn’t even known I could pack sand into a bucket and make it plop out right, let alone create that thing in front of us.

A warm hand clasped mine, anchoring me in the sea of people.

I looked up, to meet Derek’s warm brown eyes. ¬†“It’s wonderful.”

I dropped the shovel. ¬†“Oh, do you think so?” ¬†I sounded desperate, even wild. ¬†Kind of like a dork, actually.

Derek grinned, and nodded. ¬†“Come see mine. ¬†Maybe you can help me begin repairs after the war it came through.”

I smiled back, and let him lead me toward his castle ruin. ¬†Around me, the other kids chimed in, asking me to take a look at theirs, or figure out why the turtle they’d sculpted didn’t look like it could swim straight. ¬†I smiled at them all, and let myself take a deep breath.

So, it looked like I was a sand castle sculpture.  Who knew?

Do you know what I’d like to make on the beach? ¬†A sand snowman. ¬†In fact, I’m hereby putting that on my bucket list…let it be writ as so! ¬†What is the coolest sand creation you’ve ever seen?

Here’s one (not made by me!) from last year’s trip to the beach–I like the teeth. ūüėÄ

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