Free Fiction Friday: Sandcastles
Happy Friday, my loves! This is a crazy weekend for Lady Dazzleton and myself. We’re up in Los Angeles for WonderCon. I’ll have pics next week of all the cosplayers and people we met.
If you’re going to WonderCon, stop by booth SP73 to say hello! We’ll have lots of goodies for you ~ artwork by Carol Phillips, pendants, swag, and of course, books! Hope to see you there.
This week’s Free Fiction is a fun little romp at the beach. Until it isn’t. Enjoy!
The beach was no place to bury a body.
Sand stretched as far as he could see. Like God’s yawn spanning eons in the space of one breath. Unaffected, undeterred, uninterested in the comings and goings of those who raced along the water’s edge or trampled crushed seashells beneath their feet. The beach was eternal.
Yet there was something primal in the waves’ continual pounding against the shore, the cry of seagulls as they darted in and out of the water, looking for their next meal. Insistent beaks piercing again and again, forever searching, forever staving off death. Nature at its finest. Survival of the fittest and all that—the most persistent and able to adapt always won.
Dawson dug his bare feet into the sand, watching intently as water filled the hole he’d made. To do it properly, he’d have to dig down at least four feet, but it would need to be at low tide. He scanned the incoming waves, counting the timing of their crashes to the beat of his heart rate. Six seconds between each set. It could be done, he was sure of it. On a calm day like this, it could be done.
Cold sand squished between his toes and he let out a slow exhale as he imagined the tools he’d need: spade, a bucket for draining any water that might accumulate, rope, tape, plastic tarp. No, he shook his head, no tarp.
He glanced back to his feet, covered now with sand and water. If he left the body bare, blood would seep from the grave. It would be lovely, crimson mixing with the white foam left by the tide. A curious tingle started behind his belly button as he planned the next move. Excitement spiraled out until it reached his fingertips and a giggle bubbled against his closed lips. Yes, it would be lovely.
But where? Here, where so many trampling feet would kick up sand? Or there, by the small jetty where the body would be protected a little from the elements? It would take longer to find her, if he was lucky. Yes, by the jetty.
“Daddy! Daddy!” A high pitched voice shrieked and he turned, seeing his daughter run from the surf to his outstretched arms. “Mummy said you’d help me build a sandcastle.”
“Did she now?” He smiled over his daughter’s head to his wife. “Well Mummy’s a very clever lady and she knows I can deny you nothing.”
He took his daughter’s hands and swung her up until she was arcing through the air like the faerie she believed she was. Her peels of laughter slid over him, a tonic to his dark thoughts.
“You’ll be needing these,” his wife handed them a bag full of colorful plastic spades and molds for making their sandcastle. She wouldn’t help, of course. She would return to their beach chairs and pretend to read a book while watching the two of them. Always watching with those beady brown eyes, never trusting him to be alone with Amanda. If she only knew. He’d never harm their daughter. She was the only ray of sunshine in this fucked up hellhole of life. He’d protect her at all costs, even from her mum, if need be.
He set his daughter on the sand and she immediately tugged him forward, but he gently turned her toward the jetty.
“I think over here would be best. It will last longer because of the rocks, see?” He pointed in front of them and she became serious.
“Oh, yes, I see what you mean.” For a four year-old, he sometimes thought she had the soul of someone much older. “That is a proper place for a sandcastle. Thank you, Daddy.”
He kissed the top of her head, inhaling dirt and brine. His lips came away with a light coating of dust from the beach. Even tousled as she was, covered in sand, and most likely sitting in her own piss, she was his piece of heaven. A gift from the gods he so often railed against. He should’ve been more grateful, all things considered, but he’d forgotten what gratitude felt like a long time ago. It was his Gods that had led him to the path he now followed like a slavish dog blindly trotting after his master.
The same Gods who infused him with his particular wants and needs. His overwhelming desires that he no longer tried to suppress. It was easier this way—give them what they want, because in the end they owned his soul anyway, what did it matter?
Amanda dumped the bag of toys and together, they set about building a fortress with the plastic molds and spades. Dawson scooped sand and dug moats, all the while chatting with his daughter about who she thought might live in such a lovely castle.
Every so often he’d glance at his wife, who held her book at just the right angle to study them while they worked. His smile and friendly wave went unanswered as he knew it would. She’d stopped loving him too long ago to care. Now, she gave her love to someone else, but stayed on for Amanda’s sake. And possibly Dawson’s, too, he couldn’t be sure. Nor did he really care. She’d never satisfied him, but he’d always love her for giving him Amanda.
“This is the perfect spot, Daddy. How wonderful you found it for us.”
Indeed, it was perfect. The sand was harder here, not too full of water. A body could be buried for several days before being discovered. His gaze roamed over the beach goers.
Who would be the lucky one? Who would live beneath their sandcastle?
His gaze stopped on pretty brunette walking not too far from his wife. The way her feet grazed the sand without really touching the ground made her appear to float across the beach. Like a princess. Of course, they’d need a princess to reside in their royal establishment.
His excitement returned, stronger now. A pulsing need that became an ache if left too long. Soon, he cautioned. When everyone left, he’d follow the woman. It wouldn’t be quick, not for their princess. He’d take his time to make sure she understood the importance of her role. After all, they were building a sandcastle just for her.
“Daddy, are you listening to me?”
He tugged his attention to Amanda, but she was looking at the brunette who now waded into the waves.
“She looks like Mummy.”
“Does she? I hadn’t noticed.” He took a spade and dug deeper into the moat. “We’ll need water here to keep out the dragons.”
His daughter giggled and grabbed her jiggly tummy. “Daddy! Dragons can fly. They won’t come across a moat. Silly.”
A shadow fell over them and they both looked up to see his wife standing a few feet away. “Come along, darling. It’s time we get you out of the sun.”
“But we’re not done building our sandcastle. Right, Daddy?”
Dawson surveyed what they’d built. “I think it looks just right. You go with Mummy while I wash the toys.”
Knowing better than to argue, Amanda rose and clasped her arms around his neck. He held her tight for a long time, not wanting this moment to end. Finally, his wife took their daughter’s hand and prodded her toward the chairs while he packed up the toys. By the time he’d rinsed them all, his wife was waiting by the car, his daughter strapped into her car seat.
As he approached, her expression turned grim and he braced himself for whatever abuse she might sling at him this time. “I saw the way you looked at her.”
“Who?” he feigned ignorance.
“That girl,” she jutted her chin in the direction of the pretty brunette. “I won’t have it, Dawson. Not again.” Her arms crossed over her chest and a glint of defiance crept into her eyes. “When you get home tonight, I want you to pack your bags and move out.”
It shouldn’t have been a surprise, but the words hit him in the solar plexus and stole his breath. “You’re the one shagging another man, yet you want me to move out? No.”
Shock replaced the defiance. The stupid whore didn’t think he knew.
“I don’t want to discuss this here.”
“You’re the one who brought it up.”
“Whatever. Just, finish up with her, then walk home. We’ll sort out the details after Amanda’s gone to sleep. But it’s over, Dawson. I can’t keep pretending.”
In a way, he was relieved. He wouldn’t have to smile through his days, hating himself for staying, but hating her more for being a coward. She’d try to steal Amanda from him, he just knew it. Hadn’t she been doing that since the day Amanda was born? Rage coursed through his veins and imagined scenarios all ending with her death played out in his mind.
“There’s nothing to finish here, just as there’s never been anyone before. I’m not the one who cheated, Lisette, you are. If anyone’s leaving, it’ll be you.” He didn’t give her a chance to answer, instead he walked around the car and got into the passenger seat.
He didn’t need the pretty brunette. The castle he and Amanda had built wasn’t for a princess after all, but an evil queen. As Lisette slid into the driver’s seat, he plastered one final fake smile on his face. She’d be leaving them alright. As soon as Amanda went to sleep, the evil queen would find her final resting place beneath their sandcastle. And they would live happily ever after.
Don’t you just love how vile Dawson is? But sweet at the same time. I have a feeling he’s going to pop up in another story soon. A serial killer single dad. That definitely needs to play out in a longer story!
Have a wonderful Easter!