Bacon. It was the sound of bacon frying that had drug me from the depths of unconsciousness. It had to be bacon the way it sizzled and hissed in my ears. That meant it was time for breakfast. Bacon and orange juice, with some toast and jam. That sounded wonderful. My stomach rumbled with hunger, and I realized that my throat and mouth were parched, and tasted of seawater. And sand. My mouth was full of sand. How did my mouth get full of sand?
I tried to open my eyes, and felt sand in them too. And my ears. I was covered in sand, I could feel it gritting between my toes. I could feel it between my pants and my skin, rubbing me raw. I wiggled my toes a bit, then my fingers. I tried to open my eyes, but the coating of sand over them had crusted them shut. I tried lifting my head. That was a definite mistake. Lights exploded in my head, pain shot from the crown of my head, down my spine and radiated like lightning across the back of my legs. I tried to cry out, but my throat only made a hoarse rasping noise which caused even more pain. My head dropped back down to the sand beneath my head.
That was stupid. I should just go back to sleep. Except I could still hear the bacon frying. Only I couldn't smell it. Probably because my nose was full of sand. Something cold and wet touched my feet, and my muscles twitched involuntarily. The cold wet receded, then with a rising hiss covered my feet again. Water. Why was water hissing at me like frying bacon and touching my feet? Why was I laying here, covered inside and out with sand?
"Why are you just laying there covered with sand?" A voice asked from somewhere above my head, startling me. My startled twitch caused the lights and lightning to explode again. Begging my head's forgiveness, I lay still again. A hoarse laugh came from the same place out there in the darkness, and I tried my hardest to pretend it did not exist. If it existed, then I would be forced to look and see who it was. Looking to see who it was would require movement of my head. Movement of my head seemed to trigger a torture device of some kind. Torture was bad. Never having been a great fan of pain, I tended to avoid torture. So I did my best impersonation of a statue. A statue covered in sand, listening to bacon fry, feeling water touching my feet. The laughter continued. I continued to deny its existence.
"You can't deny my existence.” Oh yeah? I thought, watch me.
“Any more than you can keep laying there in the sand. The tide is coming in." Apparently the voice could read my thoughts.
“Nah, I am just good at reading people.” That was strange. Especially for someone who did not exist.
I refused to argue with a voice that did not exist. Especially with my mouth full of sand. And my ears. And my nose. And my pants. The sand in my pants was really starting to bother me. Almost as much as the non-existent voice. Then the coldness hit my feet again, this time travelling up as far as my crotch before receding. Perhaps the non-existent, mind-reading voice was right. Sand in all of my body crevices was one thing. Water in those same places would go from uncomfortable to downright dangerous.
Steeling myself for the effort, I tried again to get up. I got one hand beneath myself, pushed against the sand and rolled over to my side. My eyes were still crusted shut but I could tell that I was now facing towards the harsh sunlight. I continued rolling until I was on my back. The pain was still quite intense, but seemed to be mercifully receding a bit. I tried to take a deep breath in preparation for an attempt to sit up, but the sand in my mouth was somewhat incompatible with my throat and lungs. I gagged, choked, coughed and swore simultaneously as my body involuntarily sat up in an effort to clear my airways. Another wave of water chose this moment to splash into me, and I accidentally gulped a lungful of seawater to match the sand already in there. I rolled over to my hands and knees so that I could more properly wretch my guts out. The water had de-crusted my eyes at least, though they were still bleary and unfocused. I could make out two grayish shapes in the tan colored blur before my eyes. Must be my hands. Another wave rolled in, covering my hands with blurry foam. The wave came up at least as high as my elbows, and I realized with sudden horror that the non-existent voice had been right about the tide coming in. I crawled painfully up the beach, blinking my eyes and coughing and retching to clear my airways.
The non-existent voice was now cackling loudly. I was beginning to wonder if I should continue to insist on its nonexistence, since I needed some serious help and non-existent people are not very helpful. At least in my experience. I continued crawling away from the water hissing across the sand. (My initial fantasy of a nice bacon breakfast having been utterly ruined now.) I was picking up speed as my lungs found themselves processing more oxygen than sand and seawater now. My eyes were also clearing up, and the two grayish blurs became two grayish hands, which I recognized faintly as my own. I was crawling past bits of dried seaweed and driftwood now, so I guessed I was somewhere close to the high-tide water line. I stopped crawling and collapsed to one side in the sand. I lay there gasping for breath for a moment, until I noticed the blurry black shape a few feet away. It seemed to be a human shape, but my eyes were still refusing to give me anything more than a rudimentary impression of anything they were seeing. I tried to gasp out some kind of question about where I was and who it was, but got nothing more out than a sandy grunt. The black shape rippled with another short bark of laughter, then responded.
“Welcome to Looberry Island.” It said, waving one black-clad arm expansively. “Where all of your most demented pipe dreams come to life and run around quaffing cooking sherry.”
(To be continued...)
© 2009 Tyler Willson. All rights reserved