Prompt: A story that is 500 words or less.
The best part of the Jersey shore is the annual sand sculpture contest. People flood the beach in the pursuit of handcrafting works of art – art that will eventually be gobbled up by the ever rising sea.
Every year my sister Erica and I stand on the sidelines, speculating. Not this year. This year we’re participating. It doesn’t matter that I hate sand and she has no artistic ability. It doesn’t matter that every sand castle I ever built crumbled in mere seconds. It doesn’t matter that Erica doesn’t want to be here.
The day is overcast, the sand sticking to all the wrong places. For a split second I regret this decision, but with a hot pink bucket and gardening shovel I’m ready.
“What’s the plan Stan,” Erica asks.
I take out a crumpled up sketch, and pass it to her.
“You’re kidding right?! There’s no way in hell we’re sculpting a mermaids.”
“Watch your language,” I say in my mother’s tone.
“Hell isn’t a cuss word. If it was it wouldn’t be in the Bible.”
I ignore her and begin sculpting. Erica sits back, sunning herself. I stop for a sip of water and to wipe sweat from my brow.
“What is it?”
“Look at all those seagulls, there’s about a hundred of them.”
“Don’t exaggerate, there’s like ten.”
Seriously, there are hundreds of the beasts flocking overhead. They make me nervous. I continue on sculpting and shaping the sand, coaxing it to do exactly what I want it to. But the birds continue to flock, swoop, and fly.
I try not to let the birds get to me. But as the clouds roll in the birds seem to ascend upon the beach, pecking at half eaten sandwiches, squawking at the people. I’m scared. So much so that I hastily gather my stuff and pull my sister up from the sand.
“What? Why?! You haven’t even finished.”
“Somethings not right,” I announce. The air is eerily silent, the waves that were crashing simply lap at the shoreline. I turn slowly, and take in the nighmarish scene — seagulls pecking at the people. There’s one tangled in some woman’s hair. I ran. Hands covering my head I pray I wouldn’t call victim to the birds. Erica, with her longer legs is just ahead, just out of reach. I call to her, but she keeps running farther away.
“Erica wait!” I scream. And as I screamed the largest seagull I have ever seen lands on my sister and it pecks and pecks.
“No, please stop!” I shout.
“Erin! Wake up! Wake up!”
My eyes crack open. “You’re alive!”
“It was just a dream.”
“But the birds –”
“That damn movie! I told you you shouldn’t have watched that.”