A.J. Walker



Microcosms 184

Danny breathed in the salty air with rare relish. It had been years since he’d been on a beach; even longer since he’d been on one on Earth. It felt special to be back home.
He settled on the damp sand cross-legged facing the sea. The sand was ideal for his purpose and he set to his task with a happy heart, feeling like a kid. He took his time building it as well as he could. It was the finest sand castle he had ever made. From his back pack he brought out a little flag with a dragon on it.
Out of his bag he retrieved the box with his prized ray gun that his old buddies from his space jaunt had gifted to him. He’d not used it before and the castle was to be his first trial. Something inanimate and inoffensive. At this point he wished there had been a user manual or there’d been some training. His dad had always said, ‘You can’t beat learning on the job.’
He turned the dial around a bit, with no idea what the settings meant. Stepping back a good 100 metres seemed wise. He aimed at the castle and pressed the trigger. It took a while but eventually his castle stood before him as tall as a real one. It was a stunning success: briefly. Then the croak of the giant frog shook its walls. Eventually Danny realised it hadn’t been a coincidence; there must have been a frog in the field of the gun. A beach frog! Who knew?
Over the next few days the sand castle was taken away by the sea. Perhaps of more import locals disappeared, like Danny, as the crab eating frog decided at his size he’d need something more substantial for dinner.

300 words - March '23