The Sand Castle

by Charles Richard Laing


For two weeks we had followed the same pattern. The little kid would spend hours building a magnificent sand castle, and I would spend minutes kicking it down.

I know. It sounds mean. But I’m a bully. I have certain responsibilities.

Today when I got to the beach I saw the kid had outdone himself. The walls on this one were over six feet high. The towers were even taller. Since the little kid was barely four feet tall I wondered how he managed it.

As I stood back to admire it, I had to admit I was impressed. Destroying it was really going to work up a sweat.

The little kid smiled at me, which was weird. Normally the mere sight of me was enough to make him break into tears. Today he seemed happy to see me.

I was about five feet away when I felt something sting my cheek. At first I thought it was one of those nasty sand flies, but when I brought my hand to my face I could feel something sticking out of it. I tugged it free and stared at it.

It was an arrow about the size of a toothpick. There was a drop of blood on the tip.

My blood, I suddenly realized.

An instant later three more little arrows sank into the back of my hand. They were tiny, but they still stung like crazy. Glancing up at the sand castle, I saw dozens of miniature archers taking aim. Before they could attack, however, I beat a hasty retreat.

Flushed with victory, the little kid laughed at me. The sight of it made me angrier than I had ever been in my life.

“This isn’t over,” I screamed. “Just you wait. I’ll get you later.”

Suddenly, the little kid looked scared. He realized he may have won the battle, but that didn’t mean he had won the war.

Yet.

With a hand gesture he signaled the castle. Moments later the drawbridge was lowered. A heartbeat later hundreds of tiny mounted horsemen were charging straight at me. I tried to run, but the cavalry cut me down before I could take five steps...


Copyright © 2005 by Charles Richard Laing

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