Emily loved feeling the sand running through her fingers. Grasping a handful, letting it slowly trickle away. Feeling its roughness against the webbing of her hands. Watching, as individual grains tumbled down the diminishing pile.
Like water in slow motion.
She places down her things, and slowly reclines against the side of a dune. Rolls her towel into a pillow, and allows her head to fall back into it. She has never understood why you would want to lay your towel out flat. Why form a barrier between yourself and the sand?
Why reject its caress?
Emily allows the sun, and the fresh salt air to do its work, as her eyes slowly close. She fills herself with the music of crashing waves, and children's laughter. Screams as the waves begin to carry away a castle, formed inside the tidal line.
As consciousness is carried away by this lullaby, Emily hopes.
Please keep the nightmares away.
Joseph's afternoon routine was always the same. It didn't matter what happened during the day - he would always be at the train station, ready to catch the 5.38 express.
Boarding, the second carriage from the rear, always taking the same seat. Someone had cut it sometime in the past, a white foam scar extending across almost its entire length. He knew that if anyone ever repaired it, he'd have to cut it again.
Nobody else ever chose that seat.
His briefcase placed at his feet, Joseph finally allows the tension to leave his shoulders, as his eyes scan over his fellow passengers. He recognises most of them - there's the woman who always looks offended to be traveling on public transport. Nearby, the man whose suit is faded and worn. Joseph's not sure whether he hasn't retired yet because he can't afford to, or if the thought of not working is something he's not yet ready to face. Feeling the cut on the seat under his left leg, Joseph almost smiles.
We're all tied to habit.
And slowly, the train rocks and sways. Joseph's head rests against the window, as he watches the city morph before his eyes. The office buildings give way to factories, long since abandoned, their windows smashed. And today, his eyes are drawn to an old brick wall, like they are every day. To the words spray painted onto the faded red bricks.
'nothing ever changes.'
Joseph's eyes close, and he allows sleep to come to him again. Just like every other day, running those words through his mind. Over. And. Over. Again.
He teases himself with his final thought. Maybe...when I awake, I'll be somewhere new.
Emily wakes, to darkness and confusion. Slowly, hesitantly, memory returns. The people are long gone, drifting away with the last rays of the sun. The absence of noise somehow seems louder than their laughter and talk - like it's been ripped away so quickly, nature hasn't had the speed to fill this void.
Eventually, Emily notices the sand around her legs, her arms, her chest. Pushed higher than her body, piled up by the movement of her dreams. And all of a sudden, the crushing tiredness returns. Emily wonders how many nightmares it would take before she was deep enough, that she could be buried completely.
She closes her eyes.