Crushing Sandcastles

        I remember going to the beach when I was young. My dad built these huge, awesome sandcastles for me. He started off by finding a smooth, semi-solid surface; right where the sand starts to be a little wet. He’d begin with a moat that would encircle the entire foundation so the tide couldn’t flood the castle, I’d help him with this. He used wet sand for the buildings and bridges and towers and pillars and then would carefully coat all the structures with golden dry sand. Next, we would go searching. We looked for small little sticks to use as the drawbridge. He plucked a blade of beach grass from the dunes and stuck it on the highest tower, the watchtower. It was amazing, even beautiful. I remember thinking that it was perfect. 
        The moment he was done he would draw my mother’s attention so she too could admire the stunning sandcastle. Next, he would call me over. I ran as fast as I could. I’d throw my hands up and my cheeks stretched in an awestruck smile. And then I was playing. I always loved to use my imagination. 
        But the best part was when it was about time to go home. As my parents gathered up all the beach stuff my dad allowed me to crush the sandcastle. What little boy doesn’t like to crush things? I would start with kicking down all the high cone-shaped roofs of the towers. In my excitement, I made sure to take a step back and wind my foot up to kick the tall watchtower. Then I would jump in the middle of the castle, which is known as the keep. I thought of it as the heart as I got older. My feet would continue crushing. I would crush the bridges, the gates, and the buildings. Every circle, triangle, rectangle, and square would be crushed under my bare feet. My dad would make fake exploding sounds with me. Spittle flung from my widespread mouth. It was so much fun.
        But why did I not feel bad destroying those sandcastles? Well, because there were no knights or kings inside those castle walls. They were empty. No court jesters sang. No queens dwelt. On the outside, it looked so perfect but the inside, there was nothing. 
        It was fake. 
        And so was the man who stole my love from me twenty years later. His name was Kyle, a nice name. I walked in on the two of them at our house, in our room, on our bed. They were both completely naked except for the necklace I had gotten her for her birthday a few years back. The locket with our picture in it dangled between her bare breasts where this monster was feasting. I remember very vividly the way his thighs and buttocks tensed and relaxed as he finished inside her. It wasn’t until a few seconds later when I found my voice that had been knocked out, I screamed loud enough to block out her cry of pleasure and continued to scream until the world wavered and I vomited. And what made the entire thing worse was that in my front pocket was my mother’s engagement ring which my father gave me a week earlier when my mother passed away. The beautiful ring was meant for the hand that was clenched to that solid back.   
        The images were too much. The hurt was too much. I had grown up a very innocent child and it wasn’t until that day that my soul became corrupt. My Innocence had been a sturdy padlock to my soul and when the lock was broken a Pandora of wickedness erupted. 
Her love was a lie. From the outside, it looked great, but on the inside—just like a sandcastle—it was false. The monster was also false. 
        His skin was light bronze and stretched across the tight knots and hills of his muscles like polished marble. His naked body resembled a renowned work of Renaissance art. He was the epitome of good-looking. His body was proportioned perfectly. Clothes seemed to be made for someone of his statue and draped lovingly over his tall frame. No cuff was too short, no pant leg too tight or loose. 
        I took careful notice of his hands, especially his fingers that were brawny and long. See, the fingers are the first ten little explorers of another’s body. Those ten sneaky, fuckers are the first to touch, stick, and feel every orifice, every corner, and crevice, they find the gold mines of the body. Her body!
        It was easy to keep my eye on him because he was so tall. He had a built body but it wasn’t enough to make any girl believe that he was into himself too much. His muscle tone was just enough so others would think that he knew it was important to take care of oneself but not so much that he was perceived as a narcissist.
        I had done it to myself. I knew that she would bring him to our place. But I needed to see her with him for myself. That was why I had gotten the job as a bartender after she broke up with me. I justified the decision, “How could I have known she would keep coming here?” I said to myself but I did know she would. I hoped so!
        The fiery rage and boiling pain inside me needed to be fed. It urged to be felt and begged to be heard. So I got the job. It was easy. I had known the staff for quite some time. The Thirsty Rover was our place. It was!
        I made sure I worked the late shift on Friday nights. Somehow I knew she would
continue going to The Thirsty Rover on what had been our night but what was now their night. 
        Every week I watched them dance at our bar. She made sure not to make the slightest eye contact with me, yet she had the nerve to still come here even after she found out I was working here. She was always a stubborn girl and loved it. At nine o’clock the old dusty Seeburg Jukebox was turned up. The dull hanging lamps dimmed. I would spy from behind the bar counter. They always sat in the far corner, close to the Seeburg. After a few drinks were shared over a fraud of genuine conversation, laughter followed. Then, finally, lust. The two bodies would fuse into one heated entity from the magic of music and the power of passion. It was sickening. 
        There was something very fucking addictive about watching it all unravel. That wickedness that had been released inside me craved rage. Emotions are like drugs. This dark sadness had become intoxicating to me. I needed to see their bodies rub. I needed to watch him bite with his teeth the lips that had once searched for mine. I focused on tongues tasting and pictured what happened when they were alone. Without clothes! I wondered what he tasted like. “Had she sampled him below the waist yet?” I asked myself as I peeked. 
        By the third or fourth week, I knew she had. I could just tell from the same blazing desire externalizing from their eyes that burned in the ones watching them—mine! I spied from my own thirsty eyes and I was quite familiar with the animalistic manifestation. I saw it in the way they looked into each other eyes. You could tell that she had not only chewed but drank from his fleshy straw. I could picture her not liking it and that made it even better for him. “She knows that too,” I whispered behind grinding teeth as I mixed a rum and coke. “And yet, it turns her on,” I said perhaps too loud because the pale, freckle-faced woman I was serving asked if I was okay. 
        They were the darkest thoughts. Gripping and exhilarating. I fucking needed them!  
        My problem was that I was still in love with her. Just like I wasn’t able to change her feelings about me, even after I literally begged. On my knees! My feelings about her could not be changed, even after weeks of heartbreak and depression. Time can heal. It’s a great doctor, but sometimes you need to call in the specialist.
        Dr. Vengeance will see you now.
        After a couple more weeks of watching and creating my nightmarish fantasy, I decided it was time. I needed to see what was so perfect about the man who stole my love. Maybe there really lived a great kingdom inside of him. I needed to find out.  
        I waited towards the end of the night. The music was dying and so was the crowd. Luckily for me, he was the one who came up to get their drinks. I assumed she was too guilty, or I told myself that to make myself feel better. In reality, I don’t think she really gave a fuck! 
        Timing was everything. I knew it would be best if I slipped something in both their drinks. It had to be right before the last song. Mr. Perfect came up with two empty glasses. I noticed the pink tinge of lipstick on the rim of her glass. It was the same faint mark that he wore on the side of his neck. I thought about rolling my tongue on the glass and remembering what it had been like to kiss her. Then I thought about replacing the lip marks on his neck with teeth marks. I wanted to taste his blood as I sunk my teeth into his flesh. 
        Maybe then I would see what was so fucking great about him and that made him better. But I knew there was nothing inside that flesh. He was as much as an illusion as a frail sandcastle. 
        “Just wait,” I whispered to myself, trying to pacify my craving as I finished making their drinks. “Two screwdrivers, here ya go.” The two white, crushed tablets would be dissolved before the last song of the night ended. I offered with a smile but made sure not to make eye contact with those two dark blue eyes in fear that they would have a similar effect on me as they did on girls. I didn’t want to see if there really was magic in those diamonds.

* * *

        I swear I never touched her. She fell asleep in the back of his car. She is most likely still there. Why would I want to hurt her? I love her! Maybe now she will come back to me. 
        As for him … 
        I thought about how his toes stretched and wiggled as he finished exploding inside her. I thought about what his nose smelt as he enjoyed a meal from between her elastic cream-colored legs and then the different scents from when he ate her from between her buttocks. Did he ever have to pluck a wiry pubic hair from his tongue or the crack of a tooth? 
        His nipples were flat while sprawled on my kitchen table. I pictured what they looked like after she sucked on them? How about after she traced her own fleshy dots to his. They perked up, didn’t they? “Let me see…” Yes, they did! 
        I had before me this great masterpiece. He was as perfect as one of my dad’s sandcastles. The foundation was solid and strong. Even while his body was slacked I could clearly see the cliff of muscle the definition in his calves made. I stared at his full, rosy red lips, what the fuck made her want to kiss these… and I found myself having to pull my lips away from his. Thick, teal veins ran across his arms and his thighs. They were healthy veins. I hesitated at the thighs for a moment more. I forced a vision into my mind: the tiny strands of dark brown hair springing up from chills when she teased him with the palm of her hand as she slowly rubbed the border of his groin. Then came the tiny finger dancer twirling her pink nail polished skate closer and closer to the well of the castle where the rich seed is stored.
        I took a step back. I studied the landscape constructed of beautiful, tan skin. And in the center of this fine specimen of art was the watchtower in the center of the body. Its single eye looked at me. I looked back at it and images thrashed through my mind like raining comets. I used my hand much like I’m sure she used her mouth to erect the tower. I needed to see it at its full girth and length. The sedative I gave him allowed me to do so. 
        Anger flared through my body. I was so shocked and disgusted at what I saw. It kept growing; stretching and expanding. The purple and green veins here also looked quite fucking healthy. The rage inside me spoke. The organ-king had a giant crown atop its head. And dammit to hell, how did it fit! I screamed. I needed to act. My hands shook as I opened the drawer. Although I was fully overcome by anger and disgust, I waited for the snaky beast to settle. 
        It was time to crush the sandcastle! 

Trevor Abbud is a first-time author writing speculative fiction. Developing a taste for literature as a young child, Abbud took a serious interest in writing. His short stories and poems have been published by, Twisted Vine Literary Arts Journal, GFT Press, GNU Journal, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. Abbud is currently developing a collection of short stories.