by Silvia Hartmann
Time Sand Fantasy Story Illustration by Silvia Hartmann
I am standing on a beach on an alien world. It is before sunrise, or perhaps there is no sunrise here; the sky is banded in pale blues and greens. The sea is a beautiful emerald with shades of sapphire blue, and the sand on which I walk is likewise, blue and green.
It is cool and immensely quiet here.
There is no vegetation on the shore I can perceive, no animals, no plants, no life but there is much life in the sea.
I look around on the shore and I see strange tall structures, like towers wide at the top, then narrowing to slender stems as though shaped that way by water; they are natural, made of stone, they have been here since they world began and they too are banded with strata of blue, green and white. There are symmetrical holes in the top, where they are widest and it occurs to me they must have been homes to beings once who could fly, and who lived on these shores.
Now, not even their spirits remain; they have long gone, moved on, yet there is a resonance, a remembrance of their existences imprinted in the sand.
I kneel down and touch the sand, pick some of it up.
Every particle of this sand once was something that became eroded; and every particle of sand has a story to tell. This is an immensely old world with so many stories, they are very literally as infinite as the sands on this beach, and they extend below the water, and inland, as well.
I am not sure what I am supposed to do here so I call upon an old friend who has travelled far and wide; he comes to me and smiles.
"What is this world?" I ask him.
He comes closer, likewise kneels down and touches the sand.
"This world is a gift to you," he says.
"What am I to do with it?"
"Whatever you want. It was a gift to you, it is yours, now."
I look around and wonder. There is nothing to do here, nothing to eat; it is peaceful, to be sure, but still ...
I pick up a handful of sand that contains all these worlds, all these things and I say, "Can I take some of this away with me?"
My friend smiles and shakes his head. "Of course you can," he says, "It is yours. Your world. It completely belongs to you. You can do whatever you want to do with it."
"Can I repopulate it? Plant flowers?"
"Anything you want. Anything."
I sit down and stretch out my legs. The sand is warm and resonant, yet cooling at the same time. It is incredibly peaceful here. I get a sense of all the beings that live in the sea. The sea is very alive but I don't feel the need to explore. What is in the sea, stays in the sea and it is good there.
Every grain of sand is a story.
It came from a mountain upon which creatures walked. It could have come from a sculpture, from an object, from a field that was planted with strange fruit and flowers. Every grain of sand a story. Incredible.
I touch the sand again and it comes to me that this is time sand.
It comes to me that this sand could heal a person's time, put their time to rights.
I am thinking of making a piece of jewellery, an artefact, that would contain this sand to heal a broken timeline, re-grow a broken time sculpture.
My friend is still smiling.
"Do you have all you need now?" he asks gently.
I smile back at him.
Of course I do.
This story was originally published in The Genius Symbols 1st Edition as an example of a Project Sanctuary "Classic Game" story.