One cradles the other. Metal-studded crimson faux-leather with soaring heels. I kick off my sandals, slop a foot into each red shoe – teeter.
It’s been an endless afternoon. My sun-dazed skin grows cold and goose-bumped, and my stomach churns in time with the tide’s advance. The crooked castle he helped me build is inching closer to the waves. It seems like a hundred years since he called me ‘Daddy’s little princess’, tucked my curls behind my ears, dabbed sunscreen on my nose.
Before the last shell window had been pressed into place, she cast her shadow over my realm, her spell over him, and while I dug the moat with my plastic spade I felt him forget me. I heard it in their laughter, ragged as seagulls’ cries, as the pair of them slunk out of sight behind the rocks.
And I stab the split-sharp ends of feathers into each turret as I wait for him to reappear, brush the sand from my feet, cram them into my sandals, and take me home to Mum.