The sheets rested roughly on my tired legs. The sensation was irritating. My skin felt dry, the way it feels after a long swim in the sea. It was as if the ocean had taken the moisture and left only salt behind. The top layer of my body crusted like a dry, chalky casing. It took me a long time to give up on the idea of getting up to put lotion on; the laziness of sleep had overtaken me and I wouldn’t be bothered to get up again. Dry skin was an irritant, but sleep would be my reward for enduring the discomfort. I drifted in and out of a sea of sleep; all the while it sucked the moisture from my skin. The chalky case that surrounded me seemed to be drawing itself deeper in to my flesh, drying my cells one by one, progressively driving towards the core of my body. My toes were the first to make the transition; each dried little cell balanced on one another like so many grains of sand in a sand castle. Each little grain held together only by the memory of the moisture they once shared.
I felt the moisture recede from both my feet; I felt the dryness creep down through my heel and enter my ankle. I still had feeling in both of the sand sculptures at the end of my legs. I mean, I felt something. I imagine it is the same feeling that a corpse would have if his feet fell asleep. I could imagine what would have happened if I tried to move so I sat perfectly still and let the rising tide dry my flesh to the bone. My lower legs slowly lost the liquid of life and each tiny sand cell was left sucked dry. No longer were they skin cells. Cells that made up bones and vessels no longer existed, simply sand piled in perfect facsimile of two legs and two feet. As my knees made the transition from flesh to dust at the same time, I felt the sensation take my fingernails. Odd, I had never before been aware of the feeling of normal fingernails; when I felt them turn to sand I was distinctly conscious of the feeling. Thin fingers and thin hands lost their moisture quickly. The pads, lines, and cracks of my hands, once different shades of pink, now only reflected the dull browns of the earth near the ocean.
I imagined the intricate lines carved into the arid lumps of sand at the end of my arms and a sudden rush of dread engulfed me. A subtle unconscious twitch in my right big toe undermined the stability of the delicate sand structure. All in one chunk my toe fell, rolling slightly before it collapsed into a pile under my sheets. I couldn’t see the little pile of sand, but I did know that it was there simply because my right sand toe was no longer part of my right sand foot. As the dryness spread up into my midsection, the fragile formation began to collapse. Without the big toe on my right foot the others didn’t wait long before deserting. Four toes in a row slid off toward the little one. I wondered to myself what would affect my ability to walk more: losing my toes or the strange situation of having sand for feet. It was a momentary distraction because as I sat there my other foot began to erode.
My left shin split right down the middle, one large crack in the dry mound of sand. The two halves of what was once my lower leg divorced each other. My lower legs were becoming increasingly unrecognizable. My torso was now completely dry. Its cells drained. All my organs, now simply oddly shaped clumps of sand, were as dry as the Sahara. Can a heart made of sand pump sand through vessels of sand? Then the dryness began to creep up my neck. The taste of salt entered my mouth for a moment while my tongue gradually changed. Each taste bud sensed the taste of the one before it as they all transitioned. Nose, eyes, cheeks, and brow all changed over, sucked dry as the dryness sank deeper into my head.
As brain cells became tiny pieces of stone, my consciousness began to fade. I could feel the landslides of sand forming steep cliffs on my sides. My hips became dunes, my ribs just rubble. My mind drifted out of my body. It imagined the form beneath it. My mind inspected the eroded hill of sand. Some features were still sharp and well defined; other parts were simply sand. The eyelashes of my left eye still stood, yet the right side of my face had dropped away. My body sat there under the sheets like some forgotten, ancient statue, whose form was still beautiful but whose condition was tragic. My mind drifted peacefully. Now that it was free of its chalky casing, with no dry skin to irritate and disturb it, it gently floated in the sea of sleep.