Menapa and the Magic – Day 2
In the surf, about twenty yalms to sea, the water crested and frothed. The breeze spurred the waves, but not enough to push them with any menace. Both Mirta and Menapa agreed, even before they left the house, that this was a perfect day to come to the sands of La Noscea, with the blue city of Limsa in view to the west.
Reaching out of the sea like pillars of stone in a cave, the islands and their large structures hid the dawn for a couple of moments simply because the sun had to rise over the city to shine on their abode. Now in the afternoon, the sun was far overhead, more towards dusk than dawn, light reflecting off of the waves.
It was searing. Menapa let go of the sand in her hands, and clapped her hands together to shake the grains off her sweaty palms. She stood, sand pouring off her shirt and pants. The surf tickled her toes, and she stomped each foot, back and forth, giggling and splashing. She twirled with her arms out, feeling the breeze.
Dizzy, she heard a clacking sound, snapping. She thought someone had taken her wooden miner’s axe (it looked just like her father’s) and was hitting a stone with it, but the sound was irregular and dulled by distance. She looked down the beach one way, shielding her eyes with a hand, but the sound didn’t come from that way.
Clack, clack. After a pause she scanned across the beach to the other direction. Clack. Mommy stared down at something on the ground. “Makin’ potions…” she told herself, her voice eclipsed by clack, clack, clack.
She turned to the sea; water cascading off a red, jagged rock in the surf. “Ooooh…” she sighed, “a shell!” She let out a holler and bounced from foot to foot, jabbing her fists out in a little dance. “Mommy!” she called over her shoulder, “Look! It’s a pretty shell washing up the beach!”
Her mother hesitated, struggling to add the correct amount of fluid to the alembic. Sometimes these recipes had to be precise. She heard her daughter, and would look up in just a moment, staring absorbedly at the line in the measuring cup she had placed in the sand evenly.
As it neared the line, she slowed her pour. Carefully, carefully, she topped it to the guideline, pulling away her pitcher. She exhaled, relieved. Her voice preceded her eyes, “Mena, what kind of shell is—“ and her eyes widened. Her exhale reversed into a gasp. “Mena, come here! Come here now!”
She dropped her pitcher into the sand, the soft sshhh of it catching no attention from her. She leapt to her feet, sand tinkling against the container as Mirta ran towards her daughter.
Menapa had never seen a crab as large as this one! She ooh’d over it, and it clacked its pinchers. She always wondered why one claw was larger than the other. Her father’s arms were the same size. Why are crabs different?
She heard her mother yelling, but the behemoth crab had all of her attention. “Look at those big eyes!” she exclaimed, for they were larger eyes than she had seen. They didn’t sit on two stalks, like the tiny little blue crabs she liked to pick up and set down and pick up and set down. These eyes were fixed closely to the front of the shell, and they frowned.
Skittering across the surf, splashing, and the wet surface looked rough, but not dull. The sunlight made it shiny. Clack, its pincher snapped together, but it was much louder now. Clack. Clack clack. Clack. Menapa covered her ears as the ferocity of the clacking grew louder.
Her feet kicked the sand, ripped from the edge of the breaking surf, her mother heaving her backward and turning her back to the crab, wrapping her arms around her daughter. Clack.
“Mommy!” she shrieked, surprised. The crab’s pincher stabbed towards them, large and imposing. It missed Mirta’s arm, but snagged her shirt, drawing the two towards away from safety.