She stares at him. Her hand falls back with the… nut in it. She stares out at the water throwing alphabets and equations up on the beach. She pitches the nut away from her, over the wide waves.
The man just laughs, a soundless sound. His shoulders lift and fall in endless little fits of mirth. His arms fly out; he spins and falls back on the fine, unending white grains of mineral stone and glass.
He lies there a while, then his finger sticks itself up and points to her feet again, waving his limbs back and forth in the sand like a…
The words snow and angel are flowing and floating around her long toes like seaweed caught on a shoal.
“Back to sleep, my little Flamme,” the man murmurs, and suddenly she feels a weight drift over her, in low-hanging veils of fog. “… now is not the time for a forest fire. Sleep now.”
Her eyes depart from the light. From the sun overhead. From everything but the surf and the sea, and the chalky clay-silt scent of the sand.
Her fingers roll open beside her, new leaves on a fern.
The water runs over her fingertips, carrying with it a golden object that settles into her palm.