It was blatantly obvious, now that she thought of it.
Eleanor had gazed in awe at the way the auburn leaves floated to the ground and disappeared. She had loved the way that the trees had climbed high enough for Eleanor to look up and see a sky of green, but not so high that she couldn't see the ceiling. No sand ever stayed on the iced ponds that dotted the place. No leaves ever touched the sand. And Eleanor felt so, so stupid for not realising it earlier.
Everything had a place...
Five minutes later, Eleanor had forgotten all the manners that her housemaid had taught her before she got fired for being too nice. Her nails were encrusted with speckles of sand. It tore at her skin, leaving raw, red marks as she dug. A few minutes later, the perfectly smooth ground of yellow had been uprooted. Instead, Eleanor sat next to a small dune of sand, beads of sweat coating her forehead. She swatted them away with the back of her wrist.
"Now..." she murmured, putting her hands on her hips. "How to get the sand over to the boy."
Her eyes swept over the sandy floor with the hope that some kind of wheelbarrow would emerge. Hands clasped in her lap she waited, foolishly, for a minute before letting out a long, exasperated sigh. How was she meant to get the sand to the boy without any device? She sat, cross-legged on the sand, racking her brain. A white, tattered and sand encrusted night gown was the closest thing she got to a transportation device. Unless her wispy honey coloured hair suddenly achieved the ability to transport sand, her nightgown would have to do.
Kneeling down, she let her gown splay onto the sand before scooping handfuls of sand onto it. Once it became clear that it would be too heavy to carry, she gripped the hem if her gown and lifted it up. A small waterfall of sand trickled down the edges of her gown but she didn't care. Her arms wobbled. She wasn't strong enough to hold it for more than a few minutes. Teetering over to the boy, she had to tear her eyes away from his frozen body. Or corpse, Eleanor thought, darkly to herself, if I don't hurry up.
She began to panic and tremble even more so than before. More sand tumbled out of her skirt like powdered sugar as she tried to get to the boy. The sand became less and less soft underfoot, as if it reacted to her emotions. It began to cut the soles of her feet which were unused to anything other than creaking floorboards. Small, grey rocks began to protrude from the ground and she pursed her lips in pain. And suddenly, she fell.
For the second time this day, her toes cracked against a stone and she flew forwards, her arms flailing. She landed with a sickening thump, on the jagged ground. Blood trickled down her cheek as all the breath was knocked out of her body. Most of the sand that had resided on her gown was now scattered on the ground. The remaining had showered onto the boy's cage. His ice cube.
Eleanor's aching muscles, unused to the amount of weight she had just carried, disobeyed her brain as she told it to lift herself up. The adrenaline of the fall was wearing out quick and she felt the pain that gripped her stomach. The cut on her cheek was nothing compared to the burning sensation of her arms and legs. She felt horrible. And yet, as her whole body throbbed, she couldn't tear her eyes away from what was happening to the boy in front of her.
The few speckles of sand had done nothing the moment it touched the ice. But now, Eleanor was beginning to see. The tiny, tiny grains of sand now began to slowly burrow themselves into the dry surface of the ice. The sand shook and quaked and Eleanor was shocked to see cracks forming around the grains. She couldn't be sure, of course, her vision was fading away—everything was blurring.
And as she blacked out, the last thing she saw was the boy's cage cracking and falling away from him.