As we got closer, much closer, we saw something else, but at first we couldn't tell what it was.
"It looks like signs," Thea said eventually.
"Sure," Robin said. "They say KEEP OFF THE GRASS."
We were all too exhausted to laugh.
We couldn't make out the wording until we reached the actual edge of the desert, which was a distinct boundary, a strip no more than ten yards wide, where the ground got sandier and the grass got sparser. Beyond that, the sand was as thick and white as in a brand-new sandbox.
What each of the signs said was BEWARE OF THE SAND HANDS.
"Sand hands?" Robin said. "Sand hands? What in the world are sand hands?"
We all looked at each other. We all shrugged.
"I never heard of anything so ridiculous in my life," Robin said. He took a step into the sandy area before the desert. And another. Still nothing happened. He took another step and his foot sank deeper in the sand than he had anticipated, causing him to stumble. He pulled himself upright, then pitched forward again. "Hey!" he yelled, surprised. Then, "Hey!" he cried again. And there was fear in his voice.
From where we stood, we saw... Well, it sure looked like a hand to me. A human hand. It had hold of Robin's right ankle, and it tugged. Robin's entire foot disappeared under the sand...