Postcard #35

beach, salt water, sand

Dear Nora,

Today, I walked along the beach and I dreamed about you. I thought about that summer we spent together and why now we can’t have any more. You know I would give anything to change that, but we both know that I’m not the problem.

I shall await you forever, Charles.

Somewhere On The Beach

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The beach was empty which was strange for a warm, sunny day. Normally tourists flocked here to see the famous natural rock sculptures. Clearly everyone had better things to do today and I wished I had too.

Trekking down to the beach and towards the rock formation known as the Rhino, I let my troubles consume me. The sand was damp under my feet and my footprints were deep, but I was wearing strong water proof boots, so my feet stayed dry. I heard the sea in the distance, it was far out in front of me and the waves were rolling gently against the sand. The air smelt of spring grasses and salt. Seagulls squawked and circled in the sky, the only other sound to be heard.

I had no reason for being here. The urge to visit the Rhino had come from boredom. If I had a dog that would be my excuse. Maybe I needed to get one? Not a big bounding beast, just a small friendly creature, who wouldn’t give me too much fuss. I had never been animal person though.

The grey and white layered rock rose before me. The top point must have been thirty feet high and there was a thick covering of moss, seaweed and other plants. From the distance, it did look like a rhino eating a chunk of grass, but as you got right up it just looked like a interesting shaped rock; worn over the years by the sea and nature.

I lazily explored the rock pools that gathered in the base of the Rhino. There were a few small crabs, starfish and other things that were surviving in the pools till the sea came back in. Nothing greatly fascinating.

After, I found a dry place to sit on the rocks, looking out at the far away sea and straight of damp sandy beach. Sometimes, there’d be boats or surfers or swimmers to watch, but there was nothing today.

The oddness of that made my thoughts turn away from my troubles and to wondering what was going on. Maybe, the fact it was Monday morning didn’t help. No there was something else going on.

I got up and headed back to the wave breakers and the white fence that marked the start of the beach. Sand clung to my boots and the bottoms of my water proof trousers were wet. It felt like a long walk back. I wished I’d brought my ipod or my phone with me. I had left both hidden in my car though, wanting to be totally alone.

I made it back to the wall and the car park. Something fluttering in the breeze caught my eyes and I went over to it. Flowers, ribbons, cards and a teddy bear collected in a neat little pile. Someone had recently died. I looked at a few of the cards. They were in memory of a young man, but I couldn’t tell anything else from that.

Leaving my car, I went over to the row of shops across the road. It wasn’t holiday time and some of the little shops were closed. A cafe was open and as I walked in I went to a table with a newspaper on it. I sat down and picked it up. On the front page was a report about a young man who had fallen off a boat yesterday and drowned.

That’s why the beach had been empty.

Horizon #writephoto

horizon

The horizon didn’t look like anything Peaches had imagined it to be. She had thought it was going to bright and colourful, like in the old photos and film reals she had seen, instead though it was a dull blue-grey.

‘Not the promises I was led to believe,’ she muttered.

She lent her too thin body forward and rested her chin on her knees. Her arms were tightly wrapped behind her knees, keeping the long wool skirt in place and stopping the strong breeze from getting in.

Around her all the children and some of the adults from the Church Of The Redeemed Evangelists were splashing in the salty water or playing in the sand or exploring the rocks and caves. Cries of delight but also screams of pain could be heard amongst the babble of voices.

Peaches ignored them all, feeling tried and empty of the hope she had been holding in for so long.

‘What’s wrong with you?’ a sharp female voice asked.

With only moving her eyes, Peaches looked up and realised she wasn’t the one being addressed. Before her was a small woman, wearing the clothes of a Senior Sister; a long black dress which completely covered her body and a black head dress with a grey trim. Next to her was a small girl with blonde hair in a blue wool dress who was crying and rubbing her face.

‘My eyes hurt!’ the girl cried.

‘I knew this trip to the surface world would bring nothing but troubles,’ the Senior Sister spoke loudly, ‘and what have you learnt out here? Nothing. It would have been better to remain in the Temple. Come along, child. We shall wash your face.’

Peaches watched the Senior Sister taking the girl’s hand and leading her away to the little camp set up in a sheltered spot. There were two other Sisters sat there and from their clothes Peaches could tell they were Mothers, the highest of the female order.

‘I don’t want that to be my fate,’ Peaches whispered.

She looked at the horizon again, it still seemed bleak. However, there could only be freedom on the other side.

Peaches cast a long look around then slowly got up. She made as if she was just walking along the rough sand. Finally, though she was out of sight and trying to figure out how she could reach her horizon.

 

 

(Inspired by a prompt from; https://scvincent.com/2017/03/09/thursday-photo-prompt-horizon-writephoto. With thanks).

Low Tide

low-tide

When the tide finally went out the tiny pink shoe was left half buried in the wet sand. A baby crab scuttled across it and paused wondering if he had found a new shell to call home. He sit in the shoe for a few minutes then decided it was just too big for him and scuttled away.

The men gathered on a sand dune. Flatting down the spiky marram grass with their damp clothes. They breathed the sea salt air heavily and shared around the last flasks of water, tea and whisky. In depressed silence, they looked out at the low tide and long strip of yellow beach over which the setting sun was casting a colourful display.

As the darkness gathered, the men said their goodbyes and left, fading back into the village with a heaviness in their hearts.

(From; https://scvincent.com/2017/02/02/thursday-photo-prompt-low-tide-writephoto/)

 

Postcard #30

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Dear Nettie,

I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Your husband was always kind to me and I have lovely memories of us all playing on the beach. It’s been such a long time since we last saw everyone but our move to France was the best decision. We couldn’t be more happy here. The small B&B is working well and though money is short, we make do. If ever you fancy coming out here to escape everything here’s my number. Just let us know.

All the best, Betty

Boats

01-ceayr-29-january-2017

She liked to sit on the shore and watch the boats on the water. No matter how hard she tried though, she couldn’t step on to one, even a tiny row boat. The fear of her father’s death was still raw even after all these years. Every time her eyes shut, she could see him tumbling from the over crowded dingy and into the deep sea. Vanishing before anyone could help him under the large waves.

She had screamed and screamed, till her voice went. Strangers had tried to comfort her but she didn’t want to know. When they finally arrived, she collapsed on the beach and lay there until someone had picked her up.

She couldn’t recall much afterwards, just a sense of so much loss and the question, how could the smugglers have promised a new beginning, safe from war, when really they were tearing families further a part?

 

(Prompt from: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/49410752/posts/1536 with thanks.)

The December Sea

smoke

I knew it was going to be a disaster from the start. Who goes to the seaside in December? But the girls and wife instead.

‘You do know it’s going to be freezing right? And everything will be shut?’ I stated as we sat around the dinning room table eating breakfast.

‘But we can still build sand castles,’ Sky, the oldest, cut in.

‘And get ice cream? Not all the shops will be shut,’ Charlie added.

‘Can we go crabbing too?’ Ethany, the youngest, piped up.

‘I think the fresh sea air will be great for everyone and Lexie would love the change of scenery,’ my wife, Sue, finished the conversation off with.

From the closed dinning room door came the soft yipping of Lexie, the king charles spaniel puppy. She was banished to the hallway whenever we were eating as she couldn’t be trusted and the kids liked sneaking her titbits.

I grumbled into my toast, ‘this is a bad idea.’

‘Can we take, Bob?’ Charlie asked.

From under the table came the thumping of a heavy tail. My old yellow Labrador let out a soft chuffing sound. He was allowed in because he kept my feet warm and all he did now a days was sleep.

‘Maybe not…’ my wife said, ‘he’s very old and I don’t think he’d like it much.’

‘We could put his coat on and if he get’s tried dad can take him back to the car,’ Charlie suggested.

‘I’d feel bad if we left him behind,’ Ethany added with a pout.

‘Okay,’ Sue said, ‘let’s get ready then.’

So, off to the seaside we went and you know what? I was totally right.

We found a sheltered spot in the entrance to a small cave to set up camp. The girls went running about the empty sand, shouting and playing games. Lexie ran with them and also had a couple of dips in the cold sea. The waves were pretty big as it was quite windy. I, my wife and Bob sat on the picnic blanket, huddled in our coats coming to the realisation that that this was a bad idea.

Soon enough, Ethany came running back to us crying.

‘What’s wrong?’ Sue asked.

‘There’s sand in my eyes! Sky did it!’ Ethany shouted.

‘Come here. I’ve got some wipes.’

Sue pulled Ethany into her lap and cleaned her eyes.

‘Do you want to go home?’ I asked, hoping that the answer would be yes.

‘No,’ Ethany sniffed, ‘I’m okay now.’

She hugged her mum tightly then got up and walked over to her sisters. They were building a sand castle close by and Lexie was eating seaweed.

‘Stop Lexie from eat that,’ I called after her and pointed at the puppy.

Ethany nodded and broke into a run.

I watched Ethany pulling Lexie away and fought down the urge to tell my wife that we should leave for the tenth time.

A few minutes later, a huge wave crashed on to the beach. The girls screamed. Sue and I rushed up and over. The younger girls had managed to escape, but Lexie and Sky hadn’t. I grabbed Sky first and hauled her away by the hood of her coat. My wife was yelling something Lexie, but I had to make sure my daughter was safe first.

‘You okay?’ I asked her.

Sky nodded, breathlessly. She was dripping wet.

‘Lexie!’ Charlie and Ethany were screaming over and over again.

I glanced over my shoulder and saw my wife stood ankle deep in the sea. She was half bent over, her hands in the water, searching.

‘Get back to the cave,’ I said to all the girls.

I turned and made my way towards the sea. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sky struggling across the sand then shepherding her sisters back to our camp.

‘I can’t find her!’ Sue hollered above the wind and the waves.

I quickly scanned around, looking for any flashes of black, white and brown in the grey-green-white topped sea.

‘Lexie! Puppy!’ my wife screamed.

‘There!’ I yelled and pointed at some shape far to the left of of us that seemed not to be a part of the sea.

I wadded into the freezing water. Feeling my thick wool socks and trousers getting soaked. The waves bashed around me as if threatening me to get out. Frantically, I kept looking then dipping my hands and arms under the waves. The cold shot through me and in seconds my fingers felt numb.

A voice at the back of my head was repeatedly saying, she’s gone, she’s gone. How can a little dog survive this?  

I had a flash image of my little girls all crying and sobbing, ‘Daddy, why didn’t you save our puppy?’

Then my numb fingers hit something; wet fur. I clutched hold tightly and like a fisherman wrestling with a big fish, I yanked the king charles puppy from the raging sea. Holding her by her collar and scruff of her neck, I trudged back to the shore.

‘Oh my God! Lexie! Dave!’ my wife gasped.

She rushed over, out of the sea herself and joined me on the wet sand. She took the puppy from me and held it close to her chest like one of her babies. Tears were streaming down her face and her cheeks were flushed a deep red.

I watched her, struggling to steady my breathing and waiting to feel my body again. She checked the puppy over. Lexie was alive, but only just.

‘We must get her warm,’ Sue was saying.

She jogged across the beach and I saw the children rushing to meet her.

I walked back. My feet sinking into the sand, sea water dripping off me. When I reached the cave, my wife had wrapped Lexie in a towel and put the puppy inside her in coat. The girls were crowded around her, demanding to know that Lexie was okay. Bob was standing up, wagging his tail in greeting and wondering what all the fuss was about.

‘We need to go home now!’ my wife declared loudly.

Finally!

‘Yes, of course. Right away!’ I said, ‘girls help pack up.’

Quickly, we packed everything away and gathered things up. My wife stood holding Lexie in her coat and giving a few instructions. I held my tongue still even though the words I told you so and this was a bad idea were on my tongue.

‘Ready? Let’s go,’ I said and went to step outside.

The sky which had always been dull grey had now turned darker and from it was falling snowflakes and sleet.

‘It’s snowing!’ Charlie declared.

‘So it is. Come on,’ Sue cut in and strolled out.

We followed after her, trying to hurry across the sand. Reaching the car, everything and everyone bungled in. I started on the engine and my wife turned up the heater.

‘Everyone okay?’ I called.

A choir of female voices answered, ‘yes.’

Nodding, I drove us home and the snow began to fall more heavily. An hour later, I pulled into the driveway and turned off the engine.

‘How’s Lexie?’ Sky asked for what felt like the millionth time.

‘Better now,’ Sue replied.

‘Do we still have to take her to the vets?’ Charlie questioned.

‘I don’t think so…but we’ll see how she is within a hour,’ Sue replied.

We all got out the car and unpacked. Once in the warmth, dry space of home, everyone got themselves sorted. I got in the shower afterwards, when the girls, wife and dogs were okay. The hot water swept the remaining coldness from me and I felt cleaner too.

Going into the living room afterwards, I saw Lexie and Bob curled up together on the big dog bed in the corner. All my girls were snuggled on the sofa under a blanket and there was a Disney Princess movie on the telly. It all seemed so normal.

‘Let’s think twice before we go to the seaside again,’ I spoke out as I sank into the armchair.

 

(Inspired from: https://scvincent.com/2016/12/08/thursday-photo-prompt-smoke-writephoto/ with thanks. Click to read other people’s stories or to create one yourself.)

Snow Dust

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The bench sat facing out to the water which would have froze over had it not been for the waves constant movements back and forth. A light dusting of snow covered all, making the bench useless, for who would want to sit upon it and stare out at the waters on a day like today? There was nothing to see anyway, but the cold grey sky and even duller landscape. It was enough to make anyone depressed and wishing to be beside a fire where it was bound to be warmer and happier.

Creature

cave-creature

Jack knew he shouldn’t go further into the cave, but he was angry and didn’t care. Sand and shells crunched under his hiking boots and water dripped steadily. The light beam from the torch showed him how narrow the walls were getting. He hitched up his rucksack and heard it scrapping the wall.

He stopped and saw his breath misting before him. It was colder then he thought then. He shone the torch around, but there was nothing unusual about the cave. It looked just looked like the back of any cave on any beach. Jack turned back the way he had come. He couldn’t see the cave entrance, but he knew it was there.

They’re all outside having a good laugh at me now, he thought, whatever. Sod them.

He slipped his rucksack off and sat down on it. He tapped the torch about in his hands then turned it off. Darkness settled around him and he breathed in deeply. He shut his eyes and just listened to the distant sound of the sea. He also thought he heard the crackle of the fire and gusty blow of the wind.

The sound of soft footsteps moving towards him grew within the background of dripping water.

Great. I can’t even get a bit of space!

Jack thought about turning the torch on, but then decided against it. Let whoever it was find him in the dark. They liked playing games anyway didn’t they? His so called friends…

The footsteps came into focus and Jack knew something was wrong with them. It didn’t sound like boots or bare feet coming towards him. It sounded more like paws…

‘Hello?’ he shouted and flicked on the torch.

The light chased the shadows away and showed Jack nothing but the damp walls.

‘Quit messin’ and leave me alone! Jerks!’ he yelled.

He turned off the torch again and sat breathing heavily in the darkness.

The sound of paws picked up again and were followed by a low growl. The hair on the back of his neck stood up and Jack turned the torch slowly. Carefully, he guided the beam around.

Something moved against the wall to his left. He flashed the torch over and the light reflected two large grey glowing orbs.

He swore and scrambled to his feet. He tried to hold the torch steady to see more, but he couldn’t.

The growling came again. Fur brushed against the wall. The paws picked up speed.

He dodged to the side and ran. The light beam bouncing everywhere. He burst from the cave, kicking up sand as he arrived. He spun around and shone the light back into the entrance. Was it still following him?

His friends were scrambling around, he could see that out of the corner of his version. They were asking him what was wrong. But he couldn’t reply. He had no words to describe the creature he had just seen.

 

Story prompt from: https://scvincent.com/2016/10/27/thursday-photo-prompt-creature-writephoto/ with thanks.

Beach

sea, landscape, beach

The beach was the only place she felt free. Sitting on the warm sand, the surf just touching her feet, she could imagine she was anywhere and anyone.