The Beach

My mother always told me to stay away from the beach. She said that the waves would sweep me up and I would be lost to the sea. I always assumed that she said that because she was worried I would drown, but her fear persisted even as I grew older.

Just to be safe, I steered clear of the ocean along with everyone else in my sea-side town. It wasn’t until I moved away for college that I realized this was strange, I had always assumed that everyone stayed clear of the water.

After college, my mother got sick and I moved back home to take care of her. I was only home a few days when she died, and while it wasn’t sudden, it still was quite a shock. My mother had always been someone I thought would live forever, she was strong-willed and always had sound advice. The air felt thick in her absence and felt like I was reaching a point of breaking. I couldn’t stand to stay in the house anymore and so I decided to go for a walk. For the first time, I noticed that the beach had a fence around it that said ‘no trespassing’. I walked over to the fence, curiosity consuming me as I leaned on it and stared out at the water.

It was a cloudy day and the water seemed to be black as it licked the beach. It was quiet, with most of the birds seeming to take shelter from the likely coming storm. I scanned the water, looking for anything that appeared to be out of the ordinary. Something popped up out of the water and immediately dove under again. It was so fast I wasn’t even sure if I had truly seen it.

Now, this is where my common sense failed me. For whatever reason, I ducked under the fence and made my way to the shore. Years of my mother telling me to not even gaze at the shore rang in the back of my head, and yet I still carried on towards the water.

I slipped my feet out of my shoes as I neared the water. I stood at the water’s edge, looking out as the waves tickled my toes. Again, I scanned the water, this time I saw nothing. I sighed, blaming it on the stress of the last few weeks and turned to leave. As soon as I did though, something caught my eye. I turned back around, this time looking down the beach itself. Sure enough, someone was standing near the water but far enough away that I couldn’t quite make them out.

I knew this was odd since no one ever went near the beach, but as they turned and motioned to me, I walked towards them. The closer I got to them, the more my brain felt as if it was slowing down. I felt like I was dreaming as if my body wasn’t my own. I wanted to stop walking towards this stranger, and at the realization that I couldn’t stop walking my brain started to scream at me to run away.

Suddenly, I was in the water up to my waist. The only reason I noticed is that someone broke the trance by dragging me from behind. I still couldn’t move of my own accord and my feet tried to pull me back to the ocean. The force kept pulling me back up the shore when they realized I still couldn’t move. I was being dragged, hands overhead, along the beach but my eyes couldn’t leave the water that just tried to swallow me whole.

Once we were all the way back up at the fence line, I was thrown over the fence, finally, I could move again. Shakily, I stood up, looking for whoever my hero could possibly be and saw no one. 

“I always told you to stay away from the beach,” was whispered into my ear and when I spun around, no one was there.


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Photo by Tobias van Schneider on Unsplash

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