My eyes open and my head is thick. Not as thick as my hair must feel now that the twin sisters of sand and salt have done their work, but thick all the same. Tiny grains shift against my scalp in the breeze but I’m too full of slumber to worry overmuch. I lie back against the sand. Close my eyes.
The beach is quiet now. The laughter and shouting, the frenetic madness of noon has dissipated like the heat of the day. I can see the sun dipping over the water if I raise my head a little. Golden puddles melting into the horizon. For a moment the world is aflame and then twilight succumbs to night.
The sound of the water is there again. Much louder this time. It will become a roar by dawn.
Not that I will be listening.
The Devil’s Bones. The name is apt to my eye. Thin polished strips of stone with rounded boulders at each end lie atop one another like the mouldering remains of some fallen god. The clamped oysters and limpets give them a worn out appearance.
We shared oysters once. I spat mine out and you laughed at my uncultured ways. Kissed my uncultured lips. We made love that night. Created life.
The sea feels cool against my toes. Every fifth wave it creeps up to lick my ankles. My time grows close but I want to hold on for as long as I can. In the shadows of a faint moon I paint a picture in front of my eyes. I smell rosemary in your hair. The wind from the sea whispers and laughs with your voice as you turn towards me. I trace the swell of your belly against a distant constellation.
Even in dreams I cannot hold you when they come to lead you to the water. Now as then a broken witness I remain.
Drown the witch and her get.
Rope and stone did their work but how you fought my love for your own life and the one we made. And as your lungs screamed their last and you slipped your bounded weights to rise to the surface Guilty was their only response.
I’m not afraid now. The water’s edge laps against my chest swelling the ropes that bind me here enough to feel like I’m floating.
It will be morning soon.
Author’s Note: Some of you kind and lovely people who have been reading my work for a while may recognise this piece from my Shortbread Stories days. Originally it was just over 500 words but I thought it had potential for the 400 word limit pieces that Firewords print each quarter and so I recently set about it with a stick.
OK it was a red pen.
It was surprisingly easy to chop 20% off even such a small word count and was a great editing task to take on.
In the end it just came up short for Firewords but I think I’ve ended up with a piece that is better than the original. So no complaints from me…but if you have one (or any other type of comment) then I’d love to hear your thoughts.