The Storm – A short story

via Daily Prompt: RadiantIMG_8699

The weather reported that the cyclone was passing over right where they were. It could have hit at any time. They had been expecting it for days, battening down the hatches and protecting the house and garden hoping that the damage it might cause if any would be minimal.

So far they had been safe. But now at that moment on this day, louder than ever the sea was calling them, they went to answer the call.

Travelling to the beach, there was no sign of bad weather.  The sky was bright and clear, a real blue sky for miles with no grey of rain. They parked and bought refreshments at the nearby café. As they stumbled across the sand, past the lake and up the dunes to the top, they paused as they were met with an almost empty beach, no crazy surfers hitting the waves for once heeding the warnings of danger.

The occasional local wandering along, with dogs, racing through the sand and water, charging around barking excitedly. Or others with some companions walking and taking in the spectacle of it all.  Lifeguards on patrol retrieving rubbish from the beach, no one out at sea for miles around.  She stopped for a moment, looking out with her friend at the softest sand and crystal blue sea gazing in wonder at the sight before them.  A wall of waves and foam, about 40 feet in height, the sand being swept up crashing upon the shoreline and their faces.

Suddenly there they were, like little storm hunters barefoot and racing towards it, they ran into the water. Embracing the storm for a moment the wind lashing at their faces and sand biting their skin, cleansed by the elements.

They had gone expecting to find great treasures washed upon the shore, a storm can bring such wonderful things to the beachcomber. Alas, no sooner had the large waves brought in an abundance of things, which they scurried to collect, then another would arrive to sweep the beach clear once again. The beautiful shells and things being replaced by fragments, shattered in the process.  But they did not cause sadness, they held a beauty all of their own. For the storm granted them freedom. Yes, freedom to run to jump, to think and to breathe.

They stood, transfixed as the waves grew and broke before them, such power which no one could harness. Nature at its finest and there she walked along, arms outstretched, welcoming it all with a radiant smile. Suddenly with all the previous stresses of her mind now gone, washed away by the storm carefree she walked along with her friend, both of them in silence at the wonder of it all.

Returning in the direction of the car, greeted by wet dogs and smiling people along the way, she thought quietly of her loved ones at home and the moment they had missed. This glorious beach which would be the perfect place to walk, hand in hand with her lover and their beloved dog racing towards the surf. Wind in his fur, tail held high in excitement, hardly anyone around. Miles and miles of pure white sand, not littered by rubbish, but freshly groomed by nature for their pleasure. Her friend in tune with her suddenly voicing the same thoughts agreed, they should be here to enjoy this too it would be the perfect beach for them.

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The Man on our Walk

It was growing dark. The man shuffled slowly towards us, dragging his foot as he went. His shoes worn lopsided from the effort and his clothes dishevelled. His breathing was laboured, he shot me a strange look as he passed by us and I wondered why. I did not worry and did not feel under threat.

The dog was suspicious leaning his body into mine protective in his stance. The puppy with fluffy ears and long legs suddenly wolf like. There to defend me if required. Forgetting for a moment that he did not need to guard we were just out. He did not make a sound.

The man shuffled on past continuing on his way, scowling to wherever his journey took him. Moments later the puppy looked up at me and wagged his tail, whatever danger he suspected had passed. I stroked his ears, reassurance that all was well as we continued on our walk. Our breath visible in the night air, thick around our heads, clothing pulled tightly around our bodies for warmth, striding purposefully home with my furry protector.

The End of an Affair

A Short Story

As the couple stood underneath the departures board at the station. People waiting all around to see which platform they needed her eyes were drawn to them. A well dressed man stood in front of her with a well dressed woman. He looked anxious as he was talking loudly to her. Almost shouting but unintentionally he just had one of those voices which carried. He was not speaking quietly but he looked concerned as he spoke.

It was Christmas week, as people were thinking about spending time together. Although she was looking up at the departure board, her eye was being drawn to the couple below it. It was clearly the time to end their affair. He was trying to work out why she was watching them, did she look familiar or perhaps know one of them. It was sad she felt for the woman whose face she could not see, it seemed so insensitive to do this in not only a public place but right under the departure board. The onlooker wondered why he would pick such a public place to end it, where there is no where in private to mask the inevitable emotions that follow a break up. He started to look uncomfortable but kept watching the onlooker over his lady’s shoulder, wondering if he had been recognised but still they did not move away. The onlooker willed her train platform to appear on the board but there was a full 20 minutes before it was due to leave. He stood talking, reasoning as the words drifted across to the ones who waited there. All the time she stood motionless. “You’re a lovely girl.” He placed a hand on each arm like you would to steady a child who was out of control, or as you would draw someone into an embrace. But he did neither, he just continued “But I am a Married Man and I don’t know what I can do” Her response was inaudible but she may have tried to reason with him, or had she known all along just be accepting. He told her not to cry so within a moment it was clear the outcome but she did not shake and appeared composed. He moved her to one side about 20 feet away and dropped his voice slightly, the noise of the busy station muffled the words, leaving the rest only to her imagination. The onlooker hoped that they would not be on the same train, not in the same carriage and hoped that the woman would be alright. At least she could start the New Year with a new start, not clinging to the old life for it would no longer serve her. She did not have such concern for the man who was dumping her. At that point he became insignificant. As the onlooker looked again above them at the departures, she hoped that this new year would bring good things for the people she loved and even herself, if that was allowed. She looked forward to the welcome she would get from her family as she stepped inside the door as she arrived home. The embraces and laughter. She thought of the wonderful gift of time spent with loved ones that she had been given and felt happy. As she smiled to herself she looked below and the couple had vanished, just as quickly as they had appeared.