Grace Hedrick

The elder ambled along the beach, hobbling over to each shell he came upon. The cane progressed in sync with his body and clicked with every step he took. He observed the hoary waves as they crashed beside him and gave a smile. The man took in the scent of salty sea spray through his nose. The seagulls above him cawed and crashed to the ground beside him; he began to chuckle at their shenanigans.  Nature appeared to be in peace around him; however, that was until the waves began to crash upon his dress shoes. “Shit,” he muttered, jolting with his good hip out of the way. He limped onto the sand and jostled the water off each of his shoes. He shook his wrinkled head and pushed his glasses upon the bridge of his nose. The old man peered above him to witness the audience of darkened clouds that joined to watch him as they murmured in the distance. “I thought it was supposed to be a clear day today,” he groaned aloud. He shuddered, pulled his navy coat around him, and quickened his pace.

“David…” His pace halted, his head whirled around, and mouth laid agape as he peered unto the blackened sea. His breath hitched and his face sour, “Yes? Who is that?” He croaked as he looked side to side with his hand above his eyes to shield them from the mere light that poked through the clouds. “How do you know my name?” The waves seemed deathly silent now, not even a crash to be heard. “I swear, I must be losing my mind,” He shuddered and began to walk again. He began to draw his attention to the animals he admired just before they flew to his right, away from the sea, startled, and others confined themselves below the sand. “David, it’s time.” His pace ceased again, and in return, his face turned a mixture of pale as the sand and as deathly green as the sea. He slowly turned to his left to see the waves receding and rolling into a mossy obsidian whirlpool. He turned his feet around and hobbled to peer into the dark depths of the sea’s whirlpool. He swallowed as he heard the cries of the restless sea within the whirlpool endlessly calling his name. “David!” Jolting him out of his thoughts, a voice bellowed from inland. David swiftly shifted his attention to his right. 

Beyond the grass and along the dunes, a frail, elderly woman waved her right arm with tears in her eyes. Her left arm gripped tightly onto the cane that resided in her hand. “Look at me, please, David. It’s not looking good; I can’t lose you out there!” Her swollen knees attempted to allow her to walk, unfortunately, they gave way and she crashed to the sand. As he attempted to make out the figure with his weakened eyes, he widened his mouth in awe. “Ira, is that you?” She shook her head, full of smokey curls, rapidly in return. “Yes David! Come here please, quickly, it’s coming!” He pivoted to face the swirling waves as they heightened each second that he faltered. “I’m coming Ira! Just stay there,” He stumbled, pressing his weight on the cane each step, and groaned. Click…Click…Click. He peered behind him, as the dark blue arm of the sea extended closer to him, barely grazing his navy button up jacket. His face grew sour as his limp became more severe. “Ira, I’m hurting, I don’t know if I can make it dear,” His face fell as sweat beads littered his forehead. “Honey please!” She bawled, but the waves ascended too swiftly for the man. He stopped midway and inhaled; he looked to the sand beneath him, brow furrowed. The man turned to face the sable wall of water that leered back at him. There wasn’t any warning, there wasn’t any time, and there sure wasn’t any escaping his fate. The old man dropped his cane, lifted his arms to each side of him as if he were one of the seagulls that once littered the sky, and sighed. The man’s face relaxed for the first time in decades. The dreadful arm plucked his meek body from the sand. He slowly descended into the endless whirlpool, feeling the warmth of the restless waters around him. 

Above the dark sea, all was tranquil again. The whirlpool dissipated and not a wave appeared for miles. The wildlife that permeated the beach once arrived again as if nothing had happened.  Ira’s tears fell for hours as she looked at the serene sea that now sat in front of her. She shook her head as her tears fell upon the snow-white sand. “I’ll be with you again someday David. The waves will be here for me too. I’ll live amongst the tides with you,” Her aging hands covered her face. “I don’t know when, but I will be subject to them too, my love, and when they do, I’ll be unafraid, just as you were.” she whispered, limping away from the mystifying beach.