Today’s short story is up quite early I know, and you want to know why? It’s because I am talking to you, from the PAST! I wrote this story last night, because I am in college insanely early and for most of the day, despite having only two classes. Yayyy! So I figured I would set this up from the night before and have it ready to post by itself today! Smart eh? I would continue discussing this but the whole today/tomorrow thing is starting to make my head hurt. You get the gist though. Moving on!
I did get my haircut yesterday! That wasn’t a lie, I’m not a fan of haircuts, I don’t know why, I usually hold out until I am dragged/forced to go. Also, whenever they use an electric razor close to my head, I always, always expect it to cut me. I even get an Oh fuck. Tingle down my spine, despite knowing I’ll be fine. Haircut was successful enough, though the hairdresser put gel in it, then blow dried it, seemingly trying to style me like a 60’s news presenter. They succeeded admirably. I enjoyed my 60’s hair for twenty minutes or so before I showered. It brought great joy to those around me, including my mum, who couldn’t stop laughing, while trying to assure me it was fine. Thanks mum. It was fine after I showered and allowed it to dry normally. I always shower after a haircut because there’s all those tiny hairs stuck in the t-shirt, stabbing into you and being all annoying and itchy.
As you saw today/yesterday there was an announcement! Woo! I still have to think of a good cover for WITS V, but that should be up before Friday. Tomorrow/Today I’m in college all day so I have a good few free hours, I’ll probably work on Guess What? The Universe Hates You. I want this weeks posting to be at least 5,000 words. So if I do that and maybe a short story too I’ll be a little bit ahead of the game. I want to get a load done for when I’m doing my MA next year because it’s creative writing I’d be worried it might cut into blog posting.
College is quite fun, I’m enjoying my classes so far, though one of the lecturers knows my name and I don’t know how. I never had her in a smaller class, as far as I can recall, I’ve only had her lecturing to a theatre of like 500 people. It’s kinda creepy. Oh well, if I was more obsessed/paranoid I might worry about it, but I figure I’ll go with the flow. I hope my other classes will be equally enjoyable.
I ordered more books off Amazon, because books, I know right? But I missed the delivery because of college, so I’ll have to get them today or the day after (yes, I squinted as I typed that, trying to figure out the correct day type to use.) Still reading through my christmas books but I’m going through them fast, which is a good thing and a bad thing.
Anyway! I’m droning on and on and on and on and on and so on, so, on with the show already!
An Evening Swim
The sound of the sea was soothing, the tide was coming in, slowly but surely. She sat on the dunes, watching the water. She had walked along the shore before sitting, now she watched as her foot prints washed away, she liked it, there was no trace of how she got here, it looked as though she had just walked out of the sea. The sand was still warm from the sun, heat radiating outwards as it cooled. She dug her fingers underneath the warm layer, into the cooler sand below. It was nice, soothing, running her hands in the sand. It had been a long day, far too long. She enjoyed her walk, she always did. It was so nice here, peaceful. In the distance figures walked, they were quite far away, and in the dying light she sometimes questioned what she was seeing. Was that a person or a pole, maybe the grass that was growing along the dunes, just shifting slightly in the breeze.
Her hand struck something hard and cold, it was jarring, she dug it out of the sand quickly, brushing away the small particles that clung to the rocks surface. It was pitted and full of holes and was comfortably heavy in her hand. After a few seconds, she flung the stone away, hoping it would reach the water but not really expecting it to. She was too far away, though it landed closer than she thought it would, maybe thirty feet from the waters edge. Alice wondered how long that stone had been sitting there, under the sand, just waiting to be dug out or for the tide to return and pull it back out into the water to resume its endless journey. She would have to go soon, before it was dark, but for now she was comfortable. The beach was eerie at night, full of shadows and shifting shapes. She had walked along the shore at night before, but those days were over. She was older now and had better sense. Alice closed her eyes, listening to the water and the occasional cry of a gull.
The few people left on the beach were walking towards the car park, she stood, sighing, then made her way down the dune, her feet slipping in the sliding sands. She took one last look at the sea, then began to walk back to the car, walking quickly to ensure she’d be there before everyone else was gone. There were no houses nearby, she’d be completely alone. There was a splash, in the water. Alice paused and looked out at the sea, there were seals nearby and sometimes you could spot them swimming. She still enjoyed looking at them, even though she had seen them many times before. She tried to spot their heads, bobbing above the water, but there was nothing. The splash was loud, nearby, they would have been visible, probably the water hitting a rock or something. She turned to walk when it happened again, two quick splashes, she looked back, this time seeing the final droplets of water dropping back into the sea. She moved closer, squinting in the failing light. It was hard to see anything, the sea was looking darker, more ominous. There was something in the water, though it wasn’t a seal, she was sure of that. An arm appeared, startling her, she laughed, of course, a swimmer, what else would it be. The arm shook, as though waving. She wondered if she should tell them that everyone was going. Alice turned away from the sea, thinking about what she would have for dinner when she got home, there wasn’t much left in the freezer, but there would be enough for tonight, she’d need to do the shopping tomorrow. Again that splashing, she shook her head slightly, that swimmer needs to get themselves some lessons. She wasn’t worried about them drowning, she knew what that looked and sounded like, besides, it sounded like they were getting closer, probably too cold and coming to shore. “H…Help” Alice spun around, a woman was staggering ashore, still in the water, Alice ran to her, kicking up the sand as she ran, The woman stumbled a few more steps before falling into the water, it was shallow now, there was a faint splash as she hit the ground. The shore was rocky here, the stones sharp. Alice’s runners flooded with water, it was icy cold, shocking her. The woman rolled over weakly, looking up at Alice, pleading. Alice tried to drag her ashore but could only manage a few feet, as they reached the edge of the sand, the woman groaned, the stones, they were hurting her. “It’s ok, you’re all right now, just wait a few minutes then we’ll get you up on the sand and into something warm and dry.” The woman looked at her, “Thank you. I’ve been out there for hours.” “Hours?” “It felt like hours.” she was breathing heavily, almost gasping, her chest heaving. Alice knelt into the water, it soaked into her jeans, freezing against her skin, she cradled the woman’s head in her lap. It was dark but Alice could still see her swimsuit, it was skin-tight and pale green. She wondered if she should wrap the woman in her jumper, but she was still in the water, it would just get wet and make her colder. “What happened?” keep her talking, that was important, Alice wasn’t strong enough to drag her further, the water had helped before, she couldn’t drag her, not without cutting her back to shreds. “I was swimming and there was a current.” Alice looked around wildly trying to see if there was anyone she could signal or wave down for help but it was almost dark now, she couldn’t see anyone. “I got caught in it, it carried me so far away and I couldn’t escape.” “Where were you?” “I was swimming near my house” “Wow, you must have come miles, there’s no houses around here.” The woman was cold, so very cold, she might have hypothermia, Alice needed to get her out of the water. “Can you stand?” “I don’t think so.” “I’m going to have to drag you out” “No, please, don’t, it hurt so much the last time.” Her skin was so cold, she must be going numb by now, Alice was only in the water for a few minutes at most, but already the feeling was being drained from her shins and feet. “We have to get you out of the water and onto the shore, get you warmed up, I really need your help, would you be able to push a little if I dragged you? I can’t life you by myself.” “I can’t…I don’t…I’m too weak to do it.” “Ok, we have to get you up on the shore, then I can get you some help ok? I’m going to have to drag you, it won’t be fun, but I need to do it, it might hurt a little.” “No, don’t please” “I’m sorry, I have to, it’s for your own good.” “On the count of three ok? Then I’ll pull” Alice moved her arms underneath the woman’s, hooking them around her armpits, “One…Two…Thr-” The woman’s arms sprung up, wrapping themselves around Alice’s neck, pulling her down, Alice struggled, trying to pull away but the woman was strong, so strong. Alice’s eyes widened in shock, the woman’s lips met hers, pulling, draining. Alice wrapped her fingers in the woman’s hair, hoping to rip it out or pull her off, but her hair felt wrong, slimey. She tried to pull but her fingers slipped through. Alice tried to move her arms, position them better to push the woman away, but her grip was tight, too tight. She couldn’t move. She was so tired, so tired and so cold.
The woman heaved and Alice’s body fell to the side, she was panting, absorbing the energy. Slowly, she dragged herself into deeper water, pulling Alice’s body behind her. Alice’s eyes were open, staring at nothing. It would look like drowning, it always did. She would pull the body out further, then set it free, allow it to drift at the mercy of the ocean, maybe it would wash ashore or perhaps the sea would pull her deeper in, moving the body away from land, away from people. She didn’t care, she wouldn’t be caught. They were never caught. She didn’t lie, not really, she had been swimming near her home and had been caught in a current, one that had dragged her so far away. That’s why she needed Alice, she needed the energy to get back. It was a long swim, but she was expected. She lowered her head beneath the waters surface, enjoying the cold that covered her and enveloped her head. There was no sound here, just silence. She could listen if she wanted too or needed too, but for the moment, she was happy where she was, in the silence, digesting her meal. She breathed in deeply, enjoying the salty tang of the water on her tongue. She felt good, strong. Facing towards home she began to swim. It would be a long trip, longer now that there wasn’t a current to help her, it didn’t matter too much though, she was a good swimmer and the meal would last her for the entire trip, maybe even a week or two longer. She smiled then began to swim, thinking of her children to speed the journey.