Sorry about the delay posting September's story but I was away on holiday in Turkey during August. This should see me back on track with this project.
Where Things Would Take Him
He went down to the beach and stared out at the sea, trying to clear his head. There was a huge grey rock a few yards from the shore; he waded in, knee-deep, and sat down on the rock. It was covered with patches of kelp, but not so much that it was slippery. The rock’s surface, in fact, was smooth and oddly soft. Once he’d adjusted his position, it made a comfortable perch.
So much had happened in the past few days: his wife leaving him for another, much younger man; being made redundant; finding out that that his wife had re-mortgaged the house and had not kept up with the payments.
Everything had happened so fast, taking on its own trajectory. A life pulled apart in the space of a week. Now he had nothing left. His entire life before this point was a sham; scrape away the surface matter and there was nothing underneath.
He smiled. This entire period, now that it was finally over, had proved liberating. He was free. He could do whatever he liked with the rest of his life, and, surprisingly, the prospect did not scare him. It made him feel alive. For the first time in many years, he was truly living.
Staring at the horizon, he wondered where things would take him, what path he might eventually follow. The sun dipped lower and the sky changed colour, a dark expanse with slashes of yellow and orange.
What a beautiful sight, he thought. What a beautiful end to the day.
The sound of the sea was peaceful. Gently lapping waves. The occasional splash of something darting near the surface.
It was then that he understood the tide must have come in without him noticing. He looked back at the shore; it was a mile away. The beach was empty. He could see his car parked on the gravel car park next to the road, but no other vehicles were visible.
Puzzled, he looked around. Surely the tide could not have come in so fast…and, now that he thought about it, there was a sensation of floating, drifting but with purpose. It felt as if he were on a small boat, bobbing on the tide, heading slowly, almost furtively away from land.
He looked down at the rock. It was moving, muscles flexing at it pushed itself gracefully through the water.
The rock was taking him out to sea.
At first his mind was unable to grasp this concept, but reality slowly seeped in, and then came the terror. The knowledge that he was in danger, the nature of which he could not completely understand.
By the time he realised it was not a rock he was sitting on, the smooth, grey thing beneath him had rolled smoothly over to show him its teeth.
© Gary McMahon 2019