The gusting wind pushed on the young couple making their way down the seaside bluff. The cold air dried-out their throats as they breathed through the smiles; the black sea spread out below them. A small coastal town was visible across the inlet, ready to welcome them back when they finished their little hike.
They rounded the bend of the winding path as she grabbed his arm and exclaimed, “Nick, look over there!”
A tail glimmering in sun could just be seen slipping under the water. It was as large as a dolphin’s but shined blue like an oil-slick. Then it disappeared.
“I thought you said we probably wouldn’t see any dolphins this time of year,” she teased. Nick grumbled playfully before countering, “Hey, I just know what the internet told me on the drive here.”
The two waited a minute more to see if the strangely colored animal would resurface but gave up as another powerful gust shoved at them. He urged them onwards, ready to be off the cliff, and maybe out of the wind on the beach below. The pebble and seashell filled sand made a satisfying crunch as they took their first steps onto the beach.
“You gonna help me find shells?” she asked, squeezing his hand. He opened his mouth but hesitated before saying, “Actually, I’m going to watch the water. Maybe that thing will come back, want to see?”
She was already glaring at the ground, looking for the perfect shell. He tried again, “Lynn? Did ya’ hear me?”
“Yeah, go, do your thing. I’ll be around here,” she gave one final squeeze to his fingers and a peck on the cheek before pulling away entirely.
He smiled and focused on the waves rolling in as soon as her back was turned. A little rock outcrop provided him a dry seat to watch from, deeper water just in front of him. His phone sat out with the camera app open. He would be ready.
Nick leaned forward with his elbows propped on his knees when a few specks of cold saltwater to spritz his face and neck. He wiped them off only for more to hit. Splash, wipe, repeat. The small droplets thrown by the waves grew increasingly more annoying.
After several rounds, a good handful of water hit him, followed by laughter in front. He peered down and over the rock to see a little girl getting ready to splash him again. Her thin black hair was plastered to her and her skin was deathly white.
He quickly crawled forward on his hands and knees and said, “You’re going to be sick. Where are your parents?”
She nodded back down below the water and laughed as she splashed him again. He stretched a hand down, ready to pull her out. She grasped his hand warmly with a smile. The warm, wet hand holding his was a small concern compared to the numerous needle-like teeth behind her smile.
A startled cry barely escaped his lips before she yanked him down into the cold water. He fought under the water, unable to scream or splash as she dragged him further under and away from the shore.
Ashore, his newlywed wife finally returned from her shell hunt along the beach to find her groom missing. Lynn yelled for him until getting her phone out and angrily tapping his contact. Still laying on the rock, his ringtone led her straight to it, but he was nowhere to around.
The afternoon wore on, police were called, a missing person’s report was filed and added to the ever-growing stack. Lynn pushed for more to be done. The police insisted that nothing would come of it. Washed out to sea, fallen in never to be seen again, the list of excuses was unending. It happened all the time, after all.
Finally, she got them to bring out a search dog. Without fail, the canine returned to the rocky outcrop time and again. No matter where they searched along the beach when it picked up Nick’s scent, it headed straight for the rocks.
There came the point that the dog was loaded up, and the officers stopped the search. Nick Fir was eventually listed as lost at sea, and the world moved on, except for Lynn.