Secrets return to their owner on an incoming tide.

Image Credit: 
Public Domain

Alison stood on the shoreline. The cold sea slapped the sand and spread over her thin canvas shoes. It bit into her skin, reminding her she was alive, despite the events of last night.

Alison removed her sodden shoes and threw them into the sea. She watched as the next wave returned them to the beach, along with Tim’s wallet, washed clean of blood. She picked up the wallet and wiped it dry on her long white t-shirt. The partial remains of a booth photo dropped out, revealing a disembodied mouth and a set of uneven teeth. Alison dropped it on the wet sand.

She placed the wallet in the back pocket of her jeans and walked barefoot up the beach. As the dry sand collected on her wet feet, a new dawn spread its colour across the bay. A lone piece of seaweed had wrapped itself around her big toe. She stopped to disentangle it.

The stench from a pile of rotting seaweed hit her nostrils. A mixture of slimy layers studded with plastic waste, fish bones, shells, and unidentifiable detritus had collected in the corner by the slipway. Alison thought about throwing herself face down into its glutinous depths.

The island had won. Its incoming tide would call out her secrets.

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Susan Emm is local writer and adult education tutor. Her stories are inspired by walks in and around her seaside home of Thanet.

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