1 Chapter One, drowning

All was still, there was no movement. Not when frigid winds sweep across the shore. No chipped rocks or broken shells lined the water's edge. The ground opened up in places, but the water ran so fast it seemed still.

No movement except the waves crashing. No movement except a few small shells sailing on the tide. No movement but driftwood on the open ocean. No movement except- a scuffle on the shore.

There was nothing. The water was alone on the beach, licking the shore, trying to swallow the earth. There were no picnic tables, no chairs. No discarded umbrellas left behind by vacationers, no trash. The place was deserted, or perhaps, never inhabited? It seemed as if something wicked roamed here, wherever "here" was.

But there was nothing. Nothing except a rock, a folded pile of clothes on it. Everything so clean and perfect it looks like a display in a store. On top of the clothes, a pair of shoes, the laces laced perfectly as if new. The ocean was restless, fighting with the shore, battling for the land, but the clothes were dry as if the water was calm. There should be nothing, but there was a sign. A very broken, falling-apart, hanging-on-one-screw sign. A sign that says "Danger, do not swim: rip currents."

There was no life there. There were no people to be seen, no one around for miles, not here. Not on this rocky beach, on this dreadful day. There was no life, no animal would dare to venture this far into the fog. No sea creatures either, no crabs, no fish. There was no life.

There were no sounds. The only sound was of deafening silence. There was no sound of children playing, no sound of birds squawking. There was no sound of sea lions, none of barking dogs.

Nothing was heard. Nothing was heard except the eerie whistling in the distance. No sounds but the crashing water, the racing waves. There were no sounds but the creaking of trees behind the beach, no sounds but the crying of the wind. There were no sounds- until there were. There were no sounds but the gunshot ringing out, no sounds until there was sputtering, no sounds until the coughing.

There was no life except the person in the water; no life except the person on the shore. And there was nothing but the clothes on the rock, nothing but the gun in the hand of the man on the shore, nothing but the smile on the face of the man falling, falling from a row of rocks. The reef-like structure stood 15 feet above sea level, and the man was falling.

And then there was stillness. A moment of silence, no cries, no coughing, no choking was heard. No hands float up above the water. No waves crash, the wind stills. As if time stops.

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