Others are up ahead, a clump of black silhouettes, paled by a haze of sea spray.
I check my instinct to call Jesse to heel. Stupid dog’s too far away, closer to them than me. If I call they’ll see me.
There was a storm last night. Idiot! I stumbled from the shack just as the cold sun was lifting over the bay, only half awake, unprepared. If only I’d made coffee, got the stove going, sparked some brain cells to life. But the wood store was empty, the coffee jar too.
I watch Jesse for one second, two, as he jogs towards the hunched figures, his tail swinging. Only now do I notice wreckage littering the sands – a plastic bottle, half full of something blue (shampoo? mouthwash?): sodden paper: a splash of red cloth, bright as spilt paint. The others will have been out all night scavenging for what’s left of the boat’s crew.
One last glimpse of golden fur and I turn back, walking fast, forcing myself not to run, not wanting to draw their attention. I sink my hands deep in my pockets, feel the bag I’d brought along to collect Jesse’s morning mess – a hangover of more civilised times.
Stumbling over a silver belt buckle, a boot with no laces, I hear Jesse bark, growl, yelp.
Poor Jesse. I bite my lip hard, blink away salt water.
I determine to find more coffee.
Not sure if it’s the hunched, hooded figure in the foreground that turned my thoughts to the dark side, or just the fact that I’m a miserabilist. What do you think of when you see this picture? Is it more cheerful than the way my tale went?
As the Valentine’s Day rush of roses and desperate paramours is upon me, I find myself absent from the screen for a few days. So here’s a tale I penned a year ago.
Apologies to all who comment in the meantime – I shall reply once the madness is over.