One Foot On Sea and One Foot On Shore
By Jeff Baker
I’d been walking along the beach for quite a while, since before the sun set. I’d seen the Atlantic, but I’d taken it for granted. The Pacific was somehow different. It seemed vast, endless. More blue. I almost imagined that the Pacific had swallowed the sun.
I stopped and gazed out over the ocean at the darkness. Buildings on a section of beach, looking like they were growing out of the water, lighted windows glimmering in the dark. And a shape under the water slowly moving towards the shore.
The shape began to emerge from the water; a man, wearing a jacket with no tie. He stopped, waist-high in the water. His eyes were shining like the windows. He was smiling, his teeth glimmering.
“The water is warm,” the man said. “It holds pleasures the land cannot offer.”
I backed up a step, the man stood there and spread his arms, spread them in an almost mechanical way.
“You are tired. You have travelled a long way. And you are not yet done with your journey. Here, take a rest,” the man said.
“Uh, yeah. I’ve been traveling across the country,” I said. “I’m Bryce Going. I wanted to see the ocean.” And I’d wanted to avoid being put in a boy’s home or something when both my parents split a year or so ago. I was glad I looked older than I was. I gave the man the once over. He was nice looking, about thirty years old I guessed. His eyes seemed deep, like they could open wide and swallow the world. His voice was soft, but it filled my ears.
“I am a Sea-Dweller,” the man said. “There are many of us. It is a whole world in here, a world you cannot comprehend. A world of beauty and ancient wisdom. You will swim forever…”
I shook my head to clear it. I had started walking towards the water’s edge; I was right next to the water. I stared at the man; he had just emerged from the water and he wasn’t even wet.
I turned and ran. I ran across an asphalt parking lot, barely stopped to check the street for cars and found myself falling against the corner of a brick building maybe a quarter of a mile away. I clung on for dear life, breathing heavily, trying to get the man’s soft voice out of my head. It had been more than his just being a handsome male. I kept remembering something I’d read in school. Greek Mythology. The sirens were sea-beings whose voices could drive men into the sea. Whatever sirens really were, they doubtless had many forms. Like the man, the Sea-Dweller who probably couldn’t leave the water. He wanted me to go into the water. I shuddered again. I looked down; my shoes were wet.
I shook my head again, and started walking back into town. I’d find someplace to grab something to eat and then I’d go someplace else, far away from this beach anyway.
I did not look back at the dark ocean.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This continues the series that began in early 2018 with “The Flight Into Egypt.” To my amazement, I now have seven stories in this series done.