Okay, you can't expect anything too cheery for this blogfest. The idea for my story comes from a haunting event which happened on a beach near where I was spending the day with a friend when I was a teenager. My take on events is purely fictional.
Real Gone Surfer Girl
He reaches gnarled hands into the trunk.
His fingers fumble along one side, then the other.
He feels a rustle of old documents before…
…he finds the precious object.
The photo is sepia-old with edges torn and grungy, crinkled with age.
He holds it in hands that tremble.
He can see a slim figure wearing a beach shift over her swimming costume, casual '60's style. One hand on her hip, the other clutching a blue frisbee.
Her hair is sun-bleached white, glinting, trembling on her shoulders. Her eyes laugh into his.
Her smile breaks out of the photo’s dingy frame and breaks his heart all over again.
He has to resist the urge to kiss the degrading paper.
He holds it close and peers at her with eyes burning, empty.
He whispers to the photo.
Can she hear him – somewhere?
The beach was not far from his Sydney home. He had taken up his usual posse on the hard sand not far from the waves, ready to relax in his banana lounge. He erected the garish beach umbrella he always brought with him, then lay back to enjoy his Sergeanne Golon novel (Angélique in Love.) He had his beat-up box Brownie camera close by, as always.
Towards midday he had slapped on some zinc cream and sipped his creaming soda, feeling content just listening to the breakers and watching the families play their beach games.
She runs by his lounger, kicking sand onto his book. He looks up, annoyed, and yells Hey! She is chasing her frisbee. Someone must have thrown it too far. One of the show-off teenagers she’s hanging with. He hates the sight of them, one especially - the bully - pushing, shoving, yelling. A menace.
She steps prettily into the frothy waves to retrieve her frisbee.
He watches the boys watching her.
He too is fascinated by her beauty. How is it that a girl can grow into such an alluring woman? Her white hair falls in a soft curtain, skimming the playful waves, burnished with the sun. She picks up the frisbee, turns around, sees him watching her, camera poised. She shrugs, poses jauntily, hand on hip, then runs off. She skirts around him this time.
Running like a young fawn, she heads back to join the group. The game resumes. She forgets about him no doubt.
He puts aside his book and watches, an uneasiness creeping over him.
That’s why he notices when it happens.
The bully tries to touch her. She skitters away. No more frisbee with those gauche youngsters.
He watches her walking away, putting distance between herself and the beach crowd.
He watches her bend slightly and disappear under the old jetty.
She wants to be alone.
Don’t go there! he wants to scream out loud. Come back, come back.
He watches until she is out of sight.
He wavers. Undecided.
He begins to move, then stops, feet buried in hot sand.
He watches the spot where she disappeared, willing her to show herself again.
He sees the group of boys follow her. He sees their furtive glances. He sees red.
Then he sees no more.
They have disappeared, so quickly.
He kicks through the burning sand in panicked pursuit.
He can see the boys but not her.
The bully is not with them. The other boys stand sentry-like under the jetty.
His heart shudders.
Full of knowing, he lurches towards the boys. He grabs a pimply youngster by the throat.
Where is she? he snarls.
Don’t be smart, kid, or I’ll deck you one. Now where did she go? Where did your mate go? Are they under there? He points a shaking finger towards the inner darkness.
The boys panic, push him aside, run back to the crowd.
He hears a muffled scream. Out of the darkness. Her.
He bends towards the sound, anguish oozing from every pore.
Her screams get louder. Coming from way under the jetty, where the dunes begin. A place of rotting timbers, trickling water, soggy sand.
He hears a sickening thump. The screams stop.
He dives into the woody cavern.
Thump! Something hits him hard.
He tastes fear, blood and blackness.
‘BRUTAL TEEN MURDER’, the headline screams. ‘Rosita de Rosario, aged 15, violently murdered at Maroubra Beach, Sydney, on Sunday. Naked body found buried under old jetty. Teen witnesses alert police, lead detectives to the body. Estranged father charged with murder.’
For a few minutes more he stares at the photo taken on what was to be a special visitation day with his Rosita.
He places it in his pocket, next to his heart.
He walks up and down the beach, his heart cold, unfeeling, oblivious to the glories of the summer day.
He forces himself to walk to the jetty.
It is unchanged.
Prison does that to you.
Thank God for DNA tests, even if it took so long.
Or he’d still be rotting away.
But those punks got what they deserved in the end.
The murder has never been solved...
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