Short story for Short Shots contest
The sand was cold and wet beneath her feet as Sarah walked along the beach. She turned to look at the lonely footprints she had left behind and wondered if hers would be the only ones to make an impression before the sea swept them away.
The waves crashed, one after the other, never ceasing.
Twelve-year-old Sarah was staying at a quaint seaside town where her family always spent the Summer.
Only this time, being winter things looked so different from her previous visits. Now, devoid of the summer crowds, only the locals inhabited the picturesque streets.
Her parent’s divorce had turned Sarah’s world upside down these last six months. Things had moved rapidly after her mother’s discovery of her husband’s affair.
Her father told Sarah he still loved her even though he’d moved in with his new lover. The woman had two children and now her Dad would be living with them while Sarah and her mother moved to this place. Perhaps her mother had been seeking to derive comfort from somewhere with happy memories.
They’d found a cottage to rent near the beach where sounds of the ocean were audible from Sarah’s bedroom.
“Why don’t you see if you can find some treasure on the beach?” her mother suggested after Sarah complained of boredom.
Her mother didn’t seem to care she’d been dragged away from all her friends to a place where she knew no one, and a new school started on Monday. She was dreading it.
Elizabeth sat writing at her laptop and Sarah knew she was in her way. She left the house slamming the door.
“Treasure! Does she think I’m five years old?”
The winter storms covered the sand in seaweed, it smelt of dead fish and scratched her bare feet as she walked head down, muttering to herself.
“I hate it here, no one cares what they’ve done!” She cried.
The wind took her words out to sea, lost amid the screeching of seagulls searching for fish amongst the waves.
Breaking into a run across the wet sand, tears of self pity poured down her face, she fell to her knees and sobbed on the lonely beach for some time, her jeans soaking wet.
Looking up at last, thinking she might as well go home, she spotted a small boat, past the breakers.
There was only one occupant, waves were washing over the small craft.
Sarah watched, the sea looked angry and black and it surprised her to see anyone out there on such a stormy day.
To her horror a large wave swamped the small dingy. As she watched, the wave tossed the man into the rough sea, he struggled to stay afloat.
She ran towards home to sound the alarm, but passing the Surf Rescue building, Sarah tried there first, hoping someone may be about.
“Help, help!” She called, pulling at the door of the shed.
The rescue committee were in a meeting when the young girl burst through the double doors.
Unable to catch her breath she tried to tell them what she’d seen. The men jumped up and ran down to the beach. One had a pair of binoculars through which he scanned the rough sea for what seemed an age before shouting, “There he is, I see him,” he issued orders to the younger members who paddled out on their surfboards through the breakers to reach the distressed fisherman. They grasped him by his jacket and hauled him onto a surfboard, towing it to shore.
Sarah stood in awe, transfixed as the rescue took place.
She noticed the rescued man was elderly; he reminded her of her grandfather who now lived so far away. Sarah and her Grandad used to spend lots of time together and once more she felt the loss of everything and everyone she loved.
The man lay on the sand gasping for breath thanking his rescuers over again.
“Don’t thank us mate, if it wasn’t for this brave young lady, you’d have been a gonner.”
A lifesaver placed his arm around her shoulders. “I reckon with those sharp eyes and quick reactions, she’ll be joining our young lifesavers.”
Sarah smiled at the compliment.
Standing on the beach they watched as they towed the small craft to shore and she saw the name roughly hand painted on the side of the boat. It read ‘Treasure.’
She left the scene and went to tell her Mum that she had found treasure today.