Turning Away.


She is standing on a windswept hill. In front of her, she can see the small coastal town, the skyline dominated by the church steeple. Behind her, she can hear the rolling roar of the ocean. The damp salty wind tangles her hair. The sunlight is golden, it is just before sunset and the sky is clear. There is a man next to her, he is talking and she is listening, or trying to. She finds it hard to pay attention.

"No, I'm sorry." she keeps saying. "I just can't agree with that. I can't."

The man looks at her pityingly. He is older than her, patriarchal of face, dark hair, a beard, glasses. He appeals to her again, voice wheedling. His voice is pulled away by the wind, towards the town. She shakes her head again.

"No." she repeats. "I don't agree with you." He looks resigned, almost sad, but then his expression becomes hard, angry.

"If you're not with us then, you're against us." he says. She feels drowsy, drunk or drugged, and begins to fall. He catches her and carries her in his arms down the hill. She feels alarmed, but cannot act as he moves towards the beach. She notices that her scarlet and black clothes are in tatters. She doesn't remember donning these clothes. He staggers slightly under her weight, on the soft sand, but keeps going down to the waterline.

He drops her there. She lands awkwardly, her body twisted, face half buried in the wet sand. She want to turn to look up at the sky, but cannot. In front of her, she sees two pieces of green glass, rounded by time and the ocean and a pale pink shell. She wants to touch them. She can hear the waves, far away. She knows the tide is out.

The man is still there, she can hear him breathing. The sound comes closer as he bends over, brushes her hair out of her eyes and away from her body. She cannot see him as he bends over and kisses her gently on the back of her neck. A sound escapes her, something between a whimper and a moan.

"Slut." he whispers in her ear, and then she hears nothing but the waves and his retreating footsteps.

Time passes, the sun is setting. She is cold, and the ocean has moved closer, small waves occasionally brush her side. She wants to move, but doubts if she can. With effort, she turns herself over, onto her back, and can now see the sky. Determination, born of anger, fills her. Maybe...she thinks. She steels herself and pulls herself up. The light is fading, and with the darkness, the waves seem to be rushing in. Awkwardly, desperately, she twists herself on all fours and begins to crawl away from the waves, away from the town.