Massacre on Ranton Beach

Well, it will make a difference from the four weeks and still no rain type headings screaming out at me from every newspaper stand I pass.

And the bare facts will no doubt be followed by a detailed description of events so far known. I wonder how the papers will describe it: tragic, inevitable, gory? As to what they will say about the victims, I can’t say… I don’t know myself yet, and won’t know for at least another hour. Doubtless, they’ll all have a go at explaining what made me do it. Experts will pronounce on my state of mind without even knowing what’s in it.

Yet in a way, these headlines come closer to explaining than any of the experts psychobabble. You see, we met here. In those days, there was little likelihood of four weeks sunshine. Myself, I’d waited two days before heading to the beach, but Sam had never been one for procrastinating. That very first evening she’d stretched herself out to soak in those mercurial rays. We met within the hour of my arrival. Three days of bliss followed. She was back the following weekend and our relationship was sealed with a promise: “No, I’ll never leave you.”

Yet, she couldn’t keep that promise, not once the cancer set in. She struggled but the sun had already wreaked its havoc on her once so velvet-smooth skin.

That’s why I come back here: to mourn. But to mourn you have to remember and remember was the one thing I couldn’t do – not with these crowds. I’d see her face everywhere but each time a different face: blankness, confusion. They won’t let me remember. They’d have to go.

And go, they will. As the rains hadn’t come to scatter them, then tomorrow’s headline would. And I would have all the solitude I need to remember.

That’s why I’m here today, winding my way between the laughing groups in search of my prey. Can you see me? Then, get out of the way for your own sake. But you can’t, can you? Oh sure, you can see an elderly, grey-haired man picking his way through the mass of bodies. What you can’t see is the real me, the perpetrator of tomorrow’s shocking headline.

I hear a laugh. My eyes focus in on a familiar scene. So that will be the headline. “Mother and toddler massacred on Ranton beach.”

My hand slips into the pocket of my jacket and my fingers close around the cold metal. I try to repress a smile as I move into range. Just then, a cloud comes over the mother’s face. Her smile disappears briefly. She mouths “No” to her daughter.

Yes, it’s Sam, my Sam just as I remember her all those years ago when she gave me her “no”. I remember, I can mourn. No need for a massacre now. But the newspaper editor will have to come up with another new and interesting way of saying it had been four weeks and one day and still the rains hadn’t come.

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About Welshman Paul

Welshman Paul loves playing around with words. One of his ambitions is to attempt a dictionary of short stories for words which have several meanings.
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5 Responses to Massacre on Ranton Beach

  1. This is what I came up with in answer to the Write Now prompt on the Today’s Author website. I played the what “if game” with the prompt and came up with this. I’m not sure I like where it took me, but I went there anyway. Hope you find it interesting.

  2. indytony says:

    I’m not sure I understand the ending. Maybe you meant it to be intentionally obscure. Was the woman with the child merely an image of his lost love that allowed him to start grieving? I’m curious.

    • No, the ending wasn’t intentionally obscure. Thanks for pointing out this weakness. Indeed, he just saw in the woman his lost love and was then able to start grieving.

      • indytony says:

        The obscurity might be due as much to my tiredness late at night as your writing. I was still able to catch your drift. Maybe a brief re-write would polish it up even more, though.

  3. vanillabean says:

    oh how desperately sad. and disturbing. nicely done.

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