There was fog. It rolled in from the sea and clung to the land, and crept in thick smoky tendrils down throats. The waves broke sounding far away and buried underground. The fog did that. It took the sounds and buried them, distorted them and never released them. She could feel the sand under her feet, cold, gritty and damp. The air should smell of the sea, but the only the wet scent of the mist filled her nose.
She squatted on the sand. Tucking her feet under her bottom wrapping her arms round her thighs she rested her chin on her knees. Her raincoat creaked as she moved the shiny plastic slick with water. There was only a light wind and she shifted her weight on her toes, feeling the sand trickle around her feet. The wind blew her hat off. The floppy felt tumbling to the sand behind her becoming a dark patch in the endless gray.
With the hat gone her hair tumbled down her back, thin, straight hair that hung past her waist. It brushed the sand as she slipped her feet out and sat on the ground. She stretched her legs in front of her and watched the fog.
There were voices in the fog, whispered snatches of conversations that carried strangely in the liquid air. Soft wispy sounds tickled her ears. The fog carried distant shouts and slammed doors. And screams like the ceaseless cries of peacocks slithered on each pewter tumble of mist.
She still carried the candle though it had long blow out. She pulled it from the pocket of her raincoat. The sun was rising, or maybe it had already risen. The sky was tinged with pulsing red smudges at her back. Before her, somewhere, stretched the sea in endless velvet expanse of darkness. She shoved the candle in the sand and lit it. The flame was feeble climbing slowly from the white column of wax.
She leaned back resting with her arms on the sand. The sand grated against the raincoat making a chorus of a million tiny grating scratches. The voices drifted on the fog rising and falling around her like the waves she could not see. Tilting her head back and arching her neck she watched the shifting red glares in the fog. The candle sputtered and flickered but remained lit.
She rose from the sand and it ran in skittering, chittering rivers over the plastic jacket. Leaving the candle, she walked into the fog toward the water. Her boots were somewhere at the start of the beach and the water was cold as it brushed her toes. She let the jacket slide from her shoulders and land in the sucking wet sand. The water swirled around her ankles. The air touched her bare skin and she smiled.
She knelt in the water feeling the chill bite her flesh. The sand chewed at her knees as she splashed handfuls of water of her body. Her dress soaked, cold and clinging to her skin. Here she could smell the sting of the sea, while the salt burned her eyes and the water numbed her fingers. She tugged the dress from her body, letting the sea take it. The sky lightened before her, a thin sweep of silver cutting through the fog. With dripping hair she pulled the coat on. It stuck to her wet body, melded to her hips. Turning from the water the fog still stretched before her. The candle still guttered, a warm eye in the mist. The red lights were gone now or just faded into the fog. She listened, but the voices, like the lights were gone.
She left the sea. The fog left the beach with her. The sand clung to her wet feet and legs. The candle disappeared behind her, burned out. The fog enveloped her and the beach turned to grass under her feet. She walked one way than back again searching for her boots. The fog was fading from the sea, the silver glow growing brighter. She tripped over them stubbing her toe against the hard leather. She pulled them on and the sand stuck to her feet left a million tiny cuts in skin, and million tiny drops of blood that filled her boots. The sun glittered on the water and she disappeared into the tattered remnants of the fog.