A Day Remembered

There’s a difference between day and night, obviously, but is life or death anything like that? It is for me. July 13, 2006, a day remembered, was the day everything changed.

A relaxing day at the beach is what my friends and I intended. Since 11:00 in the morning, we have settled into the spot where the sun always hit throughout the day. I brought lots of sunscreen which I lathered onto my stomach, shoulders, nose, and anywhere else that needs protection from harmful rays of light. My halter bikini was blue, white, and aqua tie-dye with bows on the side of the bottoms. A red-and-white checkered tablecloth was laid out on the rotten picnic table near the bathrooms, so I set the basket on the table. Come lunchtime, we practically inhaled the peanut butter sandwiches and topped off the meal with some sour cream and onion chips. We lay on our matching hot pink beach towels for at least an hour to digest our food. I wasn’t really paying attention to the conversations going on. I had an odd feeling I was being watched; strangely, this was a feeling I could not shake away. I occasionally tuned in though.

“…and her shoes did not match her…”

“…I felt bad though, she had…”

“…they brought her balloons…”

“Do you think she’s okay?”

“Yeah, I’m okay,” I said (I knew they were looking at me this time),”I want to go swimming, anyone coming?”

“Sure,” Nicole insisted.

So we went swimming in the calm, warm water. The others joined in soon enough. We all played water volleyball, Frisbee, Marco Polo, and other games. We didn’t spend the whole day in the water though, we had snacks, read magazines, tanned, and talked some more. Well, my friends did. I wasn’t hungry, didn’t want to see the latest celebrity styles, turn myself as red as the ripest strawberry, or hear the most embarrassing gossip.
Everyone suddenly had to pee except for me so I stayed and watched the stuff. The beach became stranded for a few minutes because we were the only ones there, or so they thought.
I heard a clicking noise behind me, like the faintest sound of a camera taking pictures. I quickly spun around to see where the noise was coming from. Nothing in sight. Something weird was going on. I wanted to leave but I couldn’t. The world became cold even though the sun still rose high enough in the sky to warm the beach. I was momentarily frozen in time. Claire abruptly tapped on my shoulder and asked what I was looked at. I couldn’t think, I didn’t even reply. I would have sounded crazy if I had, so I was lucky Nicole and the others reappeared.
For the rest of the day, we sat and waited for the sunset. The weather was perfect for a clear and beautiful sunset. The beach again went silent while the sky changed from the bluest blue to the most perfect array of red, orange, yellow, pink, and finally purple…
*BANG!*

It was a short and painful sound. The shiny silver bullet split the air as it whirled out of the gun. My gut was true. I was being watched. With no time to move, the bullet hit my ear. The pain shocked me but I could still hear the screams of my friends and their footsteps dart in every direction. I pivoted around to see the man, with a camera around his neck, standing behind a picnic table. My ear was bleeding, but only slightly because the cartilage was hit, not the base of my ear. He aimed, and I faced the direction of where the miraculous sunset occurred.
*BANG!*

“NOBODY MOVE!” The voice echoed in my head. The subdued mimic of the man’s voice was all that I heard. Then the bullet rammed into my spine. I could not face him again to see who he really was. In fact, I could not do anything. I lay down on my towel paralyzed, and that was the last thing I remembered.
~ ~ ~

I awoke to find my self back where I was at 11:00 on July 13, 2006, the beach. I did what any sensible person who remembered what they just encountered (or maybe imagined encountering). I ran. I ran and didn’t ever revisit that beach.





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