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Walker: The Beach
A light breeze brushed against his face, and it reminded him where he was. The gulls squawking above him, the expanded ocean washing against the beach, it was all too familiar.
“I’m home” thought the man while gazing out towards the blue abyss sprawled out in front of him. He continued walking, stopping only just then to pass his reverence of the beach. His sandals began to sink slightly into the heated sand, another breeze passed, igniting memories of the beach from years before. As he reached the northern edge of the beach, he came upon a large man-made walkway jutting out of the sand. It’s wood was dark and damp by the sea breeze and saltwater tides.
The bottom most supports had a thick green coating around them, algae and grime had collected there over the decades, leaving nothing but a paste. The man cringed at the thought as he moved up the stairs to the large walkway. On it were hundreds of shops, selling t-shirts, posters, food of all kinds, carnival style games were most prevalent however.
The boards were silent this day however, counter to the norm, it was Mid-November after all, tourist season had ended months ago. Some buildings remained open though, one in particular was the Motel, the vacancy sign lit up outside it’s door’s. The man remembered the Motel packed full on his earlier escapades to these boards.
As he approached the building a man was in the midst of leaving, holding a set of keys in his hands. He locked the door behind him and flipped a sign entitled ‘Be Back In Five’. He turned, smiling when he noticed the figure, he started to walk over, a hand shot out in front of him.
“Walker! D*** good to see you son!” Walker extended his own hand to meet the man’s, they shook and Walker answered back quietly.
“Alex, how long’s it been? Sixteen months?” Alex raised an eyebrow, impressed with Walker’s memory.
“Must be, last time you were here it was early summer. So what brings you back?” Walker looked back out to the ocean, his expression dulled.
“On my way to Boston, thought I’d make a detour.”
“And here I thought you came just to say hello.”
“Circumstances being what they are, I’d say it worked out beautifully.” Alex’s face saddened a bit before answering.
“Yeah, well you missed summer, not all that good if you ask me.”
“Never liked summer anyhow, too much humidity, sweat and bugs. I like winter much more, better conditions.”
“Yeah except for the snow. But then again that old backpack probably has enough preparations don’t it?”
“Indeed,” Walker looked towards the sun’s placement then back to Alex “must be going, have headline to meet. Goodbye Alex.” He shook Alex’s hand once more before setting off. Alex Himself started walking to his car, a young man stood next to it, waiting.
“Who was that?” Asked the young man.
“Hm? Oh, that’s just Walker.”
“Oh I don’t know his real name, Walker’s his nickname.”
“Cause he walks everywhere,” The young man shook his head.
“That’s a stupid nickname for someone, And why does he walk everywhere?”
“Heh, good question.”
“Doesn’t he have any money?”
“Of course, I just think he enjoys it is all. Ask him yourself if you‘re so d*** interested.”
“I might do that Al.” They both entered the car, the heat went on shortly afterward.
“Where’s he goanna be?”
“He goes near the marshland, builds camp out near there.”
“Is he dangerous?” Alex chuckled at the query.
“No, no, he’s not dangerous at all.”
“Is that sarcasm?”
“No just a silly question, he wouldn’t hurt a fly, and the guy’s a vegetarian.”
“Hitler was a Vegetarian too you know.” Alex laughed aloud, for a moment a glint of sunlight hit the windshield, causing a glare into the driver’s seat. The sun had started to fall now, the sky, an array of pinks and yellows. The sight of such brought a tear to Alex’s eye, he turned to the young man.
“Hitler, was Hitler.”
Walker stayed near a reasonably dry spot for the night, as he woke, his provisions had been unpacked neatly the night before. His wallet, full of unused hundred dollar bills, a small bag, full of clothes meant to be washed or for emergencies. A first aid kit, as well as a compass, these were all he needed. He leaned forward out of his homemade shelter made of leaves and self made twine holding it to some branches from a nearby tree. The sun was low now on the eastern side, it was early, around nine-ish. He began to gather the materials deemed ‘Important’ and started making plans in his head.
He had planned on following the rivers north until he met a large bridge, but dark clouds forming above clued him in to take ‘The road less traveled’. He judged a delay of 2.7 days until he met his personal checkpoint in ‘Club’ his nickname for a small town in northern Jersey, the town was normally quiet, small town America at it’s best. Except for the night club stationed in the middle of town, the sounds from which attracted young twenty something’s for miles around.
He judged that traffic patterns from the coming rain would leave the area near the river loud and thick with smog. He choose a more ‘wild’ approach, the heavy trees would protect against the rain, as well as give him supplies for future days.
A soft rustling came from the bushes behind Walker, he turned, expecting wildlife. Instead a young man appeared, he tripped clumsily over a root in the soft ground. He caught himself on the tree trunk nearby, looking up at Walker, was like looking at a ghost. Walker neither moved, nor flinched, nor acknowledged the young man at all, until he spoke.
“A-are you Walker?”
“I am.” A long silence went on between the two, Walker kept packing his supplies into his pack. The young man dusted himself off, looking to Walker again, he spoke.
“What’s your name?”
“No, your real name.”
“MR. Walker?” The young man looked hopelessly at the man.
“Don’t you have a real name?”
“Only the one my parents gave me, but that one doesn’t mean much anymore.”
“They died when I was young, real young. Gave me all their money, so I took off.”
“You, just walked off?”
“Sir, that ain’t a good story.”
“Life rarely is. And, that‘s why I walk. To create something for myself. I call no man master, no god do I see. Only men of all kinds, equal and fair.” Walker started strolling away, the young man went after him, chasing him.
“Wait! Where do you go?”
“Wherever my feet take me.”
“Didn’t you go to school?”
“Then why are you so smart?”
“Same way people having been getting ‘smart’ for centuries,” The boy stopped, but Walker kept on going, when he was far the young man could’ve sworn he’d said something, something faint.
The man could’ve sworn he heard ‘experience’.