The tide is going out, and I push hard against it to get to shore. It’s a slow process. I’m about twenty yards out when the sand heaves under my feet. There’s no sign of Storm or his kayak. A wave slaps me from behind and knocks me into the water. Until now, the sea has been calm, with just small ripples moving with the tide. What’s happening?
Another wave hits, and another follows, each one higher than the last. I struggle to my feet and shove one foot in front of the other, straining to reach the beach faster. It isn’t helping. The force of the water vacuums the sand out from under me and pulls at my legs. A wave slams me from behind, sweeping me into the water. I flatten out and wait for the next one. I’ve surfed much higher waves in the Pacific Ocean. Instead of picking me up and taking me closer to shore, this one breaks over me and tumbles me like a load of laundry. This close to shore, the movement is unpredictable and violent. I’m a strong swimmer, but I’m no match for this.
“Sky!” His voice is faint through water that tosses and scrapes me along the sandy bottom. I have no control of my limbs and can barely hang on to my breath. Terror, not mine, washes over me as a hand grips my arm and pulls me up. I cough violently, and his arm wraps around my shoulders. Relief and warmth pour from him. His wall is down, and all I can think about is getting out of the maelstrom.
“Hold on. Here’s another one.” He pulls me to his chest and we both go down. Underwater, a low moan grows louder by the second.
When the wave recedes, we’re still hanging on to each other. The moaning sound fills the air, and I’m grateful it isn’t coming from him. We get to our feet and before I can scramble to shore, my feet lift out of the water and I realize he’s floating us to safety. This time we make it and collapse on the sand, out of reach of the surf.
The sound comes from the ocean, and a sudden powerful jolt of intense grief washes over me. Pain slams my heart and rips the breath from my aching lungs. My throat closes and I can barely breathe. I curl up and wail, and don’t hear Storm’s voice battering at the gripping sorrow.
“What is it? What’s wrong?”
The sound recedes, along with the anguish, and his face drains of color; eyes fearful and pleading. He gathers me in his arms, his body trembling.
“Speak to me, Sky. What’s happening?”
Still wracked with sobs, I turn away and see a dark shape just beyond the lagoon, where the reef ends, and deep ocean begins. A breaching whale. I wait for the telltale blow, but nothing happens.
“Is that a whale? Do whales sound like that?” I point to it and he stands up to get a better view.
The hump turns into two, and then three, each one following the other. Finally, a long tail flips out of the water, as if one of the whales is about to dive, but there’s no fluke on the end. The giant tail is forked. It disappears and the lagoon is once again still.
“That wasn’t a whale,” he says, still shaking. My emotions have settled, and I send a blast of calmness to him.
“I gathered that by the forked tail. What do you think those humps were? And that sound? Seriously, I’ve never felt anything like that. It was unbearable.”
He turns to me gravely. “It reminds me of the Loch Ness monster. I wonder if the locals know anything about this.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish