‘Walkers’ is this week’s writephoto prompt, provided as usual by KL Caley at New2Writing.com. This one reminded me strongly of somewhere I’ve been. And the more I looked at it, the more I knew someone in particular would be walking along this beach. My piece didn’t develop how I thought it would, but it leaves an idea of something else for the future. I went for just over 500 words, and here’s the picture:

walkers
a stretch of coastline with a variety of walkers making their way along it. (c) KL Caley

Walkers

We’d been walking east for a couple of days. I could smell it stronger on the air – the briny freshness that means the sea. 

“I reckon we’ll see it today, Nev.” 

Roscoe had said that yesterday, too. 

We moved up a rise and onto different grass. Springy, old. Felt like it had centuries of roots under it.

“Proper turf this,” he said. “Never been dug up like those fields and meadows back inland.”

“Oh!” I stopped. He came up beside me. 

“Oh!” he agreed.

Spread out below us, after a few more yards of grass, and a little track that might be a road, the grass dipped down into a small area of dunes, and then… 

“The beach,” he said.

“The sea,” I replied.

“Aye, you’re right there.” He breathed in, right down to the depths of his belly. 

I shook the hair off my face and turned my nose to the sun. It was making a rare appearance through the gunmetal grey cover of clouds.

“Looks like a grand place for walking,” he commented. “Walkers,” he added, in response to my expression, “down there on the beach.”

He was right. Several figures strolled along the firm sand at the water’s edge, wrapped up warm. I wondered what they did when it was cold.

“Any dogs?”

“Aye, one to each pair of people, I reckon, although some have kiddies instead.”

“We’d best take care.”

He nodded, glanced at me, and stepped forward. To the beach!

By the time we’d climbed up and down the hummocks of the little dune system, most of the dogs were gone. I don’t mind dogs, on leads, at a distance, but if they bounded towards me, I got scared. Dog people tend to forget that other folk may not be dog people.

Now we paddled in the ripples of the retreating waves. Thank goodness it was calm. I’m not sure I’d be quick enough to run away from a big wave crashing on the shore. I’d seen those somewhere, sometime, long ago.

“Which way now then?” 

He scratched his head. “Well, if we go north, we’ll find our old home, but there’ll be nobody we know there.”

“South then.”

“If we go south, we’ll get to Norfolk in time. But she’s not there any more, so we still won’t know anyone.”

“We’re not going back.”

“No, reckon not.”

“Can we go south anyway? Could we find her if we went far enough?”

“Maybe. Maybe we’ll get all the way to London, like those folks who walked from Jarrow.”

“I don’t know anyone from Jarrow.”

“It’s historical, Nev. Not now. We didn’t know them anyway.”

Sometimes Roscoe loses me with his allusions to the past.

“Have we any idea how to find her?”

We probably walked half a mile to the south, scrambling across several little rivers that ran out onto the sand, getting our feet wet, before Roscoe stopped and looked up.

“I have an idea.”

“What?”

“Just trust me, Nev. Just trust me.”

We walked on. South. Along the coast. It was an adventure.

© J M Pett 2022

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Walkers | #writephoto flash fiction
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