Chapter Three

The whole way to the beach, I asked my mom questions. Millions of questions, enough that I can't even remember the first question I asked.

Okay, that's a lie.

As soon as my home was out of sight, I began drilling my mother with questions, the first one being, in my mind, the most important. Why? Why had when we left, dad looked liked you'd slapped him? Why did Maddy think we were leaving them? Am I the only one that's confused? What are you keeping a secret from me?

After the very long hour and a half drive, we saw the shoreline of the beach.

When we came to the beach, I always felt… I don't know how to describe it. Calm? Relaxed? Comforted? It was more like… a familiar feeling. I can't explain it; I just always have this feeling of coming home after a long trip. When we left the beach, the whole feeling would disappear, as if I had left on another long trip, which is weird, because after we left the beach we always went straight home.

I shook my head, trying to focus on anything, anything except the way my father's face had held on to his expression of horror, chasing our car until he couldn't run anymore. The way my sister assumed we were leaving the family. How she begged me not to forget her. I couldn't think of anything else.

Suddenly the smell of salt water slammed me in the face; it was a familiar smell, a welcoming smell. I'd missed it.

My mother said something about finding a dressing room, and I nodded absentmindedly. I heard the car door open and then slam shut.

I took a minute to stare at the shoreline, realizing that my life didn't make much sense. It had never appealed to me to go to freshwater lakes; I'd always rather go to the ocean. I've always been able to hold my breath longer than anyone on the varsity swim team, and I was only in eighth grade. Strong currents never seemed to bother me, even though they swept everyone else away. I had never liked the smell of gasoline or oil; it made me queasy. I'd never felt comfortable on the ground; I needed to be in the water to be able to feel calm. I realized every time a hurricane was found on the weather trackers, I was very angry at the time. The angrier I was, the higher the hurricane went on the scale.

I couldn't make sense of it, but I knew these things made me different. I turned around to grab the bag that had my bathing suit in it, fishing it out of the bag once I'd found it. My bathing suit was a blue/green one piece that was my favorite. I could hide under the water in it, plus the color matched my eyes. I slipped a ponytail holder off my wrist and pulled my hair into a side ponytail, loose and messy.

Suddenly I heard a sound that made my heart stop, whether in fear and anticipation or in the fact that I knew it couldn't be real I wasn't sure. The sound was the familiar sound of a laugh, a boy's laugh, that's been haunting me in my dreams for months, ever since my 14th birthday. Someone knocked on the passenger side door and I jumped from my frozen position to look out my window, but there was nothing there. Creepy.

I opened the passenger side door to get out and heard a soft thud. I looked down to see what it was. As I looked down in shock, I heard the laugh haunting me again. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I couldn't process what my eyes were telling my brain.

The object on the ground was a small flashlight.

Sorry, I lied, this chapter didn't explain anything at all, and it probably just made it more confusing! Love it? Hate it? Think I should junk it? Tell me; I love getting reviews, even if they're 'constructive criticism!'