Trying to play with being really descriptive, without going overboard. Did I succeed?

The Beach
By Cordria

The water in the bay glittered in the smoldering sunset. Small clouds, stained red and purple, chased each other across the darkening sky. Rocks jutted from the shore, their sharp edges broken only by a small stretch of beach. Tiny waves curled and lapped at glistening pebbles and polished toes not quite brave enough to dip themselves into the icy liquid.

She crouched, hiking up the dirty skirt of her white gown, and trailed her fingertips over the tops of the small waves. A baby leaf, still spring green and far too young to be without its tree, was caught in a wash of water and swirled closer to shore. She leaned over and picked it up, twirling it between delicately painted fingers.

A wisp of feathery gauze brushed at her face and she tucked it behind her ear. Eyes slipped from the supple leaf to the glowing remains of the dying sun. A deep, slow breath crept from her lips, long since licked clean of their brilliant color.

A marriage that started on a beach, perhaps one like this one… that had been her dream. Not the loud, gaudy confection that had happened two months previously, brimming with strange faces, false well wishes, and that horse and carriage contraption her parents had insisted upon.

There they had been, though. Ray had laughed through the planning of it, telling her it really didn't matter in the long run. She should just let her parents go overboard – it certainly wasn't hurting her, was it? They could always run away and get married again, on a beach, where society wasn't there to tell them the proper way of things.

Tears prickled at her eyes and she stood abruptly, her fingers tightening around the small leaf. The forgotten hem of her dress fell, the lace dabbling in places her feet had not dared to tread. "Ray," she whispered.

A dove answered, it's voice mournful and lonely in the crisp air, loud against the gentle sound of the waves and the murmur of the wind in the pine trees. Short rays of light cascaded through the sky to touch her face and she spread her arms, letting the leaf fall from her hand. Her head fell backwards, her eyes closing, refusing to look at the stars appearing in the cavernous sky.

Was he up there? Was he waking up and gazing down at her and wondering if she was all right? Was he worrying about her, standing on this beach in such a strange ensemble?

He loved the stars almost as much as he loved her. He told stories of how the constellations came to be, what kind of creatures might exist around each star, and how he'd find a new one, someday, and name it Carolina.

She didn't open her eyes, refusing to look up at the sparkling heavens, that endless reminder of what might have been. Her heart tightened and her stomach knotted and her teeth ached with the memories of their future together.

A corner of her dress was used to dab at salty trails on her cheeks, leaving small smears of charcoal on the snowy silk, barely noticeable amongst the speckles and pools of brownish red. "Would you dance with me, Ray?" she whispered, holding out hand and feeling the breeze brush at the hairs on her arms. She imagined it was him, running his fingers along her skin, taking her hand in his.

As the last bits of sunlight turned the sky into diamond-speckled velvet, she curled her arm around his neck, pulled his powerful body close, and twirled. The stars tipped her fawn-colored hair with silver, the wind picked at the veil pinned into the bun in her hair, and the daffodils along the shore bobbed and weaved to the rhythm of the waves. She could see his blue eyes, she could feel his hair brushing at her face, she could smell the dusky body wash he had loved to use.

There was no horse. There was no accident. There was no blood, no bleeding in his brain, no doctor with the pasty-white face, no detached beeping, and certainly no lifeless stone with a name carved in blocky letters under a dying tree.

He was here, he was hers, and she'd have him for as long as she lived. She'd promised before God and before love.

"Carolina," a voice called, making her heart shudder to a stop. No… not now… please!

Ray vanished from her grasp, a sob wrenching itself from her lips. Her eyes stayed firmly shut, her fingers clenching tightly by her sides, fingernails cutting into her palms.

"What are you doing out here again?" her mother scolded, cursing as her ankle turned on the slippery rocks. "And in your wedding dress? Carolina…"

A cold hand touched her shoulder, making her stiffen. Finally she let her eyes drift open, gazing tiredly at her mother. "I don't see why you should care. It's my dress."

"What if someone sees you out here?" Her mother's brown eyes were creased in concern as she slipped off her tailored jacket and slung it over Carolina's shoulders. "What would people say? Come along."

The cold fingers pulled at her arm, dragging her up the beach, stopping only long enough to slip the bloodstained heels onto her feet. Behind them, the cold waves danced with the dark sand and the lost stars called out from the death-colored sky.

Uploaded: July 29, 2010
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