The beach parking lot was jammed with cars. Outside their blue rental, Samantha stretched her stiff limbs while Jeff rummaged in the back seat for snacks and towels. A tow truck clanked its chains and ground its gears in the midst of hauling away one of several abandoned vehicles, the windshields dusted with a week’s worth of windblown sand.
According to the glossy pamphlet, the rocky headlands and clustered islands sheltered turquoise waves, and the soft sand welcomed blankets and picnics. All inviting. But after days of battling crowds of tourists, the feature that most appealed to Sam was the promised solitude. Unfortunately, Tranquil Cove didn’t look like it would live up to its reputation.
She sighed and read the sign pounded into the sand at the lot’s edge. Someone had hand-scrawled a sloppy “g” on the otherwise formal warning. “Beware of the grocks. No swimming.” She glanced at her new husband. “What are grocks?”
Jeff smirked and started up the dunes through the quivering beachgrass. “Come on.”
She climbed after him, willing to make the best of it, her toes sinking into the path’s velvet sand. The sound of a gigantic belch reached her ears, and she groaned at the prospect of a mob of drunken rugby players. But when they crested the dunes, an empty beach lay before them. “I can’t believe no one is here.”
“Someone was. Look at all the blankets and towels.”
“And footprints. Where is everyone?”
“Probably exploring the grocks.” He chuckled and headed across the sand to a sweet spot out of the breeze.
Sam helped him spread out their towels. They chowed on granola bars and shared a beer. The beach remained delightfully theirs, and as the sun peeked through the midday clouds, she napped in the rising heat.
Jeff nudged her awake. “Let’s go for a swim. I need to cool off.”
“The sign said ‘no swimming?’”
“Because of dangerous grocks.” He pulled her to her feet. “The sea’s calm, and I can see the bottom. Not a grock in sight.”
She gave in without argument. The water was refreshing, and other than a few rounded rocks, the bottom descended in a gentle slant. She wiped water from her eyes and drifted toward him, pulling herself along the shallow bottom with her hands. He sat on one of the submerged rocks near the shore, staring down at the water.
“What are you looking at?” she asked.
He leaned over for a kiss and then resumed his study. “There are bubbles coming from under this rock. What would cause that?”
She sat next to him. Sure enough, tiny air bubbles leaked up around their hard seat. “I have no idea. Some kind of mollusk?”
Eric and Penny unloaded their car in the packed parking lot as a tow truck hauled away a sand-strewn blue rental car. A huge belch split the air and Penny laughed. “You didn’t tell me your brother was here.”
“Ha ha ha.” Eric rolled his eyes. “This place isn’t supposed to be crowded.”
Penny glanced up from reading a sign. “Hey, what’s a grock?”
I’m still on hiatus, but figured I’d post something. And what better than a little story based on Sue Vincent’s Thursday #Writephoto prompt?
I’ll be visiting the blogosphere more often and should be back into a routine by mid-August. I miss you! But I’ve been reading between all the busyness, and that’s been wonderfully relaxing.
My parents are doing a little better after 8 months of health issues. Unfortunately, in a couple of weeks, I have to move them a second time. Their new housing will be more suited to their needs, and we’re all eager to get this last change in place.