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by Mary Ann Bernal
Massive waves broke upon the deserted beach, the pounding surf crashing against the jagged rocks beneath the massive cliff that dominated the landscape. Soft silver moonlight illuminated the darkened night, and a gentle sea breeze moved inland, cooling the stagnant air.
Rina stood at the water’s edge, devoid of emotion as she stared at faint flashes of lightning on the horizon, while glimmering frothy waves caressed her bare feet and a sea mist sprayed her face, its salty taste lingering on her lips. A strong wind whipped her tattered clothing around her slender body, her shoulder-length hair lashing her tear-stained cheeks while droplets of blood fell upon the wet sand.
Rina shivered when the cold water covered her feet as she walked slowly into the beckoning sea. She heard the soundless words whispered by wind-swept waves, calling to her, offering an end to her torment and the agonizing pain of his betrayal, offering her unabated solace within the confines of the deep and dark ocean. She kept her arms around her waist, moving ever so slowly through the multiple breakers while a forceful undercurrent threatened to pull her under, plunging her into a welcoming abyss of oblivion.
Rina stretched out her arms in supplication, and closed her tear-filled eyes just as a collapsing wave enveloped her, causing her to sink into the murky depths of an angry sea, water filling her lungs as she courageously embraced death.
Threatening storm clouds ruptured suddenly over the landscape, icy rain pellets stinging the shoreline while forceful winds whipped the threatening surf. Ribbon lightning streaked across the heavens and booming thunder rocked the earth as Adrian galloped across the treacherous beach, silently praying that he would be in time. He shouted her name but his words were muffled by the thunderous roar of nature’s fury as the tempest unleashed its vengeance upon a Godless world. Blinding rain limited his vision as he searched the raging sea, hoping against hope that she had not been foolish, but as he rapidly approached the base of the cliff, and Rina was nowhere to be seen, Adrian feared he was too late.
The chestnut stallion neighed and stood on its hind legs when a bolt of lightning struck the beach, throwing Adrian onto the muddy sand before running aimlessly back towards the nearby trees. Adrian was grateful that his only injury was a bruised ego as he got to his feet and headed towards the rolling waves, searching the rough waters while praying for a miracle.
Adrian walked the length of the beach, thankful for the lightning that illuminated the darkened night. He stumbled on driftwood that had washed up onto the shore, falling to his knees as foaming waves pooled around him, swirling bubbles spitting remnants of the ocean floor. The undercurrent was strong as the waves returned to the sea, pulling him forward as he tried to get to his feet, powerful wind gusts pushing him into a breaking wave. He held his breath as he tumbled under the rushing water, kicking and flailing frantically to reach the surface. He felt the weight of her body just as he opened his eyes, scooping her into his arms before a massive wave tossed the two of them onto the beach. Adrian pulled her away from the threatening surf, dragging her body through the muddy ground, not giving in to his exhausted state until he reached the shoreline.
Adrian brushed aside her matted hair and gazed into her lifeless eyes, gently kissing her lips as tears intermingled with droplets of rain gushed down his cheeks. He held her in his arms, rocking back and forth to the tune of the angry wind, protecting her in death while admonishing himself for failing to protect her in life.