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The Beach

The beach was within reach. At last.

At first we ran. Then we walked. Some of us crawled. Some had stopped: too tired, too weak, injured. Infected.

We few stumbled onto the wet sand, our feet sinking deep and wet into its cloying embrace. We hadn’t heard the beasts for days. Not since Adam, the guy with the two kids had fallen behind one evening. We did start to go back for him, but by the time we realised he hadn’t made it out of the woods… Well. The howls started up, hoots and screams carried by the wind. And in them all that hatred, all that vicious, incomprehensible envy for the blood in our veins.

We didn’t go back for him. Or his children. We just kept going. Over the hills and far away. To the beach. Where else was there to go? That’s where it ends. We have could have gone inland, to the heart of them. We’d have been surrounded; consumed. Here we could see freedom. The waves thundered with hope. None of us noticed the tide was coming in, that the waves were against us, keeping us there.

They let us touch the water at least. They gave us that. But no mercy. The beasts rose out of the sand, it fell away from them as they stretched, soaked, waiting for us. I can’t imagine how long they must have been there. How patient hatred can be.

I was lucky. They fell upon us, tooth and claw ripping and clutching at men and women. Blood spattered the sand, tears fell like rain. I fell backwards into the sea. Arms reached up, closed around me and bore me down under the waves.

I drowned, but everyone else was torn apart.

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