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part two.


Aura never stood a chance.

Three o’clock in the morning. The beach is empty. It’s at this hour when the true meaning of the name ‘Silver Cove’ comes alive; brightened by pale blue glow of the moon, the clean sand shimmers a mysterious silver-white, fresh as a blanket of new snow. Unusually there are few waves, but no one is around to appreciate the stillness – since the ash cloud, even the most stubborn of loners have sought refuge in the warmer, cleaner territories further inland, and the Old Ruins is all but uninhabited. Since the ash settles as a filmy layer on the surface of the water, few people come here to swim anymore and although during the day there are still those who come to socialise, by night even the silence sounds loud. This is the calm before the storm.

Eleven minutes past three in the morning. A squirrel from a nearby copse has scurried down from the tree it had been nesting in and is scampering across the glittering sand, twitching its nose cautiously. Something isn’t right. His last action is to pause and thoughtfully wash his face with his front pause, before the giant wave obliges in washing the rest of him by crashing down with several hundred tons of force on top of his tiny head. The squirrel doesn’t know anything about it; his neck breaks on impact and the rest of the bones in his body shatter instantly.

If the little white girl in the cave in the red-rock cliffs overlooking the beach were awake, she might imprint the image of a second into her memory forever; for just one tiny moment in time, a solid curtain of water hangs over the entrance of the Shrine. When the water crashes in, it’s at such a speed that Aura doesn’t even awake in time for her eyes to open and even fleetingly see the wave before she smashes into the back wall of the cave. At least one rib breaks and several others crack; her breath is knocked out of her and she slips under the icy water. As the wave sweeps her around the bend and deep into the labyrinth of tunnels behind the Shrine, Aura has the time and presence of mind enough to register only one thought: I can’t swim.


    • part one. -

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