“A Moments Wrest”, Chapter 6: Beach Sequence
6 Beach Sequence
“So Mrs. Barrat, from what we were able to determine from the evidence found on the road, tread marks and damage to the guard rails and highway signage, it appears as though the other driver hit your husband’s car almost head on.”, Constable Berk explained.
“Fortunately, there were no passengers in either vehicle. But that also means there is no one else to interview. We have no witnesses. I don’t mean to pile on disappointing news, but we haven’t been able to properly question the driver either. He himself has been in and out of consciousness. Whenever he has been awake, he hasn’t been able to provide a credible account of the events. Disconnected thoughts mostly.”
“Well that’s convenient”, Sarah replied. There was enough sarcasm in her tone to register. “How long will that last?”
“Well, it’s hard to say”, Berk answered, pretending not to notice, “His doctor sees no physical reason why he should not recover. We should be able to get something useful out of him fairly soon. The doctors say his condition is mostly due to the pain killers, not so much the accident itself. They will be weaning him off those any time now. But he did suffer a concussion, and they are a funny things. Everyone responds differently to them. I know, I had a big one years ago. For some, it can take a long time.”
He took a deep breath before continuing. “However, I looked into his record. I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but he does have driving violations that might help explain what could have happened.”
“It is only circumstantial but it is certainly something to look into. I’ve requested a toxicology report on his blood, but it might be too late to register anything significant.”
“Are you suggesting he could have been driving drunk?”, Sarah asked, trying to suppress her anger.
Constable Berk realized his mistake and tried to reign it back quick. “I’m sorry Sarah, I did not intend to suggest anything of the sort. I just mentioned there are some leads that might need investigating before we rule them out. The more information we have, the quicker we can piece this together.”
He hoped that was enough to satisfy. He had seen enough similar situations to know how quickly grieving families can escalate things.
So stupid! I know better.
Oren stared at the black, greasy substance that filled his footprints. He was as equally curious as he was repulsed. It had a tar like appearance, but it was far more liquid in its viscosity. And it smelled. Something like rotten seaweed and raw sewage, but worse.
“Where did that come from?” Oren wondered out loud. “What could it…”
He felt an icy wetness on his bare feet and looked down. The same black oil was seeping up through the white sand, and he jumped back in disgust. The substance slowly saturated each new footprint he made, including the spots where he had been sitting and laid back earlier.
The inky slime surrounded his feet again. He moaned instinctively and ran backward to the string of trees and grassy border that lined the beach. He looked back horrified to see each footprint left behind slowly fill with the tar-like substance. Every place he touched was now a black stain on the perfectly groomed white sand. He stood there in disbelief. All he could do was imagine himself laying earlier in the sand with that stuff just under the surface. It almost made him sick.
The incredible view he had spent hours admiring had just been smeared. There was no point in avoiding it, his peripheral vision kept pulling him to the black marks. Soon, it was the only thing he could see.
Everything else was a blur that framed the dark stains. They behaved like small black holes that sucked the brilliance and colour from the beach and sky, as if dusk had fallen suddenly.
But the sun had not moved. He checked.
Oren felt the weight of what had happened. This perfect picture which had captured his wonder was now broken because he had been there. It did not make any rational sense. How could this be my fault?, he wondered. And yet, there was no escaping the black dotted line which pointed right towards him. A deep sadness washed over him.
How quickly everything changed. A cold breeze began to blow.
…continued with Chapter 7
Hubcap Photo Credit: Julian Stallabrass via Compfight cc Stain Photo Credit: Truthout.org via Compfight cc Original Cover Photo Credit unknown.