Beach Night

Alfred is walking on a moonlit beach. He hears the waves and seabirds coo. He looks at his hands. They’re no longer trembling.

Suddenly, up over the dunes, he hears the sound of frantic, shuffling feet, a manic pant married to the swoosh of sand being kicked around. It’s a young woman. Alfred stops and she runs right toward him, his body clear in the light of the moon.

“My husband,” she exclaims, collapsing at his feet. “He tried to kill me but I escaped. He told me never to come back.”

“Where?” Alfred asks. “Where do you live?”

Alfred kicks down the door of the house and finds the abuser drunk and half-asleep in a reclining chair. He marches in, grabs the man and the throws him on the ground. He is not much bigger than the strange man, but he’s in total control, towering over the confused soul. His hands around his neck, and he squeezes.

“Say you’re sorry,” Alfred says, calmly. But the man can’t answer. Alfred is strangling him. He dies there on the floor. It’s unclear to Alfred how long this takes. He turns and the young woman is agasp in the doorway. Her eyes are wide but dry. Alfred scans them for a sense of relief, fear, sadness, anything. But they are blank––wide, dry and very blank.