Look At The Horizon
a beach scene
This story is a submission for the Soaring Twenties Social Club’s Symposium, a collaboration amongst writers of the STSC. This month’s prompt is the word “Beach.”
Please enjoy and I’m retiring myself,
One day Illarion Illarionivich, an enthusiastic esthete with exquisite features of his appearance and even more exquisite features of thought sat marvelling at the setting sun sinking slowly down the murk beyond the edge of the ocean, and chatted with Vitya, grimacing, hunching, wrapping his arms around the warmth of his body, defending against the evening marine chill. Upwards the beach the seagulls screeched. Around, the warning waves surged, gurgled, hissed, tickling Illarion Illarionovich’s toes, quite romantically so.
'I call it "a writer's beach". When I start wondering where is my muse, I always come to wander around here, wait for her to find me, or just sit and enjoy the view, thinking of something good, something that heals me, innermostly,' said Illarion Illarionovich and ravenously recharged his lungs with the marine air.
'I ain’t see no writer's bitch. Did she drown?'
Illarion Illarionovich laughed blissfully, wagging his elegant index finger at Vitya. 'You and your dark jokes again. Look around, beauty is everywhere here.'
Vitya looked around: at the ocean, at rocks on the left, at rocks on the right, at rocks on the far left, at rocks on the far right, at wee rocks under himself, arse-hurting peddles, hunched more.
'Charming spot. Inspiring prospects.'
'It is. I know, for you it is the first time, but for me, it is like a recurring reverie. Every time I come here, that bizarre déjà vu touches upon me, as if I am here for the first time despite it is all so familiar.'
Vitya's teeth rattled, he said, 'Because you've been here before, that's why.'
'You do not get out much, Vitya. It is not about what kind of a place but what you feel being there. What do you feel?'
'I feel like it’s a good spot to kill oneself.'
'That is a bad thought. This is not why we are here for. I know you are a bit cynical person but...'
'Am I a cynical person?..'
'Please, do not interrupt...'
'...well maybe, in relation to this bloody miserable shithole – yes.'
'What I am trying to convey, is places like this are sanctuaries from all negative. Water, sky and earth meet here. The sky shows us where we should aspire to be. The earth – how grounded we are, mere humans. And the element of water glues those two sensations together, for it is connected to human emotion. When you come here, you seek inspiration, personal healing, reflection, escape, boost your magnesium levels...'
'Dafu...' muttered Vitya
'...It is one of those places where you can reach the euphoric climax. See, the beach is all about freedom from all of the nonsense and worry that occurs in your everyday life…'
'The water, look at it,' Vitya pointed at the waves escaping them, 'it’s running away from us. This murky stinking puddle bastard is running away! It ain’t want to heal us!'
'It's not holy water, Vitya. Again, it is all in your mind. To truly see something, to let your good thoughts bud and bad thoughts diminish, you shall shut your eyes.'
'That makes no sense, Larik.'
'It does. Let me teach you.'
'Shut your eyes.'
Vitya squeezed his eyelids with all his might.
'What do you see?'
'Kaleidoscope. The shroomie feeling, remember?'
Illarion looked at him. 'No, not that tight. Just relax. Imagine you are sleeping, dreaming.'
'Alright. I’m relaxed.'
'Now, signatures of all things you are here to read: hear how the ocean murmuring at the distance... how waves polish the rocks in front of you... how the wind whistles... how the seagulls screech above us... how your heart beats... All these sounds are the environment, the outward pressure. In a way, it is a cage, but what you must do is to elevate your consciousness to the level above it, acknowledge what is happening around you, and in your mind build an image of something pleasant.' Illarion Illarionovich paused for a few seconds. 'Now, what do you see?'
Vitya shivered, and said, 'A jug of hot steaming glühwein.'
'Good, good. What else?'
'Alright, good. Beautiful, isn’t it?'
'They sting me.'
'Oh, no. You should think of something good, something pleasant, something that makes you happy. That is crucial.'
'Okay, okay.' Vitya paused, they both did.
Upwards the beach, in the sky, the dark clouds gathered. Louder and louder roared the escaping water. The seagulls disappeared. The sun's red disk shrunk almost to the state of none. It all started to look like one of those few Aivazovsky's grim paintings of tempests. After a minute or so, Illarion Illarionovich looked at Vitya, who was trembling and clenching his teeth even more than before, and asked, 'Now, what's on your mind?'
'Has this miserable shithole vanished since?'
Illarion Illarionovich shook his head, and shouted, hysterically, 'I'm trying to teach you something important! You need to focus!'
'Alright, alright. Shite… look at you, Mr Tranquility.'
'You are not listening. I know, times change, and even if the world around us is in flux, there is always hope, there is always a place for something good. Look, there on the edge, you see it, growing. Look at it, look, look at the horizon. Sometimes, it is not the sun that hides behind the horizon, but the horizon that hides the sun from our sight as if it is something we are trembling creatures are not supposed to see, as if it is something inconceivable for us as if at first we should find light in ourselves.'
Vitya looked into the distance, squinting, where the sun was indeed hiding and the horizon was indeed growing, quickly as if someone accelerated the Earth's spinning. His eyes widened, he gulped.
'You know what I'm seeing? A fucking tsunami.'
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