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Do you know the ending to this story?

Visiting the beach in North CarolinaWhile visiting our annual vacation home on Top Sail Island my attention was drawn to a young teenager. He was fervently watching four younger children who were playing in the crashing waves.

The children seemed to enjoy tossing toward shore among the waves. Meanwhile, the young man sat beneath a blue and white striped umbrella. He was constantly looking out to the ocean… as if on a secret mission or vigil.

The children

The smallest of the four children, an adorable little girl with inflated rolled up armbands spent most of her time near shore wading through ever-changing depths of water.

The second child was a curious boy around seven. He enjoyed dashing through the waves with this body board, almost as big as he was.

The third child a determined and witty girl of about nine. She seemed to love challenging the seven-year-old with sand battles and games of who could roll through the waves the fastest.

The eldest of the four children was a thin and careful girl of about 12 years of age, just beginning to show signs of puberty.

Twist of fate

Walking down the stairs from their beach house towards the ocean came a menacing figure with a hammer in hand. As he ascended the stairs he barked orders to the young man. He then commenced upon hammering in existing nails to each stair as he climbed back up to this ocean cottage.

The sounds of the crashing waves and wind ripping through my beach umbrella brought me back to the present time.

I am haunted by the memory of the teenager who may have been visiting this beautiful beach without the freedom to leave. Or was he just an older sibling taking orders from an overbearing parent? Time would only tell which story was true.

Can you finish this story?

~ Anna

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