Welcome to the 26th Story a Week. This marks the half way point on this journey. Todays story is the continuation of Tidal. I hoped I could finish it but I wanted a little more detail and character so I’ve split it into two.
I hope you enjoy this dreamlike fantasy, 891 words.
Tidal – The Waypoint
Jenny reached out for the nearest wooden pillar as water rushed past her ankles. She managed to keep her balance until it reached her shins then she knew she was going to be swept off her feet.
“Mary!” She yelled over the roar of the water. Mary didn’t move, she turned and yelled something unheard to Richard who strode forward. He walked normally, as though the seething water had no effect on him, and as he grew nearer Jenny realised why. The water streamed around him, he wasn’t even wet. It parted before it hit his legs, reforming in a crash of white just past him. Within seconds he reached her and had taken one hand, the other held her waist. Instantly Jenny felt the push of the water recede as it seemed to avoid her too, and she felt safe.
She had time to think, and looked around at where the water was rushing. The end of the kitchen had gone, it was open to the outside now, bordered only by the side walls of the kitchen. Beyond those, a sunny expanse of water vanished to the horizon, gulls wheeled, the water crashed as it ran into the ocean. A small boat bobbed against a floating pier roped to the shoreline.
The water rushing from the kitchen quickly receded as Jenny stared at the impossible scene and it became clear that a beach led down to the water. She looked down and the water was no longer running over her feet. Richard let go as Jenny moved toward the beach. She nearly slipped as the water took hold of her again but righted herself against the pull.
As she stepped onto the wet sand Jenny became warmer, a breeze ruffled her hair. The water was settling down into a normal tide, light waves, only just cresting, reached the beach a few meters in front of her. The smell was so different from the kitchens homely smell of good cooking, it was fresh and sharp, invigorating. Jenny looked around, the older couple, hand in hand, were approaching.
“Wha?” Jenny managed, then started again. “This is incredible!” Mary smiled in response.
“Yes, very breath taking at first. Even now, after seeing this hundreds of times, it’s still so beautiful.”
“Is this,” Jenny paused, searching for a better turn of phrase, but couldn’t think of a more fitting term, “is this magic?” Richard laughed, warm and loud.
“Of a kind, yes, but also, not really.” He said. Jenny crumpled her brow.
“What does that mean?” She asked.
“This place has always existed, it’s not magic, just another world hidden in ours. Your dad found it, though he wasn’t the first.” Richard clarified.
“He’s probably the best though.” Mary added.
“Aye, found a fair few of these, he has. This is his retreat though.”
“Wait, my dad’s in there?” Jenny asked, stunned.
“Yes, come on.” Mary said, she walked down the beach, paused to hitch up her dress, and walked into the shallows. Mary climbed onto the small pier and started toward the small sailboat. Jenny followed, the water was cool as she strode into it, and with a little less skill and dignity, she climbed onto the dock.
“This is my darling, The Waypoint. She’s small but she’s never let me down.” Jenny looked at the little boat, then at the expanse of ocean.
“You expect me to sail? It’s an easy enough sailboat, but I’ve no clue where I’m going or what the currents are like. You’re coming with me?”
“No, we’re not going, but don’t worry. The Waypoint is special, but then so is this ocean. Trust me, The Waypoint knows where you’re going, all you need to do raise and lower her sail.”
“You’re sure about that?” Mary nodded.
“I’ve done this trip so many times she’s on autopilot now.” Mary grinned widely.
“Same for the way back?”
“OK … so how long does this take and when should I leave to catch the tide?”
“Depends on the breeze, but a good hour and a half, and if you give me your hand I’ll help you in.”
“You’ll love it.” Mary held out her hand, in a daze Jenny took it and clambered into the shifting sailboat. She checked the state of the boat, the sail and the ropes. It was well looked after. Mary undid the ropes, and Jenny pulled them in.
“See you in a few hours!” She called to Mary as the sailboat drifted away from the pier. Mary waved, and started walking back toward the beach where Richard stood, arms crossed. Jenny raised the sail and the little boat danced forward, starting a languid curve toward the horizon.
The little boat really did seem to know where it was going. Out of habit, and the fact she was still very nervous, Jenny kept one hand on the tiller. She spent time watching what she’d taken as gulls. They were much larger though, and quicker. They skimmed the water, filling their beaks. Or gather over balls of seething fish near the surface and casually eat their fill.
After watching a gull that had got really close Jenny noticed with excitement that in the far distance she could make out a rocky outcrop, and beyond that a pair of islands.
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