Best Book Bit:
She was jarred awake by a freezing sensation. Her bathing suit was drenched through from the spray of the waves that were crashing against the surprisingly comfortable rock on which she’d accidentally fallen into sleep.
She glanced at her watch and discovered to her horror that she must’ve been asleep for well over an hour. Florence suddenly realised she’d committed a huge error, one more typically made by holidaymakers, not by people born and raised on the island. Residents respected the sea and its capricious ways.
Shit! I’m totally cut off by the tide. Didn’t mean to fall asleep. I’m usually the one to warn holidaymakers about getting cut off by the tide, now here I am, cut off by the sodding tide! Shit, shit, shit and fuck! She stood on tiptoe atop the rock, waving her arms like a demented windmill, but she was too far from shore for anybody to see her. The magnetic pull of the tide’s current eventually made standing impossible. The rock was soon covered completely in sea water, and she struggled to keep her bare feet on the rough surface of the submerged rock. The waves whipped up around her. There’s no other option except to swim for shore. Shame to leave my bag of prawns behind, but the wind’s come up and I’ll need all my strength to reach safety.
The ice cold of the water made Florence gasp as she pushed her aging body off the rock she’d been sleeping on. The tide’s powerful current was pulling her further out to sea, to her increasing alarm. As waves crashed over her head, with salty water stinging her eyes and pouring into her mouth and nose, Florence panicked more than she’d ever done before. She was making no headway, cursing as seaweed wrapped around her limbs. The cold was making her hallucinate, with the grasping clumps of seaweed taking on the appearance of sea monsters.
Although Florence could swim, she’d never been a strong swimmer. Battling against the current and freezing cold water was gradually sapping every ounce of her strength. Slowly losing consciousness through hypothermia, she sank below the surface, her lungs filled with water and she drowned.
The split-second Florence’s heart stopped pumping, she was whisked upwards through the water and high into the air. Something was pulling her effortlessly over the sea wall and across the road to her home. She landed effortlessly in the branches of a flowering cherry tree in her garden, just above the heads of Marcus, Charlie and Lara.
Charlie and Lara had been visiting his parents’ house in Jersey, as they often did, leaving the busy seafood restaurant in the capable hands of Charlie’s restaurant manager. The trio all sported swimwear, and were drinking cider as they sprawled indolently on the sun loungers around the pool. Florence screamed at them for a solid ten minutes to try to gain their attention, but they just kept on talking between themselves, oblivious to her distress.
‘Wish Mum would hurry back with the prawns. I really fancy a prawn salad tonight,’ Charlie said in a sulk.
‘I’d have thought you’d be fed up with the smelly things, what with us owning a seafood restaurant,’ Lara chipped in with a sneer.
Oh, God … the prawns I caught will all be washed away by now. What’ll they eat for supper? thought Florence, unaware she had far greater problems to deal with, and yet no problems at all.
While her spirit was struggling to acclimatise to being up in the cherry tree, Florence’s discarded shell was washed up on the beach hours later. Her body was deposited like a large piece of driftwood amidst the other shells, seaweed, and litter, much to the horror of a couple of paddling middle-aged holidaymakers who’d stumbled upon her corpse.