‘Dinah’s Memory’ by Sophie Bootle

I remember walking up and down the beach.  Watching the deep, blue sea washing up and down the sandy beach, it was always my safe place. The sand was always soft and smooth and the vast sea was always the same. When I came here, I didn’t want to be anywhere else.

I loved it here. I really did. It was so peaceful and relaxing. However, the more I think about it, the more I understand.

There was always a man sat in the lifeguard tower, only peering over individuals. I was an individual. It sounds stupid but I always knew something wasn’t right. It was the look in his eye, his grin spreading wide when people were alone, the way he hid in the shadows.

I always came here with my family even from a young age, but I never saw this man. I guess I wouldn’t unless I would be looking out for him. As soon as I was by myself, he was the main thing I gave my attention to. My brother always told me to be careful and I guess this man was what he meant. I wish I had never started going alone; the would be a lot less to be anxious about, this was supposed to be my safe place.

As I realised that I didn’t like the idea of this man, I didn’t come here more often; my family never went here anymore anyway. The last time I came here , the man wasn’t there, I thought this meant the man had gone.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

One day, walking back from school, I saw him. The same man. He was sat, lurking in the almost-dead bushes. This had started to become a routine. Everyday day he did this and everyday when I opened the door he had gone; but I’d always have felt that someone was watching me.

My brother didn’t come back from college till later and my parents were always at work until tea time. I was always alone when he’d be around. I told my parents one day and they just simply laughed at me, they thought I was joking or lying I guess.

I mean, I wouldn’t believe it if someone else said that to me.

The world was becoming a dangerous place and I’d only just seen it.

Photo by Melanie Wupperman from Pexels