Hello there all! I’ve got another story to share with you today, as well as some other blog-related bits and bobs.
I wrote this for my inspirational and absolutely amazing Mum for Mother’s day and I hope you enjoy it as much as she did.
Waiting For The Turtles
I kneel down in the water and the liquid lifts my dress to float around me, a yellow hued raft. I can hear faint whispers of music on the breeze, the low, rhythmic strum of a guitar and the clear hearty voices of people having a good time. I raise my eyes to the sky, the pale pinks, melodic blues and metallic golds of sunset burn on the horizon. The air is salty and cool against my skin, breaths of air blow a rusty drinks can across the beach. The ocean is still and almost expectant, waiting sullenly, lying low. It’s moment will come.
The cold pulses through my body, making me shudder and wrap my arms around my drenched torso. But I wouldn’t miss this for the world. My dress clings to me, soaked through with the scent of the ocean. It seems to want to drag me down into it, drown me within its depths.
The birds are circling the beach, harnessing the winds and soaring high above. They seem to know it’s time. They look so menacing up there, waiting, just like me. I glare at them and rise out of the water to wave my fists. They squawk in alarm, but then their attention is taken by something else, something further up the beach.
I can see it now, damp sand spraying up into the air. They’re erupting everywhere, fountains of sand flying up from all over the beach. The birds are getting lower in the sky now, their beady eyes watching every movement intently. I’m racing down the beach now, yelling up at the gulls and watching my feet, careful not to tread on any new arrivals.
I hurriedly unzip the waterproof pouch at my waist and brush the sand off of my hands, then I yank out my mobile and punch in a number that I know by heart.
They pick up immediately, they were waiting for my call. Waiting, just like the ocean, just like the birds, just like me. But it’s started now and there’s no time to wait anymore.
“Marion. It’s Susanna. Yes, it’s begun. I need you all here right now. The birds are already picking the first few off. Okay, bye. See you in a few minutes.”
I hang up and practically chuck my phone back in its pouch. I jump as something starts burrowing its way through the soft sand just beside my foot. I crouch down and scoop up the tiny creature in my hands. “Welcome to the world, little turtle.” I whisper. I tighten my grip on it’s smooth shell and rush down to the water, then I set it down and it floats off, battling the waves, flippers paddling frantically.
The birds are diving like torpedoes, snatching the babies as they emerge into the light. I grab as many as I possibly can, holding them in my arms and carrying them swiftly to the water’s edge.
I hear the screech of brakes and look to see a van careering round the bend and coming to an ungraceful halt. A girl of around my own age leaps out the passenger side and two boys with armfuls of bags get out the back. They all jump off the concrete wall and land on their feet in the warm sand.
“Quick! Open the bags. Get as many in as you can. Marion and I will take one, you two guys take the other.” I instruct.
Marion and I fall on our knees beside a burrow teeming with the tiny turtles, as we scoop them into our hands and lay them gently, but carefully in the bag, we smile happily at each other. The mass of wriggling, squirming little bodies clamber all over each other, their flippers pitter pattering on each other’s shells. Their squished up faces look up at us with confusion and I like to think they’re wondering at the marvel of us, just like we marvel at them.
One of them slithers up my arm and drops on his back in the sand. “Hey!” I laugh and hear Marion’s cheerful chuckle beside me. Suddenly something fast flashes past our eyes, before I can comprehend the situation, the bird has got the tiny turtle in his grasp and is flapping off with his bounty, his evil cackle echoes round the beach, joining the hullabaloo of cries from all the species of birds at this banquet.
We work in silence for a moment, the loss of this new life may be amongst many today, but it is felt nonetheless. After a while, Marion looks up from our umpteenth burrow. “My Father says that each gull is the ghost of a pirate, who wanders the seven seas, never able to tear himself from the life he has always known. I could believe it with these birds.” “Yeah.” I agree. “They’re thieving bandits.”
“I’d say we’re full up.” Marion glances at the bag and then at me. “Okay, let’s go.” This is always my favourite part, setting the turtles off on their life journey. One by one, we lift them out and put them in a row where the waves crash onto the shore. The white foam splashes onto their noses and they splutter and sneeze. We giggle and sit back to watch them take their first tentative steps towards freedom and adulthood.
They stumble over pebbles as they walk into the water. “Yay!” I cheer as the first one rides a wave and begins to swim out into the ocean, reminding me of the small children I often see bodyboarding on their stomachs. I turn to Marion for a high-five, but she’s not there. “Mari-” I break off as a hard push on my shoulder makes me fall forward into the surf. “Hey!” I topple into the ankle-deep water with a shout. The turtles swim around me and I look to see Marion grinning beside me. We turn over onto our tummies and begin to swim out into the ocean.
The little animals follow us, pushing each other to be first in line. “Ha!” I gasp as I duck under water and force my eyes to open, despite the salty sting. In the blurry bluey green, I could make out Marion’s legs thrashing beside me and the bottom far below. I kick my legs and spiral to the depths of the ocean floor. I glance behind me to see Marion blowing bubbles through her nose. I do the same and the turtles play like puppies of the sea, chasing each other and popping the bubbles with their hard snouts.
I feel a sharp tapping on my back and spin round to see my friend wildly gesturing towards two large dark shapes looming out of the shadows. I gasp and we clutch hands and wait, the oxygen rapidly draining from our lungs.
Two adult turtles emerge, swimming serenely towards us. The babies seem to recognise their own kind and they greet them with excitement, orbiting around them like moons around great planets.
I squeeze Marion’s hand and we rise to the surface together. “Time to go..” I mutter, gasping for air. She just nods and we swim quietly back to land, passing the odd stray baby turtle as we go.
We crawl up the beach and lay down on the warm sand. “Our work is done.” Marion says and I agree. The beach is littered with holes like mines, dark patches in the gloom of dusk. “The light’s fading. I think we’d better go.” I whisper. I feel as though I don’t want to disturb anything, it’s so tranquil and still after the chaos of the day.
“Where are the boys?” my companion asks suddenly. “Bet they’re sitting around that campfire, singing songs and eating hotdogs.” I laugh. “I reckon we’d better join them.” Marion says, leaping to her feet. “Alright.” I reply and we run off along the beach, hand in hand.
When I was writing this I had a thought. Do all writers think up the character and then base the name on him/her like I do? Or do some people think of the name then build the character around that? Any opinions and answers to my writerly wonderings would be greatly appreciated!
Talking of names, I am always on the look out for new names to use in my stories and novels. I thought it would be great to have some suggestions from my readers and followers. Currently, I seem to have several ‘favourite names’ that I use in all my pieces. It’s time for a change, people, and I want your help. Let me know in the comments. You may see some of your own ideas popping up in my stories in the future.
Moving on, my blogging friend Emma, from Book Emma, is hosting a writing competition. I know, how exciting! Anyway, you can find out more on her blog. Please do enter!
I think that’s all for now. As always, your comments and replies mean so much to me and I always value your opinions and thoughts. Constructive criticism always welcome too.
Bye for now,