Lola love their family summer holidays. Each year they went to their lovely little cottage in a tiny coastal town only five minutes from the beach. It wasn’t a normal sunny beach where all the girls lay sunbathing and boys tried surfing and little kids dump sandcastles on every space available. The tide was far too unpredictable for you to stay out there long. However the lack of visitors meant that the beach could accumulate the most amazing shells in huge quantities. Hundreds upon thousands of them glistened and glimmered in the sunlight, scattered on every corner of the white sand. They were what Lola truly loved, the reason she spent the whole first half of the year looking forward to the two weeks in their holiday cottage. This year, the time had finally come and they’d arrived at the cottage. While her parents were busy unpacking, she decided to make a quick start in expanding her shell collection.
“Mum, I’m off shell hunting!” shouted Lola.
“Alright, but watch out for the tide!” replied her mum.
Lola was out of the door in a flash and bolted down the street. Arriving at the beach, she took a deep breath, filling her lungs with the sweet scent of the sea. It was a beautiful day. The light breeze played with her hair and the sunlight danced and shimmered on the surface of the water like a thousand stars. It was a sight which made you feel as if nothing can go wrong. She marveled at the scene before getting down to business. The shells sparkled and twinkled from every corner of the beach as far as the eye could see and Lola whizzed around picking up every one which happened to catch her eye and dropped them into her bag. Time flew by and when she finally stopped, completely exhausted, she realised her surroundings had changed.
“Oh!” was all she could manage. Whilst she totally absorbed in her shell collecting, the tide had come in. All those years she’d been to the beach and she’d always been careful not to stay out too long, but this time she had wandered off so far on the beach during low tide that the high tide now completely surrounded her. She gulped. The sea was no longer the calm, sapphire blue. It was now grey and foamy and the murky water swirled around her, sloshing at her ankles.
The sky was entirely obscured with masses of heavy grey-black clouds. She knew if she stayed soon the tide would engulf her completely and so she tried to make her way out. She wadded as far as she could towards dry land was soon forced to swim. A storm had built up during her hours spent picking shells and as she swam the waves crashed against her mercilessly, but she kept fighting. Her wet jeans added onto her weight restrained her movement. Suddenly a huge wave came down upon her and dragged her beneath the surface. In her blind terror she opened her mouth to scream and the salty water gushed in, choking her. With an odd ringing in her ears she gave one last feeble attempt to fight the violent current, before the sea got the better of her and she sank, deeper and deeper into its depths.
Lola woke up on the beach. She got up and saw the storm still raging. Wondering how on earth she managed to get back alive, she decided to get back to the cottage first, for her parents would’ve been frantic. Somehow her clothes were dry, but she in her hurry she didn’t give it too much thought. As she ran she puzzled over ways she could have escaped the sea, when she suddenly bumped into two men heading in the direction of the beach. Even though she knew almost everyone in this tiny town, she’d never seen these two before and decided to warn them about the storm.
“Hey, I wouldn’t go to the beach if I were you. There’s half a hurricane blowing out there,” said Lola timidly, blushing as you do when you talk to strangers.
“Ha!” exclaimed one of the men. “Don’t worry, kid. The sea can’t harm us. Nothing can. Not any more.” He exchanged a knowing look with his companion, and patted Lola’s shoulder in a sympathetic way before continuing on their way. Lola was left momentarily dazed and stared after them before coming to her senses and headed once more towards the cottage.
What a weird day. She thought. Many question marks sprang up in her mind as she ran, but they were forgotten when she saw her parents through the living room window of her cosy little cottage. Her parents were sitting on the sofa and her mum seemed to be crying. Her dad had one arm round her mum’s shoulder and he too seemed to be struggling with tears. They were talking to two policemen who seemed to be taking notes. I’ll give them a surprise, thought Lola. I’ll burst through the door and make them all jump.
She charged towards the house and the next thing she knew she was in the room. She had gone right through the solid wall and stranger still, neither her parents nor the policemen took any notice of her sudden appearance amongst their midst.
“Mum! Dad!” shouted Lola, jumping right up to her parents and waving her arms frantically in front of their eyes. They ignored her.
“It’s me! I’m alright!” she yelled hysterically. Still they blanked her out. Then, the truth finally dawned upon her, the man’s words echoed in her mind; “the sea can’t harm us. Nothing can. Not any more.” She understood what the he meant now.
Lola swallowed, hard.