The tide was low when we arrived at the beach. A stretch of sand like no other we’d visited before—this one was special. The things that lived here were special. That’s why I brought her here, my French girlfriend, Cerise.
For years, she pestered me about visiting France and meeting her parents. We dated for seven years and I never met her parents. I suppose I felt intimidated by her privileged background and the constant fear of not being good enough.
Her folks were into private schooling, career building, and all that jazz. I assumed them to be the kind of pretentious people that judged a person by their education rather than natural intelligence or strength of character.
Still, despite our differences in upbringing, I loved her. Our sense of humor was identical and she made me laugh like no one else could. Also, she was loyal to me—a rare characteristic in a woman, or so I thought.
One summer, I decided to make more of an effort by arranging a weekend getaway to Brittany. Her folks lived somewhere in that region and I promised her we would finally pay them a visit. But first, we would stop at the beach…where the green things lived.
We chose a secluded spot for our sunbathing, far away from the plebs and their screaming offspring. I spread the towels on the sand and watched her strip down to her bikini. She had an amazing body.
Cerise lay on her belly while I sensuously rubbed lotion into her creamy skin. She moaned softly, “Dat feelrz so nice,” her French accent still strong. I kept my eyes on her back but my attention soon shifted towards the sea. The killers were here.
“Fancy a dip?” I asked innocently after several minutes.
Cerise whipped around, smiling playfully.
“Sure! Let’z go,” she replied, and reached for my hand.
“You go in first,” I offered. “I’ll join you in a minute. I want to soak up some more rays.”
She smiled once more and I anxiously watched her feet sink into the mud.
“Eww! The sea smellz of rotten eggz!” Cerise complained.
Chuckling, I closed my eyes, reminisced back to the day when I first learned she was sleeping with her boss. I ignored it for years, trying to reason with myself it might not be true, but I was unable to keep my demons at bay. One evening, I gave in and checked her cell phone. I found dirty messages and plenty of them. It must’ve gone on for months. She hadn’t even made the effort of deleting them like any other decent person would.
Anyway, the time of reckoning had come. I only had one hobby since childhood. Botany. The only thing I ever excelled at. I was an expert when it came to plants and weeds.
In my early years at the university, I was intrigued to discover that seaweed could generate toxic fumes of hydrogen sulphide when it rots, a colorless and highly poisonous gas, which incidentally smelled of rotten eggs.
Armed with this knowledge, I carefully plotted Cerise’s demise. This area of Brittany was renowned for killer seaweed incidents. Several animals had died here a couple of months ago and if my presumptions were correct, small pockets of hydrogen sulphide were still trapped in the beach mud. Hopefully, they’d escape when disturbed.
Cerise called from down below, “Arrre you coming den?”
“In a little while, you keep walking and enjoy the swim!” I replied.
Erik Hofstatter is a dark fiction writer, who dwells in a beauteous and serenading Garden of England, where he can be frequently encountered consuming reckless amounts of mead and tyrannizing local peasantry. At a young age, he built a Viking longship and journeyed myriad sea miles away from native land in search of plunder and pillage. His short stories appeared in various magazines and anthologies around the world such as The Literary Hatchet (PearTree Press), Psychopomp (Artifice Comics), and Sanitarium Magazine. He is also the author of the acclaimed Moribund Tales & The Pariahs (Creativia Publishing.) Visit him on the web at www.authorerikhofstatter.blogspot.co.uk or on Twitter @ErikHofstatter
Image by Paolo Trabattoni