Plummer Cobb is a writer and communications consultant based in Arlington, Texas.

Airborn

"You really aren't a fan of the beach, are you?" she says.

“I’ve never really cared for it. I don't know why," he says.

He knows why, he just doesn't want to admit it.

The first time his family went to the beach, when he was still not quite old enough to understand what it meant that he had been adopted, he had a feeling unlike any before. A pull, something physical. Then a voice, high and melodic. Singing but without the pattern of song. He could not course it. It seemed to be coming from the ocean itself.

After that, he avoided the beach. Anytime he had to go there, he stayed close to the hotel, swimming in the pool instead, doing lap after lap, only coming up for air enough times to keep observers from freaking out about how long he could stay underwater.

“Come down for just a little while,” she pleads. “It’s not like we’ll go in. It’s night. I wouldn’t want to swim at night anyway. We'll walk along the beach. Get our feet wet. It’ll be romantic."

“Romantic,” he says, considering the word. He thinks about the voice he heard in childhood and every time he’s been near the beach since then.

Having a hard time coming up with a reason not to, he agrees. For her.

They walk along the beach. When the water touches his feet, something electric surges through him. He tries not to let her see him react to it, but keeping his composure is difficult.

“What’s on your mind? You seem tense?"

“I’m fine,” he says, trying to sound calm. “Just…could we get a drink?"

She smiles and squeezes his hand. “Had about all the beach you can take?” She laughs.

“Fair enough, let’s go get a drink."

They walk back up the beach toward the resort. He looks back. His vision, keen in the night and sharp over water, picks up a pair of eyes a few hundred yards out, watching him from just above the waterline.

“We can come back another time. I mean, we are here for three more days. There's plenty of time for you to get comfortable with the ocean.” 
 

What Burned in the Fire

Fresh Victims