There was a strong sense of relief once the beach was seen.
The beach was a quiet one. It usually didn’t see many people on account of the best path not being the one that ran by it, and even then, those who saw the beach mostly walked past. For most trips there generally were far better places to stop. In this particular instance the trip was lengthy and had already crossed a few islands. On one of the more remote islands of a trip as long as this one meant the beach became a good place to rest.
There were a few alcoves along the beach that allowed for easy shelter and the area seemed safe enough; at least they hadn’t heard of anyone having to worry about defending themselves, or disappearing, or suffering from some sort of injury that would be more common in that particular area.
They followed the narrow path down to the beach, weaving their way around trees and rocky outcrops and the beach grew larger as it was approached. It had a fine sand and a moderate slope, and it seemed to stretch a while before it met the ocean. On this particular day the surf was strong, but it didn’t seem dangerous. Toward the back of the beach vegetation grew over the sand, stabilising it more and more, and there was a nice view looking inland obscured by some cliff at one of the beach’s ends.
It was quite idyllic and it was quite isolated.
They eventually reached the beach and made their way to one of the alcoves. Carefully they took off their pack which was much lighter now than when they had left home, and they began to set up for the evening. The alcove’s floor was rocky, thankfully due to being part of a rock platform, and from where they were it seemed like they wouldn’t have much trouble with large waves, or waves of any size for that matter.
As they set up they listened out for anything other than sounds of the beach. They had a good view of it from where they were but they could see no one and they could hear nothing other than what they’d usually hear at a place like this. It helped continue the sense of solitude they’d had for the past week or so. Sure, they had seen various creatures around and they were certain they’d see some more where they now were, but they didn’t seem to impede or press into what they were feeling.
After setting up they went looking for some dry wood lying around. They wanted to boil water and have something to drink and eat something that wasn’t more food fine to eat uncooked, but much better cooked. The previous places they had stayed hadn’t had room to safely start a fire and they were fairly certain that it would be at least another few days until they reached another town, though possibly it would be another week or so; they were on the path that took more time and was often considered less safe. There were a few more bridges they’d need to cross on this island, as well as some to get across the next few. They didn’t want to have to wait for a hot meal at this point, even if it was relatively not that far away.
Eventually they found some broken branches and a good log and they seemed dry enough so they returned to the alcove and got to work. It was not long before they had their billy set up with enough water in it for tea and cooking a small portion of the remaining food they had. They considered going to catch something but they decided against doing so. They were staying only for the rest of the day and the night, and they felt it better to spend less time in the sun, just in case.
As they waited for the water to boil they consulted their map and saw that they were roughly on time. It was still quite a while before they’d reach the city – about a month at the rate they were going – but there were at least a few villages on the way. Maybe they’d take transport when they reached on, reduce the travel time, though they felt that may be too risky. Besides which, there were things along the islands that they wanted to see and going by boat, or even by cart made that much more difficult.
Eventually evening arrived and rain began to beat down on the area. They could see the violence as it drowned everything out; eventually combined with the dark the view itself was mostly smothered. Wind hit the alcove and so, already preparing to in case of unwanted attention, they put the fire out. Not having a light source to use to read or draw, they gradually fell asleep to the sound of the rain, wind and waves heaving and thrashing throughout the dark.
They woke before first light and, despite having had to have slept on thin bedding on a rocky surface, felt well-rested. Perhaps it was their getting used to having to sleep on whatever surface they could. Perhaps it was just fatigue catching up at the right moment.
They started a fire and began boiling water, and drank and ate as they watched the dark and listened to the waves gently lap at the platform’s edge. Eventually first light appeared and they’d soon have to pack up and continue, but they took their time staring out, trying to work things out.
Soon after first light a robed figure appeared somewhere distant along the beach. The figure looked to the waves, then walked toward them. As the figure approached they sat there, unsure as to what to do but kept a knife ready. The figure waved and so they cautiously waved back, and it was not long before the figure was at the alcove.
The time it took to write one thousand words: 34:32:23
Really slow. Much slower than I’d hoped. Realised what I’d written would need to spill into a second thing, then realised that it was due to too much bloat.
Coming back to the worldbuilding thing I’m slowly working on, trying to thread in a bit more narrative. This doesn’t cover much, but I’m filling in bits and pieces. A lot of this is going to be set over a large series of islands, many of which are close enough to reach by crossing bridges. There’s likely to be many small towns / villages rather than large cities, though I want there to be one large city, perhaps as a connecting hub of sorts.
Here are the other rushed bits of writing I’ve done for this thing.
Written at home.