The Ocean by Annie Welton

The ocean is a mesmerising mystery with a tormenting monster just below the dazzling surface.

As far out as can be seen, a lump, a dent, an imperfection in the perfect water appears. It builds up slowly, gaining confidence, speed and strength. At last you find a soaring hill is undulating towards you and at its height, the tip curls, dripping over the edge. The unbalanced tower now spills over with a thunderous clamour. A sheer tunnel of crystal glass-like water tumbles, racing in your direction until it collapses, tripping over itself.

Dolphin fins play peek-a-boo whilst the dancing waves chase each other. A wave scuttles towards you; the water pushing and fighting to get over itself, inching further and further up the shoreline. Just as it reaches the height of its potential, the energy breaks the crawling waves, shattering them upon the beach. At last, it takes a final breath of freedom. A slight pause, and it reluctantly slinks back to its home.

The next races with all its might, suddenly colliding with those before it, creating a slight moment of sandy turmoil and confusion. The smaller waves fight with each other, until the father wave collapses them both with one fell swoop.

Beautiful shells with even shades of purple, revealing their ancient pasts, sprinkle the beach to begin their wait to be found. I reach down to pick it up before suddenly a towering wave rushes over, drenching with its salty taste. When my eyes open, I am in the middle of the ocean, miles from dry safety.

Water grabs at my ankles. I struggle. My eyes pan the horizon, sensing my loss of direction. The watery world around me spins. Feet cemented in the sand below, I’m pulled towards a watery fate.

Relief. The wave is at last called back, sombrely slithering to its home. The tide has come in again. Another load of its precious treasures delivered to shore.

This time, it’s the beach. It bites and I cry out in pain. A dark, sickening red mixes into the water around me, and I can almost make out the sneer of victory brought in on the sea breeze.

There is a beast that lies below, waiting for vulnerable victims to step in its path. It seduces the naïve with whispers, captivating with its sparkling beauty. Creatures and secrets lie protected beneath the shimmering surface, but these are mysteries man will never come to know.