Eerie revelations in hidden masks.
Weekend mornings are sacred in my routine life. At home, getting away from the screens on my desk is difficult. I make it a point to walk down to the beach on Saturday and Sunday morning.
Morning mist clears my head
wake from fantastic dreams, can’t explain;
fill my world with thoughts of death,
take a stroll to clear the dread.
Living in Flagler Beach, Florida is a sweet reward.
Most mornings the sun rising over the horizon and shattering the air is a brief slice of scintillating quiet unmatched by any art humans can produce.
At roughly 5 am I don my favorite socks, but fully naked otherwise, step onto my porch, breathe in the salty air, and make my way across A1A to the sand dunes leading down to the Atlantic ocean.
A1A is a busy State 2 lane highway here during the day but is a surprisingly empty and desolate road at 5 am.
I wear these thick grey socks that reach up to my knees to protect my feet from the rough asphalt of the street and the sharp shells in the sand leading to the tides.
The cool morning beach air pricks my body in a million goosebumps. A snapping brisk sensation, my favorite wake-up. Coffee, of course, is a close second but that comes after I return from the beach.
It’s a refreshing September, Saturday morning.
Hurricane Irma swept through a week ago.
Parts of A1A were cracked and washed away during the storm. Crews will be busy repairing sections of the road in an hour.
I decided to ride the storm out and stayed in my house across from the beach. My neighbors said I was crazy but a touch of fortune smiled upon me and I had no damage.
Looking up and down the beach is shocking and saddens me at the damage Irma unleashed.
The first tide washes over my socks.
It’s wet and cold.
Shivers tremble up my legs and spread biting all the way to my thoughts.
The sight is screaming me into silent shock!
I notice them 10 feet from the place I usually stand at to stare out over the ocean.
Two boots, galoshes, the type a person fishing would wear, shoulder width apart, toes facing the ocean, and lower legs to the knee standing there. A seagull is perched on the right knee jabbing its beak into the meat and taking a snack.
For a moment I just stare in stifled horror.
The sight is at once odd, horrifying, and perplexing. No thoughts, just breathless terror crawling like a stabbing needle pinching at every nerve. I’m trembling.
There is no torso. No thighs. No head.
The piercing tone in my head resembles the sound of steam whistling from a boiling kettle.
It’s not like me to freeze up in any situation. Thoughts barrage my brain crawling and irritating while stinging like a swarm of ants defending their disturbed mound of sand.
Whose legs are those? Do I recognize them? How? Why? Who would be fishing here — now? When?
The area is devoid of any fishing equipment. No fishing pole. No net. No remains of a person in the vicinity. I’m clutching my body in a hug of tight terror.
Time is irrelevant.
An hour might have passed or a minute but I am unaware, suddenly lost in the gruesome sight. Curiosity grips my fright and pulls me closer to the boots.
I notice them now. Grey socks in the galoshes wet and smashed against the bottom of the knees. They are thick like the ones I’m wearing.
A rancid smell finds me and I taste the acid regurgitation of revulsion.
Can’t help myself but to look closer.
A lump close to the top of the left boot begins to move. The bump had its own life, a pulse. My imagination is electrified and my pulse is skyrocketing.
Irrational thoughts are tingling.
How could these legs be alive?
What is that lump?
A crab suddenly emerges from the galosh popping out and scaring the hell out of me. I turn and climb the sand, cross A1A, and return home. I’m shaking but I manage to call the police and report my find.
An officer questions me later in the day then collects the galoshes and lower legs for forensic investigation.
The immense devastation of hurricane Irma brought great loss to our beaches and our city but also left me with nightmares. I can’t wear my socks for morning walks to look over the ocean anymore.
I can’t wear socks anymore. Just the thought of socks makes my nerves fry. I dream I was in those boots. The thick grey socks bind me to bodiless legs. The dream is with me every night for the past six months.
I clean the bone saw every night before bed. My great-grandfather was a field doctor in World War 1. He left me the bone saw.
I’m glad I found this new fishing pole in my backyard a few weeks ago. Wonder who went through my yard and forgot it.
I have to complain again to the police about people using my hose to clean off after leaving the beach. Some of them leave their old, dirty socks in my yard. They walk by my house and cross A1A to go fishing.
I hope we don’t have another hurricane soon.
Never see the sun.
Dazed and lost in a dream.
I’m awake or so it seems.
Riding waves in socks filled with blood and fun.