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From Afar

I am a murderer. On August 2 of last year, yes I remember the date perfectly, that is when I killed a little boy. Let me explain in full. My wife and I decided to go to the beach early that day, wanted to soak in some sun before everyone else arrived. As expected we were the only ones there. We climbed upon a large rock formation and laid there, this was the spot. I mean ‘the spot’. The best spot to get a view of the entire beach. The waves crashing sounded so nice. The rock beneath us so warm.

As I’ve said before we were the only ones at the beach at this time, or so I thought. After some time of laying out in the sun I began to hear yelling. More of a yell-gasp-yell-gasp sequence. I sat up from the large rock to see a boy in the ocean, yelling and gasping for air. The boy looked to be about 10 or 11 maybe 12. I remember looking down at my wife, if you can believe it she only moved to roll over.

I knew I wasn’t hearing things or seeing things, it was actually happening, the boy in the distance of the ocean was drowning. I nudged my wife in order to jar her out of her relaxation. Certainly this was important enough. Crankily she sat up, I pointed towards him. Out into the ocean she gazed where my finger guided. She for certain saw him flailing his arms about, desperately yelling and gasping for air.

I remember asking her what to do. Like some child seeing his puppy choking on a bone. She told me to stop pointing, I obeyed. After that she was silent. I looked around, all around hoping for some sign of life. Besides my wife there was nothing, nothing at all. No people around, just like we wanted. I thought about jumping from the rock, running toward the ocean and saving the boy. But jumping from that distance would surely shatter my ankle.
If only we had brought a cell phone, but even then it would take forever for help to arrive. The boy’s head bobbed in the water, up and down. Soon the yelling and gasping stopped. He only flailed for a few seconds more and then he stopped. The ocean tossed him in every direction possible and within minutes he was gone. Swallowed up into the ocean. I could not move for several seconds after, it felt like an eternity but I do remember the first thing I did when I broke myself from my murderous trance.

I listened. I never heard what I expected to hear next. The scream of a mother running toward the ocean or a booming voice from above judging me for my cowardly act. Nothing else was said. No one else saw the incident. The whole thing felt strange, even now a slew of questions run past me. Where was his family? Did he come to the beach alone? If so then he must live close to the beach right? If not then why would he be here alone? If he didn’t know how to swim then why did he jump into the ocean? These questions constantly buzz by me.

They annoy me like a group of small insects whizzing by, I cannot swat them away though. I have come to accept the fact that I’ve killed that boy, not by my hands but more so by my uncaring gaze. However I am not alone in this. I do share this burden, this act of nonchalant homicide would be too much for me if I bared it alone. My wife, the accomplice, she’s in on it too.

We both share the burden. As we should, because we are murders. I confess to all future allegations in case this statement is to be read before or after my atonement.

Rickey Rivers Jr lives in Mobile Alabama and is an author of flash fiction, short stories, dribble and drabble. He has been previously published in everydayfiction, flashesinthedark and Fiction365.


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