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Into Thin Air
By Colleen

It was dark. It was late. There was no one near the beach, not that he was modest about such things. He carefully removed his duster and folded it, laying it on the ground, then stripped off his boots, shirt and jeans. He waded into the water slowly, letting it lap at his legs, then midriff. Usually he would plunge in at this point, but the salt on his cuts and bruises would sting too sharply. So he walked down into the water, letting it heal the pain. The outer pain.

He swam a bit, stretching his muscles. The salt worked into his wounds. It was a good hurt.

He walked back out onto the beach. As he rose from the water, a gentle breeze played around his head and over his face, soothing the swollen bruises with cool gusts. It whipped across his shoulders, licking at the scratches she had left there in better times. Such a short time ago. A lifetime ago. Across his abdomen and to his back it spun, little gentle gusts, like breath. Across his buttocks. Down his thighs. Over his feet. A cool breeze, even cooler than he was. He let it massage him.

The beads of water dried cold against his skin.

The wind picked up a bit. It tousled his hair like a loverís fingers. It kissed across his lips. He tilted his head back, and let it wash over him. He reached his hands out from his sides, embracing the night, embracing the wind. It asked nothing of him. It refreshed and delighted him.

There, naked on the beach, caressed by the breeze, eyes shut to the darkness, he smiled.


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