He came down the steps to the beach at a jog; so familiar with the path, he no longer had to think about where to place his feet. His gaze was drawn to the horizon where sea met sky. Breathtaking. Deep breath. Salt. Kelp. Laundry detergent from his freshly washed T-shirt. The view never got old. The tide was out. Screeching seagulls. Sand pipers poking into the ebbing waters, looking for snacks. Thank You. He whispered the prayer.
To his immediate right was the pier, a few old men fishing off it. He remembered at time from his childhood being there with his dad when a fisherman had caught a small hammer head shark. He smiled at the memory. To his left in the distance he could see the power plant; that way looked relatively empty and he chose to run that direction.
He stretched, then set off down the beach at a jog until his muscles warmed up. His Nikes slapped the wet sand in a comforting rhythm. He gradually increased his pace until he was sprinting down the shore. Heart pounding, blood pumping, breathing measured. Every muscle in his body felt alive.
His morning run was suddenly disrupted when he tripped over something on the beach. His ankle twisted and he heard a crunch as he fell forward. He rolled onto his back and sat up. What he saw caused him to yell, but it came out as a gasp. Horror hit his brain and shot adrenaline into his system, causing him to feel cold and nauseated simultaneously. He scooted backward in the sand, then reached for his phone.
“911. What’s your emergency?”