But it hadn’t been a statue, had it? Just an attractive lady exceptionally good at the Mannequin Challenge?  He hadn’t gotten a good look at the statue when he pulled up, but only saw it after pulling into the small parking lot. He just assumed. 

He continued scanning the empty dune, its creamy sand bright in the moonlight. It had been there. Or rather SHE had been there. He bent his head down and listened, hearing only the blood rush into his ears, the distant beep, blink of Highway 12 and the lulling in-out of the lake’s waves, like the world’s laziest clock.  In and out. In…out…



Behind you?

The waves are behind you.

He twisted quickly. A comely shape stood still as a stone next to the trunk of his car. He leaned back, bending awkwardly over the hood of his car. His heart banged in his chest like a frozen drum.

“I’m sorry,” he said, not sure why he was apologizing.  It just popped out. An apology seemed the thing to do.

The lady assessed him with her eyes for a long moment without moving. The only hint of humanity came from the periodic blink of her curious eyes and the tightness of her bodice as it rose and fell with each breath.

A bodice? he wondered. Who the hell wears a bodice? Or an ankle-length dress? The clothes she wore would have been fashionable maybe a hundred years ago and he could see the fabric was rough and likely homespun.

But the form beneath it…

He was a healthy male with a healthier imagination and an even healthier appreciation of the female form. And no matter how anachronistic her clothing seemed, the shape beneath was anything but. Her strong, curving femininity filled the rough cloth in places and ways that caused car accidents and divorces. While not beautiful, her face possessed a vigorous prettiness earned from years of playing and working in the sun, not eked out on a treadmill under fluorescent tubes.

He knew kissing her would be like kissing a moist summer wind. That thought made him shiver, and his heart beat even faster. But fear wasn’t the only factor now. His put-upon blood pumper was rushing service to another part of his body now.

“I—I didn’t—don’t mean to disturb you,” he said.

She nodded, raised her hand slowly and then gently walked to him, her legs swishing in the long dress.

He didn’t move, couldn’t move. The lapping waves grew louder and louder as she approached and then the sweet, oily tang of flowers enveloped him. Not the scent of flowers in coolers and vases with polite smells and impolite prices. This was the heavy perfume of wildflowers growing in secret patches, attended only by rain clouds and bees.