Her arms rose even higher above her head. From the ground below her, it looked like she was trying to embrace the sky, stars and moon. A great roar built up, not the roar of a wave but a tsunami.

IN…

…out

She was gone. Just gone. Like David Copperfield’s assistant or smallpox, she simply vanished.

He lowered his head to the sand, turning his cheek to meet the rough coolness and cried. And cried and then, with his adrenaline dissipated, he fell asleep. 

He woke with a jolt an hour later.  Freezing water had drenched his face like a slap and he jerked his head up, just in time to see the seething mass of cold water rolling back out again. The tide.

He twisted and turned, pushing himself back with his good leg. His other leg didn’t hurt, but it felt weak and detached, like his body only had a temporary lease on it. 

Once he pushed back far enough, he turned and saw his Taurus. Quiet, content Taurus. No bodice in the sand, no dress. No sign she existed at all. Just lots of sand and his clumsy, limping footprints.

He shook his head and lifted a middle finger to the night sky. “A damn dream?” A dream? Really? The most real dream he had ever had. As real as the sand between his lips or the slowly thumping throb of a migraine now awakening in his head.

It took him a few minutes to stand, but he was able to work his bum leg into a stiff, exaggerated swing of a walk. Enough to get back to his car anyway. Get in the car, go home and pull the sheets over—

He stared at his clumsy, wide footprints in the sand. They looked like the world’s smallest mortar explosions.

But paired with them were footprints so detailed and delicate, it was like someone stamped them into the sand. Footprints much smaller than his own. Footprints of a woman.

He stood there on the edge of the Indiana Dunes, his head rotating like a lighthouse, not sure where he should be looking, or what he should be looking at.

But knowing exactly the person he was looking for…