Down by the Sea
Chester Springs was a quiet village to say the least. The extremely small population meant everyone knew each other, and if anything out of the ordinary occurred, everyone knew about it. That also meant that any strangers coming through the town were instantly recognized as such. In addition to being a small quiet village, Chester Springs had the benefit of being right on the coast, which meant the majority of the economy was a result of fishing. There were also farmers, and most of the women could sew and spin fabrics, so despite the size and distance from other towns, the village thrived.
Waiting for Death
Mary Patrick had lived in her home for years, and no one ever bothered her. She didn't bother her neighbors either. They were kind enough, occassionally someone would send one of their boys over to help her with her groceries when they seen her carrying her grocery bags inside, and she'd reward them with some candy or a dollar or two. Nothing more than what would be expected of an elderly lady living alone.
For as long as I can remember, I've been drawn to the water. I couldn't explain why it was so appealing. Perhaps it was the fact that I wasn't allowed to go near it. Maybe there was an allure in the forbidden. As a small child I thought perhaps it was because my parents couldn't swim. Maybe they were worried I'd get too deep and drown, and they wouldn't be able to save me. However, as I got older I started to realize that no one in my small village went near the water. No one went to the ocean, no one went to the beach. As I started going to school I had even more people warning me away from the water. Teachers told us not to even step foot on the beach. Most people listened to the warnings and didn't question it, but I needed to know why. I couldn't understand it. I'd sit on the hill overlooking the beach, and I would read or draw while I watched the waves crash. Then I'd go home and ask my parents why I couldn't go on the beach. They'd say there were too many rip tides and I'd be snatched out to sea, unable to ever come back. That didn't make sense though, so I'd go to school and question the teachers. Then I'd get in trouble for not "falling in line like everyone else." I'd ask neighbors on the street, and they'd say it was because of an oil spill from long ago that never got cleaned up. I'd ask the grocer and the baker, and they'd say it was from some big company dumping toxic waste and killing everything; poisoning the water. That was why there was never any fish, and the next town over was so far away that it wasn't worth travelling to get any.