On A Beach Just East Of Hopelessness.
On A Beach Just East Of Despair
We stood huddled underneath the snack bars tiny awning,
a mass of bathers who had dashed up from the beach,
as the sky darkened into a broiling mass of green black,
and huge dollops of rain pelted our freshly sunned flesh.
Like dyslexic lemmings we ran to the only place nearby,
hoping it would blow over, letting summer's bliss unfold again.
I was but nine years old, and shivering cold in that stormy breeze.
She was a straggler, dragging a towel behind her
just a young girl no more then seven or eight,
running in flip-flops that slowed her down.
Suddenly twenty pairs of eyes filled with horror,
and a scream erupted from one petrified soul behind me,
as a ball of lightening spit venom from the sky,
just after hacking a deafening rumble,
From it's huge raw throat.
Everyone started praying,
and screaming at that little girl
"Run, honey, run, hurry, Oh, God! Hurry, please!!"
Hands grabbed at one woman, and held her back
knowing she would die out there.
They gripped her tightly,
as a monstrous bolt struck the ground
and ran like a demonic beach ball
across that wide stretch
that led up from the beach.
The little girl only looked back once,
but the terror in her eyes,
as they pleaded with someone to help her,
still haunts me to this day.
She managed to cry out one word..."Moooooommmmyyy!!??"
but then she was flung into the air
as a sizzle, pop, sound accompanied
the stench of burning flesh and hair
which filled, and clogged our nostrils.
Then just as quickly
she was slammed back down the earth
into a smoking pile of char and death.
I was not allowed to go see her,
even though I had watched her die.
parents quickly shielded our eyes
with damp beach towels and watched with grateful sorrow
as well as abject distress,
as her mother ran across the mounds of sand
to try and help her precious, lost child.
But tears do not soothe the burns
of mother natures fury,
and she could not even hold her daughter,
as park rangers pulled her away from the cremains.
I heard later from my dad
that some sick, and twisted souls
had broken into the funeral home
and stolen her corpse two days later,
and that it was never found.
Double the loss for her family,
and the horror felt by me
of knowing and living through her tragic tale.
Now I sometimes cringe when left exposed in open space
where thunder rumbles, and lightning flashes the many
long slashes of its electrical swords unleashed.
And occasionally I see her face
her eyes wide with dread,
in that last instant of her life
ihat ended near a beach so long ago,
just east of hopelessness, and death.
*Cremains: This is a word applied to those remains who have been cremated, it sadly applied most aptly to this little girl who suffered massive burns.