Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)
TITLE: Scarifyingly Not Unpleasant
By Catrina Bradley
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<I>A nibble. I've got a nibble. Dare I claim a catch at this early stage? 'Tis a most promising nibble, to be sure.</I>
Gentle rays from a distant sun caress and flush his skin, seeping into wrinkles, folds, and pores, working with the coating of sunscreen to burnish him oh so slightly. An occasional breaker produces a mist of cool refreshment and a contented sigh.
<I>Ahh, I smell victory's sweet aroma blowing in on the ocean breeze. </I>
The prey wiggles his saggy hind-end and his soft shoulders, digging a more comfortable nest in the sand. His hand reaches to his face, removes his imitation Ray Bans, and pulls his cap down, concealing his thinning gray pate and shading his eyes. Another peaceful sigh escapes as he drops his mottled hand back to the ground at his side.
<I>Yes, this one finally belongs to me. He simply needed a convincing demonstration of my charms. </I>
"George? Georgieee!!" A diminutive woman donning a wide-brimmed hat and a sheer jacket over her modest bathing suit rounds the protective rock and invades the solitude. "Oh, there you are! What on earth are you doing?"
<I>No, woman! Quiet your shrieking. He is as good as caught in the claws of my clutch. Go away. </I>
"Laying in the sun." The prey reaches for the brim of his cap and tugs it down further over his eyes. A satisfied murmur leaves his lips as his arthritic frame absorbs summer's heat from the sun-soaked sand.
<I>Yes! Now leave him alone. </I>
"I can see that. I mean why are you laying on the beach? You hate sand."
<I>Busybody. Mind your own beeswax. </I>
"And you're not too fond of summer, either, George. Thirty-five years I've been trying to get you leave the air conditioning and get out here with me. So what gives?" Her bony fists poke her hipbones and her elbows stick out like stork's knees as she stares down her husband.
<I>Woman! Are you not on my side? Leave him be. I will not let this one get away again. </I>
A lonely cloud seeks out the sun like iron to a magnet, affording the prey a few minutes of cool respite. He props himself on his elbows and removes his cap, allowing the breeze to drift across his sweaty scalp
The phrase 'scarifyingly not unpleasant' harkens to his tongue, but he refrains from such blatant transparency.
"Everyone out here looks always looks so relaxed, like they're having so much fun. And you love summer so much you plan our only vacation around it. I thought maybe I ought to give it a go. Maybe I might have been wrong all these years, who's to say? Maybe I ought at least give it a try."
<I>He's on the hook now... </I>
The prey lay back down, resettling into his nest and shading his face with his cap just as the sun reappeared.
<I>Could it be? He doesn't seem to be retreating. Is it possible? </I>
"Well, then, what's your verdict?"
<I>Yes, what is your verdict? </I>
From underneath the brim of his cap, the prey's smile bespoke his surrender.
Summer claims another victim.
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