Signs (March 2020, Week 3 Day 4)

The sky was blue, the sand was blonde, and the body at the edge of the water was red. It had been there since dawn, or at least that’s when Mitch came upon it. He didn’t know why he’d been the one to find it but he believed it was meant to be. He stopped at the edge of the beach as soon as it caught his eye. It wasn’t something he was likely to walk past, not with all the time he’d spent studying death. He didn’t know why it was there, why he found it, what had killed it, but he was sure it was a sign of something. 

Mitch saw signs on the regular. He was attuned to them, or at least that’s what his guru told him every time he brought word of another sign back to the compound. He’d been out wandering for a few weeks – longer than usual – and he had just started to wonder if he’d lost his connection to God. Now, with this red body laying in front of him, he knew it was time to go back.

Instead of calling for help Mitch eased his sketchbook and pencils out of his messenger bag and walked closer to the body. The breeze was strong and in his favor so whatever odor may have been present was being sent out over the sea rather than into Mitch’s nose. He dropped the bag and lowered himself down onto the sand, sitting on his knees. He was within three feet of the body which was the perfect distance to capture its essence on the page.

Mitch let himself sink into the lines and curves as he recreated the man – now that he was close enough at least that much was clear – using only a single pencil. Light and dark danced together and the resulting likeness was frighteningly accurate. When he was done, the drawing Mitch made seemed to have all the life the man on the beach was lacking. He was looking back and forth from his image to the dead man when he heard the scream.

He knew before he turned around that the scream was coming from a woman, and he’d even had a good guess of her age. She stood six feet behind him, one hand on her mouth, the other arm wrapped around her middle, screaming  one long note after the other, her eyes glued to the dead man.

Mitch looked from her to him to his sketchbook. It took him longer than it should have to put away his art supplies and go to the woman. Even though she had to have seen him – he was directly between her and the dead man – she gave no indication of noticing him. 

“You’re in shock.” Mitch spoke in the spaces between her screams. “There’s nothing to be done.” He put a hand on her shoulder. “Please, stop?”

The screams ended as abruptly as they began. The woman’s eyes snapped away from the dead man and onto Mitch.

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