A reading from Wade Beneath the Waves by Emily Charlotte Ould:
“The sand pulls at my toes like syrup, all thick and wet. It’s like quicksand; in places, it swirls like it’s alive, dribbling water back to its rock pools where all the crabs and fishes live. We had to climb down hundreds of steps to get here. It was like marching down a giant staircase in a castle leading to a dungeon, but instead of darkness we can see as far as forever with bright, blue sky above us and the great big ocean in front.
“The waves come in all at once, and then all the way out again, taking it in turns. Right in front of me, foam sprays off the waves like steam from the shower, curling up and up until it disappears into the sky. Little black dots line the waves, moving fast and all in zigzags, and I point and laugh at them until Granny tells me they’re surfers – people who like the ocean more than they like the land.
“‘I bet the buggers would breathe water if they could,’ Granddad says.
Watching them float up and down against the waves, I wonder what surfers look like up close. I wonder whether they have gills like fish and whether, when they speak, if they speak in bubbles.
I bet the buggers would if they could.”
Wade Beneath the Waves will be published in the forthcoming short story collection – Cornwall: Misfits, Curiosities and Legends.