MidReal Story

The Lost Treasure of Dorset Beach

Scenario: A dazzlingly clear morning and I am standing on a rock-strewn, deserted beach in Dorset.
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A dazzlingly clear morning and I am standing on a rock-strewn, deserted beach in Dorset.
The sand creaked beneath my feet as I stepped onto the rock-strewn promontory, a low spit of pebble-strewn beach that jutted out to meet the incoming tide.
It was early and the beach was deserted, not an unusual occurrence, as you had to hike across a mile of nature reserve to reach it and it didn’t have any facilities other than a few weather-beaten benches.
A dog barked off in the distance and I turned to look at the cliffs towering above me, their craggy faces stained with rust-colored lichen.
There were no figures darkening the headland and I frowned, trying to ignore the unease that slithered down my spine.
The cliffs were a popular spot for hikers and birdwatchers, but they weren’t safe.
I’d heard about the falls that happened from time to time and while most were just accidents, there were some that weren’t.
I knew I should be more worried about the dog barking in the distance than I was, but my stomach wasn’t dropping like it should be.
It was just another example of how numb I’d become over the years.
I turned back to face the sea, letting the wind whip my hair across my face.
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The sea was a deep azure, its surface broken by white-capped waves that surged toward the beach with relentless determination.
I could hear them crashing against the rocks just out of sight as I stood there, feeling the sand shift beneath my feet with each passing wave.
A seagull swooped low across the surface, its wings flashing white as it caught the first rays of the morning sun.
The sun had barely started to rise, but its golden light was already reflecting off of the water, casting everything in a warm, peaceful glow.
It was beautiful here, so different from the city that I’d left behind, with its noise and filth burying me alive each day.
There were days when I missed it so much that it hurt, but not today.
The sound of footsteps on shingle behind me broke into my thoughts and I turned to see who it was.
A man stood at the water’s edge not far away, his feet in the surf as he gazed out to sea.
He hadn’t noticed me yet and I took advantage of it to look him over.
He was tall, with broad shoulders that tapered down to a narrow waist.
His jeans hugged his hips like they’d been painted on and he was barefoot, his feet tan and surprisingly small for his size.
I couldn’t see his face clearly as he was staring out to sea and it gave me an opportunity to study him without him even knowing.
He was almost too good-looking for his own good, with thick blond hair that fell into his face, obscuring his features.
The sun caught in it as I watched, turning it into a halo of gold that made him look like an angel.
He wasn’t wearing a shirt and I could see how his skin was tanned from head to toe.
It made me wonder if he spent all of his time on this deserted beach or if he lived in town.
I watched him as I waited for him to turn around and stop looking out to sea.
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The sun glinted off of something behind him as I stood there watching and I squinted into the distance.
There was an object in the water that I hadn’t noticed before, a shape that looked almost human as it lay there in the surf.
It wasn’t a person though.
As I looked closer I could see that it was a figurehead from a ship.
I knew that there were wrecks out here.
I’d been told about them years before by one of my professors at university.
We knew of three that had gone down in this area over the years: The Golden Lark in 1677; The Lady Grace in 1721; and The Sea Nymph in 1812.
There were probably more out there though.
I’d always wanted to find them so that I could see what they could tell me about the time that they went down.
The figurehead was in surprisingly good shape for something that had been in the water for so long.
It looked like a woman, with long hair that fell down her back in curly waves.
She wore a dress that clung to her hips before flaring out into a mass of ruffles.
There were even shoes on her feet that looked like they were made of brass.
I’d never seen anything like it before and I watched as the man stepped toward her with a smile on his face.
He leaned down to pick her up as I watched through my binoculars and I smiled as I watched him stand up with her in his arms.
He was walking back up the beach when he finally spotted me standing there watching him.
He froze for a second when he saw me standing there watching him before he started walking toward me.
“Good morning,” I said as he approached.
I know that I shouldn’t have been talking to strangers on deserted beaches before dawn, but I’d always been curious about the figureheads on the wrecks that went down in this area.
I’d only ever found one of them before though.
It had washed up on the beach in 1677 and I’d been the first person to see it in over two hundred years.
I’d had to leave it behind though as the authorities had claimed it before I’d even gotten the chance to study it.
I’d hated doing that as I knew that they didn’t have anyone who could.
My department couldn’t either, so it had ended up in storage in a museum somewhere.
It was such a waste of time though.
“Good morning,” he said with a smile on his face as he approached.
His voice was low and rough as he spoke and I liked it.
It reminded me of the ocean when it was angry and full of storms.
“Do you know anything about the figurehead that you’re carrying?”
He laughed at my question.
He had a nice laugh and I smiled as I listened to him.
“It’s not mine,” he said finally.
“I haven’t been around here for a while.”
He was staring at me while he spoke and his eyes were so blue that they almost looked black.
They were so dark that they looked like they absorbed the light around them.
I watched him as he spoke, studying him with interest.
He was even better-looking close up than he was at a distance.
His face was tanned and rugged, with high cheekbones that hinted at Viking blood somewhere in his past.
His eyes were deep set beneath dark brows and his jaw was square with just a hint of stubble on it.
He was older than he looked at first glance too.
His skin was creased at his eyes with laughter lines radiating out from them in all directions.
He wasn’t old by any stretch of the imagination though.
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His eyes met mine as I watched him, holding me in place while we studied each other for long seconds.
“I’m Jack,” he said, extending his hand after a few seconds of silence had passed between us.
I was so surprised that I didn’t know what to say for a few seconds while my brain caught up with me.
I’d never seen him before, but then, my department worked out of London, so it wasn’t all that surprising that I didn’t know him, even though the town wasn’t all that big really.
“I’m Emma,” I said eventually, taking his hand in mine to shake it, while trying to ignore the tingles that spread throughout my body at his touch.He raised his eyebrows as I did so, but didn’t mention it even though I could tell that he was surprised by the gesture.
“Nice to meet you,” he said with a nod of his head once we’d stopped shaking hands.
“So, do you know anything about this place?”
I asked to break the silence that had fallen between us while we’d been shaking hands.
His face was so close to mine that I had to look up to see it now that we were no longer touching each other.
His eyes were still staring at me, and I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to get away from him any time soon.
Good, I thought.
I liked looking at him and his eyes were mesmerizing.
“I used to come down here with my mates when I was younger,” he said after a few seconds of silence.
I wasn’t sure why he was being so vague though, and didn’t know what to ask next.
“Are you from around here?”
I asked eventually, deciding that that would be the best way to get more information out of him.
He hesitated before answering my question though, which confused me even more.
“I’m from around these parts,” he said eventually, without actually saying where exactly, which made me frown even more.
“Why don’t you take a seat over there,” I said, pointing to the log next to me while trying not to let him see how frustrated I was by his answers.
He paused for a few seconds before nodding his head and walking over to sit down next to me.
I watched him while he did so, studying him with interest once more.
It was hard not to study him actually as his presence was so intense that it seemed like it filled up all of my available space.
“So how do you know about this place?”
he asked once we were both seated on the log together.
He turned toward me while he spoke and I could feel the heat of his body next to me on the log even though we weren’t actually touching.
“I don’t really,” I admitted with a shrug of my shoulders.
“I’ve only ever been here once before.”
He turned toward me with interest when I said that and I knew that I’d surprised him somehow.
“Don’t you work around here?”
he asked with surprise in his voice.
“I would have thought that this place would have been crawling with your people by now.”
He laughed when I spoke, but his eyes never left mine while we talked.
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