It was early evening, maybe about 8 o'clock, and the sun was just starting to dip below the horizon. Clouds were beginning to form in the cobalt sky, insulating the remaining heat from the stifling day and promising a lusciously warm evening ahead. It had been hot, even by the harsh standards of Canarian summers, and the scents of prospering wildflowers filled the thick, sultry air. It was a still afternoon, not a breeze to be had to alleviate the cloying heat, and the coming night was loaded with potentially suffocating warmth.
The beach was tiny compared to the resorts further along the coastline, sheltered by the surrounding forests of palm trees. It was an almost perfect semi-circle of fine, dark volcanic sand, with not a trace of the inland civilization in sight – an unspoilt, secluded paradise on an island gradually being colonised by armies of skyscrapers, strip clubs and tourist traps. There was a humble building near the eastern end of the beach, a traditional affair on stilts with a straw roof and a mishmash of wood and corrugated metal forming the walls. Small birds perched high in the frondy branches of the trees, chirruping softly to themselves and each other, while minute lizards scuttled energetically around on the sun-warmed rocks which bordered the beach, close to the outskirts of the palm forest.
The sea was calm and still, the waters lapping nonchalantly at the shore. It stretched out, undisturbed, to the dark line of the horizon. On a clear day, and from the highest point on the island, another land mass could just be made out as a sliver of brown and green, resting on the edge of the sky. Swirls of inky blackness from the darkest depths penetrated the clear turquoise surface, transforming the usually sparkling azure waters into a more forbidding ocean, fit for the shadowy world that the coming of the night creates. Tiny fish darted close to the surface, glinting silver in the rays of the setting sun. Glowing green phosphorescence gave...
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