and I hope the rising black smoke carries me far away
The ocean looked silver in the moonlight. Leah was spending more and more of her time at the coastline, a cold voice whispering to her the statistics—she’d checked—about how many people a year drown at sea. Sam had been gone for a week, and Leah felt like she was the only one who cared. Her hair tangled in the breeze, the papers clenched in her fist rustling. Sam’s face stared back at her on the poster. It was a copy of a copy, the ink that detailed the lines of his face grainy and slightly difficult to read, but it was still unmistakably Sam Uley.
She’d been printing them off with a sort of mania, desperate to do something.
The police seemed to drag their feet, even Charlie Swan wasn’t able to do much despite Leah’s insistence that this wasn’t like him. Sam wouldn’t just disappear on her, he’d promised. He wouldn’t leave her like his father had left him.
It had been a week, and Leah felt so very small staring out at the ocean. Leah’s never really missed people before.
Old friends would exclaim they’d missed seeing her, Emily had said it not so long ago—“I’ve missed you Leah!”
And she would respond in kind because it was expected of her, because she was supposed to miss people. She didn’t miss Sam, not the way she knew she should have. She felt frantic with fear, anxiety clawed at her chest and made her fingers tremble as she spoke with the police. Staring out at the silvery sea, Leah Clearwater felt sick. A twig snapped somewhere behind her.