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The Sands of Fate: A Detective Conan Story

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The Sands of Fate: A Detective Conan Story
By Rowena Zahnrei

Prologue
Tatadohama Beach
Shimoda
Shizuoka Prefecture
0647 JST

Soft waves lapped the beach, the wet sand painted gold by the early morning sun. Ryota laughed and staggered out of the surf, dragging his surfboard behind him.

“Hey, Kosuke-kun!” he called to his friend over his shoulder. “Hurry up! That breakfast place I was telling you about opens in ten minutes, and we’ve still got to wash the salt off and change clothes.”

Kosuke stood in the water, clutching his surfboard under his arm and shivering in his worn, hand-me-down wetsuit. Ryota had splurged on a brand new wetsuit just the week before, and Kosuke knew exactly why.

“Give me a break, Ryota-kun,” he said grumpily. “The only reason you’re interested in that place is because that girl you like from physics class works there part time. She's the only reason you seem to be interested in anything lately.”

Ryota’s face was already flushed from surfing in the chilly autumn waves, but at that his color deepened even further. He opened his mouth to retort, but gasped and stumbled backwards instead, nearly tumbling over his surfboard.

“Hey, what’s wrong with you?” Kosuke said, sloshing onto the sand beside him. “I was only teasing. I didn’t mean—”

“Kosuke-kun…” Ryota managed to choke out, clutching at his friend’s sleeve. “L-look over there!”

“Over where?”

“There, over there!” Ryota pointed urgently.

Kosuke squinted against the sunlight, moving forward until he could clearly see what had upset his friend so badly.

“Oh my…” He brought a hand to his mouth. “Oh my— It’s…it’s a man. Ryota-kun, I think he’s dead!”

“Drowned?”

“I…I don’t think so...”

Kosuke set his board down and crouched cautiously beside the body. The man lay sprawled on his back right at the tide line, his eyes closed, his mouth open, and his dark business suit already beginning to dry.

“Look at this," he said. "His mouth is completely filled with sand!”

Kosuke leaned in closer, and frowned.

“Wait…I think… Oh... Oh, shit, something’s moving—!”

Both young men screamed in horror as a tiny beach crab crawled out of the sand in the dead man’s mouth and scuttled down into his expensive-looking suit.

Ryota dropped his board and raced up the beach, to where they’d left their clothes.

“Hey, where are you going!” Kosuke shrieked, following after him. “You can’t leave me alone with this dead guy!”

“I gotta find my cell phone!” Ryota shouted back. “We need to call the cops, right now!”

To Be Continued...