The sea had a forbidding aspect from where he stood, despite the warm morning sunlight. It wasn’t really blue, more a darker sort of colour, a blackish bluish hue with occasional shades of purple and even turquoise, changing as it moved and swirling at the whim of the gusts and current. There was a wind blowing, not a breeze but a wind. If it had been a breeze, it would have been an unusually strong one. It was blowing in from the west, from Africa. Sometimes when it blew in strongly enough, it would bring red Sahara sand with it and the cars parked close to the beach would be covered with a red all-enveloping dust giving them an abandoned look.

People sat on the beach, braving the breeze and taking the last of late October’s sun. Just a few couples or families, dotted here and there, reading the occasional newspaper, or perhaps a book.

The man sat on the sand. He shielded his eyes and looked out to sea his hand cupped to sharpen the blurs. If he held the position long enough the hand helped him to see the actual waves as they broke on the horizon, There were boats out; a sailing vessel with a swollen spinnaker reminded him of a well pregnant colourfully dressed skater. A fishing boat and a couple of smaller craft hung listlessly well below the horizon, out fishing for the day. Close to the shore a pedalo, and a lone figure braving the chill swimming in the choppy water.

The man stayed a while Just sitting listening to the sea, feeling the strong caress of the breeze and the warming rays of the sunlight. He seemed mesmerised just gazing seaward, but in fact, he was thanking God for the wonder of his daily creation. The moment would arrive spontaneously when he would stand up and go into the ocean for his daily swim. It was always good if someone was swimming before him, not for any particular reason; it just made him feel better.

He waded in treading gingerly on the stones which had been washed ashore by the storm of the night before, together with occasional piles of driftwood. There was a small step, and as he went down it, he jumped forward into the wave and screamed to lessen the effect of the sudden cold encompassing his body. He swam aggressively for the first twenty metres using a breast style with his arms low down in the water, cupped hands pulling him along powerfully so that half of his back and his shoulders rose out of the water with every stroke.

He flipped over at the end of a move into a gentle but intense backstroke and pulled his way through the sea rapidly for some one hundred metres.  He stopped and just lay there, floating, his body now adjusted to that of his momentary environment, his heart beating gracefully, at rest.

When he turned into the next wavelet to resume his swim, he swam into the vivid gold of the sun shining off the water; you needed to be in the sea to see it. It came in sheets all moving together it was like being immersed in one endless composition of floating, leaping dancing sheets of gold, a giant field of incandescent burnished lustre. It blinded him as he was looking directly into its brilliance, uninhibitedly, glorying in the wonder of creation. It was the sort of blindness that created phantoms, floating black spots, and objects.

One of the black phantoms didn’t disappear, so he blinked his eyes to clear them, once, twice it just seemed to continue there, growing larger slowly.

The man swam gently but surely, pulling hard into the brilliance and toward the black object. The wavelets and the current gradually swept it along to where he pulled with long strokes. He was curious now, the object continued its gradual traverse, and he tried shielding his eyes to see into the glare. It was bigger than he had thought and suddenly not so black. Then he saw movement and realised that it was a hand, many hands waving. It was some sort of boat lying very low in the water, and there were people, black faces and shirts, garments of all colours. There were hundreds of them all sitting together tightly cramped.

A sound of wailing, of moaning and crying, reached the swimmer’s ears. He saw that the craft was actually sinking and that the occasional wave, even though they were not big was swamping it. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed some men on the beach waving and shouting. He swam now urgently, desperately towards the sinking rubber boat noticing two or three men in the water pulling the object toward the shore. He grabbed a line and started pulling shoreward but the boat was underwater, and people were screaming now.

Other swimmers were coming out from the shore to help, it was only two hundred metres or so, and yet people were drowning. The pulling was useless; the boat had become a dead weight in the water, the man went amongst the people, and taking a screaming woman from the multitude grabbed her and two hysterical children and pulled them backward by the neck or by the hair toward the shore. Others had joined him as he struggled dumping the rescued and returning for more, again and again, but the screaming continued, and he was exhausted now.

When they dragged him up the shore, out of the sea, he asked if all had been saved, but no one answered, and looking towards the light he saw them pulling lifeless bodies from the water. He could hear sirens and could see uniformed men arriving, and a big cutter drew up offshore, and he could see frogmen dropping into the sea.

This truly, he thought was the start of Armageddon.

Paul OGarra. In Tribute to the multitudes of faceless victims of those evil persons, corporations, and countries who have the audacity to wave the flag of the Western, Eastern, and Christian worlds and civilizations in an evil pursuit of their own world hegemony and interests.