The beach reflected the sunlight, burning golden hot under Molly’s small gentle feet. She trotted across the hot dry sand to the edge of the ocean where the cool salty water washed gently over her toes. The soft wet sand gave way under each step, leaving small indents which, when the waves drained away, contained small pools of water. Molly stopped and looked back at her footsteps as she went and then purposefully began to drag her toes in the wet sand.
‘People will think a turtle has come ashore when they see these marks,’ she thought to herself. She stopped after eighteen turtle-steps and looked back to see that the marks were being eroded by the gentle waves.
Being carefree she forgot this game and stared out to the horizon where dark blue storm clouds were gathering. White caps on the rough sea broke in the distance and Molly pretended they were the tails of thousands of whales slapping the waters surface.
“It will be a storm,” she said to herself, having heard her mother say so to Aunty Joan as she left the house.
Further on, only five minutes walk along the quiet beach, were huge granite stones. The stones caused the waves to become dangerous and they smashed into the huge house sized boulders sending up wild spray. If Molly were to fall in, she imagined, she would be smashed into thousands of pieces and then dragged into the deep water where animals would eat her. She had been told not to go there and climb on the rocks. She was allowed to go that far as long as she turned around and came home as soon as she reached them. It was her morning exercise during the family vacation, a chance for her to get out of the rented beach house and work off the morning energy that would tear her apart internally if she did not run it off.
The rocks loomed dark and mightily before her, crooked ancient trees grew along the highland behind them. Their huge heavy branches reached out to the sky, creating a beautiful effect of green on blue. The grey clouds came closer to the shore but did not worry Molly, she hoped it would rain, she loved the rain on these hot slow days.
She climbed up the closest rock using the large dimples to gain ahold. It was hard work, but soon she was on top with only a scuff on one knee where little drops of blood formed. It was nothing to worry her. She brushed herself and delicately touched her knee for a moment and then looked for a puddle to wash with. She froze, the terrible pain of a sudden shock ripped through her chest. A man with long grey hair and dark eyes sat on a stone which jutted out from this nest of rocks. The man was looking out to sea, but as Molly watched the man turned his head and looked at her a while before looking away.
Molly struck with the old man’s attitude, watched him while the waves smashed upon the rocks sending a delicate spray into the air, which rained down on her in tiny bubbles.
It would be a difficult job to cross over to the man, if she wanted to go close enough to speak. There were large gaps between the rocks where if you fell, you would disappear into the darkness and an unknown depth. For a while she satisfied herself watching the man who after sitting perfectly still, reached down and raised a long staff into the air and waved it about as if he were trying to control the clouds above. As if loyal and submissive the clouds rushed over and soon the summer rain fell in heavy fat drops.
Molly edged her way across a split, looking down into the darkness as she crossed. She climbed the rise of a rock until she could speak to the old man.
“Hi,” she called.
The man was silent.
“Hey!” she yelled again, “What are you doing?”
The old man turned his glare away from the ocean to the girl. “I’m commanding the waves.”
Molly looked back to the ocean, the waves were rough and coming in high and fast. “No you’re not,” she said.
The man began to wave his stick harder. “What would you know?” he asked.
“I know that if you stopped doing that the waves would be exactly the same. In fact if you weren’t even here nothing would change.”
The rain came down harder still, Molly could feel her hair hanging heavily down the sides of her face.
“I am controlling the rain too,” the man added.
“Pshew!” the girl dismissed him. “Where are you from?”
“Town,” the man nodded toward the town that lay over the hill.
“Do you swim?”
“Is that your wand?”
“It’s a staff,” he corrected her and as a ferocious wave hit the rocks, he waved it high above his head.
The rain began to annoy the girl, “Can you make it stop raining?”
“If I wanted to.”
“Stop it then.”
The man stood up, “I will grant you this one miracle,” he shouted, “But first tell me, aren’t you afraid of me?”
“No,” she lied. “I mean you are a bit weird, but you couldn’t cross between your rock and this one, the gap’s too wide. I’d think I could run faster than you too.”
The old man smiled. “I will stop the rain.” The man held his staff above his head and began to yell and jerk about, occasionally pointing his hands and stick aggressively toward the sky. The rain continued, the clouds rolled over the land from the sea.
Suddenly the man turned pale and clutched at his chest, he sat back. “When I was younger I could have stopped this,” he said.
Molly nodded and suddenly felt very sorry for the man.
“Have you had lunch?” she asked.
“I’ll go and get you a sandwich.”
Without waiting for an answer she dashed across the rocks and leaped down into the soft wet sand. She ran along the beach, back to the cabin where her family were and grabbed three sandwiches from the table. Molly, dripping with rain, turned to leave.
“Where are you going?” her mother asked.
“There’s a man on the rocks who is hungry, I’m gonna give him some sandwiches.”
“Hang on Molly, you’re not going back now, not in this rain. I’ll come with you this afternoon and you can show me your friend.”
“No, I gotta go now.”
“No.” Her mother took her by the shoulder and steered her back, taking the sandwiches. “You’re all wet, go and dry off and we’ll go later.”
“He’ll be gone,” Molly complained but it was beyond her control now. She turned to the window. Rain streamed down the glass, the ocean waves rushed to shore.