Release

by E.M. Killaley

They had been moving down the sand for a while, first at a walk, but then the small one had taken off.  His little feet swung wide, arms out like poles, and I wondered at his waddle toward the water.  He had stopped once to look back, but only briefly.  They never wait for long.  The fading evening sun had shone in his golden hair as he turned to run away again.  The brother hung the net over his shoulder and broadened his long strides to keep up.  His were heavier steps, punching the surface of the beach, taking along the salty grains that shifted between his toes; the younger seemed to barely brush across it.

When they reached the water the elder boy turned the net over, then shook it across the surface.  From it small shadows emerged, drifted beneath the ripples lapping over their feet.  The toddler touched his wet hands to his head, but at this distance I couldn’t hear his laugh.  I wondered if it would have made me smile.  We watched the creatures scuttle away from the water’s edge, deeper, descending beyond sight.

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