“They say a ship’s run aground over near Harper’s Cove,” said an old man in overalls, hanging up the corded phone. There was a sense of permanence about the Coast Rescue shack, between the scratched furniture and fading paint it looked as though it had sat there near the sea for ages. The midday salty air wisped through the open windows, gently rustling the loose papers on the man’s desk. “John says it’s a real doozy.”
“That's too bad, I was hoping to spend some time in town today,” Becky rolled her eyes, but smiled as she threw on her reflective red jacket. “Do you think we’ll need help from the mainland?”
“Nah, I don’t think so. Probably nothing you can’t handle,” he smiled back, with equal measures of pride and sadness. His own safety jacket was slowly collecting dust on the back of his chair.
“Thanks, Dad,” Becky said as she grabbed the keys off the wall. Stepping past the creaky screen door and off the porch, she could feel the August sun burning down. It was almost the off-season, when things would quiet down. The rolling crashes of the cobalt waves grew louder as she descended the wooden steps down to the rocky beach. It’d be a great day to go swimming, she thought, but duty calls. The tugboat by the dock rose and fell, and with the ease of expertise she climbed on and started the engine.
She hadn't had any problems in Harper's Cove this year, unlike most years. Lined with high cliffs that ended abruptly in ankle deep water, the cove offered little of interest to tourists. Now and then one of those dummies would head in there easily enough and be unable to get their boat back out, either because it was a big fancy boat whose captain didn't know what a damn buoy meant and run the boat aground, or because it was a small boat and going the other way meant going against the very wind and current that had made it so easy to enter. Becky expected this "doozy" - her father's word for "dummy" - to be one or the other of those.
Being trapped in the cove might have been a solitary hell for some of the dummies, but time spent alone in Harper's Cove was Becky's idea of heaven. A small canoe could both enter and get back out easily, and Becky took hers there as often as possible right up until the winter storms prevented her going. It was best in the fall when all the dummies were freshly gone and she had time to be herself again, not out rescuing mental midgets from themselves. She'd hug the shore, duck under the scrawny poplars stubbornly surviving at the base of a lakeside cliff, and reverently paddle her way to the large, sandy, calm and very private spot under an overhanging weeping willow in the center of the cove. Her mother had taught her all about a canoe in that cove. They would picnic, swim and, just before leaving for home, bathe in the privacy of the willow tree. Becky still, these many years later, sometimes bathed there, remembering. The water was placid and warm, the willowy leaves gave perfect cover, and the place was magical.
And then there was that last time here with Hawke...
Becky gritted her teeth and ripped her mind off that subject. As much as her father insisted Hawke Taylor would one day be back both for good and for her, she put that man right out of her head whenever he made an appearance in it.
As she pulled the skiff into the cove she could see..... nothing. No boat stuck in the lake bed, no human, no reason at all for her to be here. She decided to pull ashore to catch some alone time. Her father could do without her for an hour or two, and she would razz him good for being wrong about a boat run aground in Harper's Cove. If anything did come up, well, the old man needed a good reason to get off his ass and get back into a boat.
Becky set anchor at knee deep, hopped overboard and waded ashore. Now that duty no longer called, she would take that swim after all. Off with her T shirt and her cargo shorts. There was no way anyone could see her here.
"Becky." A husky man's voice softly called her name from under the willow. Becky froze. Normally she was well equipped to take care of herself, but out here, all alone? And unclothed?! She had even left her ancient walkie talkie in the boat!
The hanging fringe of the willow parted and there stood Hawke Taylor, buck naked, just like that last time.
The old man was right to send her out here all alone after all.
I had a tough time with this! I got the first two paragraphs done but nothing worked after that. I decided to go read the other entries, and came across @sarez's entry @sarez's https://steempeak.com/wewrite/@sarez/a-real-doozy-my-short-story-entry-for-we-write-2
The image is mine, of Owasco Lake in NYS, which does indeed have an area like this one. And I went there with my mother.
Forgot my post footer!