He was selling ice cream when the alarm sounded. A flood of beach-goers surged across the white sand as they hurried to their homes, the air filling with the shouts of anxious mothers and urging officials. The city slowly trickled into the mountains while he packed his freezer cart, locking it tightly but leaving one cone out for himself.
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The beach was bare and silent now, speckled with forgotten towels and stranded umbrellas. The heat of the sliding sand soothed his aching feet as he trudged toward the surf. These were the sands where he had met his wife. The few coins he had in his pocket, traded to salt-flecked and sun-drenched swimmers for a dripping cone or popsicle, were all he had to his name. Their home, their meager belongings, all they owned, had been sold for a few more moments with her. The waves where he had scattered her ashes tugged at his ankles as they shyly slid away, exposing the soft mud. A low roar built on the horizon as he lowered himself onto the sand with a sigh.
He was enjoying an ice cream when the wave hit.