All That’s Left (draft excerpt)

When the broken pavement met the sand, he kicked off his tattered sandals and left them at the base of a palm tree. The sand was cool and stuck to his feet. He walked through the rows of empty beach loungers to the edge of the water, holding a shoe box in his hands. Dance music from the restaurants and bars broke the calm of the night. To his left, the moon was nearly full, above the clouds at the horizon. He followed the shore towards it.

The music became a distant beat behind him. The light from the resorts faded and the moon claimed all but the shadows. Abandoned concrete foundations of failed condominium developments stood in the darkness of the jungle at the edge of the beach. Swallowed by tangled overgrowth, the rebar protruded from the crumbling walls and roofs. Beneath a torn advertising banner flapping in the breeze, with the box between his legs, he looked to the water. A row of brightly lit resorts rose out of the ocean from the distant, unseen island of Cozumel.

He knelt in the sand and began digging with his hands. White bits of shell and sand stuck to his forearms as he cleared the dry top layer and dug a damp hole. As he carefully placed the box in the hole, it tipped in his hand under the shifting weight inside. He sat back on his heels. Bats darted silently in the night above his head. The rotting smell of the mangroves swirled on the air. He bent and pushed the pile of sand in.


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