Tim parked his car and turned off the key. He sat for a moment in the small parking area and listened to the ticking of the cooling engine, then relaxed as the sound of the ocean began to sooth his tired mind. He had been looking forward to this hike all day.
He had been to this beach before, but always with friends to party or light an illegal bonfire. This time he planned on simply walking the beach to clear his mind and think about the next step in his life. He planned on hiking to the next parking lot about 6 miles north, then he would hitch a ride with someone back to his car.
“Goddamn developer scum,” he muttered to himself, thinking about his day at work. He was burned out on the consulting world, and he was starting to look for work in some other field just to soothe his battered conscience. As he left the gravel lot and set out on the beach trail, he gently reminded himself to stop thinking about his so-called career and enjoy the scenery around him.
It was about an hour later that he noticed something far ahead. There was a dark shape on the smooth sand at the point where the tide had receded earlier in the day. It was difficult to tell what the shape might be from that distance, as the mist from the breaking waves made it hard to see clearly. Patience, he thought, you will be there in a little while.
Tim was a few hundred yards away when he realized the object was not just a piece of kelp or driftwood. The shape had a definite substance to it, and it didn’t look like a dead seal. As he walked a little closer, a terrible thought suddenly dawned on him. It was a body, a dead person.