Behind a Curtain of Shells

This is sort of pre-writing for my NaNo next month.  It was inspired by a picture prompt over at the WriYe DreamWidth.

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The waves rolled in and out, crashing against the shore in a rhythmic fashion that was almost hypnotic.  The breeze from the water made the shells sway on their cord.  The music of their clattering added to the sound of the waves beyond.

Ilya’s gaze drifted down the water beyond the strung up shells.  It was all so lovely and peaceful.  It was hard to believe that there could be danger of any kind lurking out there, in the warm sunshine.  His brows furrowed as he thought about the situation that had brought them there.

“Agent Braginski?”

He blinked and then turned to face the young woman who served as a waitress in the beachside bar.  “Yes,” he said, smiling in what he hoped was a reassuring way.  He remembered that her name was Amanda.  “I wondered if I could talk to you for a moment about what happened the other night on the beach.”

She gave him a weak smile.  “Jake said you wanted to ask me some questions,” she said, her gaze going over to the man behind the bar, mixing drinks.  She shrugged and looked back at Ilya.  “I’m not sure how much help I’ll be.”

“You may have seen more than you realize,” Ilya said, shrugging.  He beckoned to her as he settled at a table.  As she sat across from him, he drew out a small notebook and a pen.  “You were here the other evening, closing up alone?”

Nodding, she said, “Jake had already locked up the liquor and gone home.  I just had to finish wiping down the tables and sweeping.”

“Did you see anyone around as you were leaving?” he asked.  For a moment, she said nothing.  Her chin dipped down, as if she were going to shake her head.  Then, she blinked and her eyes widened.  “Who did you see?”

“It was… really just a shadow of movement,” she said, her voice soft.  Her brows drew down low over her eyes.  “I looked, but I didn’t see anyone.  When I got to my car, though… there was another car in the lot.”

Ilya smiled and nodded.  “Can you describe the car?” he asked.  He wrote quickly as she told him what she remembered.  It might be that the car was totally unrelated to the case, but it might also be their first real break in the case.  After thanking her, Ilya gave her his card.  “If you remember anything or… even if you just need to reach me, don’t hesitate to call.”

“Thank you, Agent Braginski,” she said, as she tucked the card into the pocket of her apron.

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