So she ran, away from the courts and towards the sea. A copse of trees separated the tennis courts from the sea. But it wasn’t a beach she saw when she burst through, but the jagged coastline of black rocks and pounding surf. She looked back. He hadn’t made it through the trees. She had a moment, just a moment. She groped her way along the rough face of a boulder that balanced on the edge of the cliff. A rudimentary path led between the stone outcroppings. Under one she found a hollow, a sort of cave that widened the further in she crawled. She found enough space to hide at the back of the cave. She turned and brushed away, or so she hoped, the signs of her passage. A wave, higher than the others that splashed in after her, smoothed the sand that formed the floor of the cave. It was enough.
She sat, shielded from the entrance by the turn of the cave wall. The roar and salt-smell of the sea filled the space but didn’t drown out the pounding of her heart. She hoped at least she would hear him coming. The sound of her shallow gasping echoed from the stone that surrounded her. Stop it, she warned herself. She’d been in this situation before. She knew panic didn’t help but got her in worse trouble. She tried to slow her breathing, to be quiet.
The light in the cave vanished.
Anne tucked in her feet and squeezed as far back into her corner as she could. Light flashed around the cave. But he couldn’t crawl in, he was too big, and he didn’t see her. After a few moments, he moved on.
She had a new problem. How long to stay in her cave? How high did the sea come? Was it high tide now, or would the sea soon return, filling her cave?
She waited. How long would he search? He had whatever he was supposed to be doing on the estate still to do. Surely he would decide to find her later. It was a small island; how hard would it be to find her? An hour went by. Each successive wave reached further back into the space. The tide was coming in.
She knew she had to go, but where? Thomas would still be at his meeting. Would he look for her at the coffee break? Not likely. He thought she was somewhere, looking at pictures or reading.
She crawled out of the cave and inched her way up the narrow path. If he were still up top, she had no way out.
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