Chesil Beach (from Gabycon 2015)

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Chesil Beach.

By

Angharad.

This story was written for the 2015 Gabycon in Dorchester.

*****

That year, October was unusually warm and sunny. Gaby and friends decided to head for the beach, all they had to decide was which one. Dorset is a rural county with mainly agriculture and tourism its main income generators, it also, being a coastal county has several beaches from the safe sandy ones of Bournemouth and Weymouth, to the long swathe of pebbles which forms the Chesil Bank, the longest barrier beach in Britain possibly Europe being 29 kilometres long, 200 metres wide and 15 metres high as it runs from the cliffs at Portland westwards to West Bexington.

She’d cycled along the causeway to Portland and up the steep climb to the top several times, giving Matt some difficulty in staying with her, her light bodyweight proving an advantage over his middle-aged one, but she’d never actually visited the Chesil itself. On suggesting it to Harry, he asked, “What d’ya wanna go there for, it’s just a heap of stones?”

“To you maybe but remember my mum was a geography teacher and she said it was worth lookin’ at.”

“Oh, okay,” he shrugged aware that although it was traditional to view the female mind as fickle, once it was set on something, wild horses wouldn’t move it. It was therefore safer to go along with it than not, especially as he’d been finding it harder to stay with her while she was riding. They couldn’t ride on the Chesil, so walking, he’d manage to keep up with her.

When they posited the suggestion of going to the beach Maddy jumped at the idea but not of going to the Chesil. “I wanna like lie in the sun not scramble over pebbles.” William agreed with her and it was finally decided they’d take the bus to Weymouth with their swimming cozzies and sandwiches then Harry and Gaby would walk along the coastal path towards Portland and collect them from the beach on the way back, depending upon how long it took. Although the walk would be a couple or so miles each way, it was nothing to two fit teenagers, which both of them were.

The girls wore shorts and tops under which they already had on their bikinis, the one Gaby wore was tight enough in the bottom to hide her little anomaly and still show off her nubile and lissom figure. She was well aware of the difficulty Harry would have if he wore tight bathing shorts, once she started to take off her top layers of clothing and although she had no intention of doing anything, unlike her elder sister, if she had to be a girl, she might as well enjoy being found attractive by boys and Harry in particular.

The two set off along the South West Coastal path after leaving Maddy and William at Weymouth beach. As the morning went on the temperatures began to rise and by the time they reached Old Castle or Sandsfoot Cove as it’s more properly known, Gaby was drinking from the bottle of water she carried. “Wanna stop for a cuppa?” asked Harry.

“Yeah, okay.” So with a dozen other people they queued to get their drinks at the little tea bar by the ruined Tudor castle. While they were at it they each had a bacon roll, Gaby’s enhanced by oodles of tomato ketchup.

“That looks like a vampire’s packed lunch,” joked Harry.

“So? It tastes all right,” replied the wunderkind, “besides, tomato ketchup is good for you.”

“Now I know you’re jokin’,” he fired back.

“No messin’, it is. I read it somewhere, helps your blood vessels or your heart or somethin’ anyway.”

“Lycopene,” offered Harry.

“Like what?” replied our heroine.

“No lycopene, it’s the stuff in tomatoes that they think might be good for us.”

“No kiddin’?”

“Absolutely.”

“How d’you know that?”

“Dunno, read it somewhere an’ it stuck.”

“Talkin’ of sticky, my hands are so I’m goin’ in the loo t’ wash me ’ands, be back in a jiffy.” Harry stood watching the traffic going along the causeway and beyond it the grey mass of Chesil beach. What a total waste of time it was going to be except it gave him time alone with the light of his life—so from that point of view it was anything but a waste of time; though he wasn’t looking forward to scrambling over the large pebbles which comprise the Chesil. Apart from anything else, it was bloody hard work.

Gaby emerged from the toilet and as Harry didn’t need to go, they walked on towards Ferry Bridge. They crossed the road by the pub, also called the Ferry Bridge which marks the start of the causeway once the bridge over the entrance to the Fleet is traversed. Years ago a ferry boat used to transfer people and goods over this small inlet of water, there was also a onetime railway but that disappeared years ago. They stood and watched the water flowing from Portland harbour into the Fleet, the long lagoon of brackish water which stands between the Chesil and the mainland up to West Bexington.

As they stood watching the water surging into the Fleet, Harry explained how the bouncing bombs used in the Dambuster’s raids in Germany were tested on the Fleet and the Chesil. “What they bombed the Chesil beach?” asked an astonished Gaby, “Cause they used Ladybower reservoir too, I think.”

“Where’s that?” asked Harry.

“Up above Sheffield, we used to ride up there regularly as a training ride.”

“Sounds nice.”

“Yeah, it is—I s’pose,” Gaby felt a touch of nostalgia and wondered if she’d ever go home again.

“There’s the Chesil bank,” pointed Harry at the rising mass of pebbles looking towards the sea. “That’s all that’s keepin’ the sea from swampin’ us, wanna go an’ look?”

“Yeah, why not.”

He glanced at Gaby’s trainers and hoped they were up to the task, he had on his light walking boots. He led her down to the beach where one or two fishermen were digging for rag or lug worms to use for bait. The sand was firm under their feet and apart from scaring one or two gulls and waders as they went, they walked in silence. Harry thought about holding her hand as they walked but somehow he felt her independent streak would refuse to cooperate, so he implemented plan B. To go up from the little beach as they were doing was possibly the most arduous way of doing it and she may well need a hand to climb the mountain of pebbles. If so, he’d just hang on to it. He felt quite pleased with himself, it wasn’t just girls who could be devious.

Meanwhile, Gaby, not unknown for her deviousness, feeling the effects of the sun, pulled off her top after handing Harry her backpack. Seeing her in the bikini bra and shorts, he held on to her bag carrying it just in front of him while he struggled to think of something completely horrible—double French with Monsieur Harris, that should do it or he was going to do himself an injury in his tight bathing trunks.

“I’ll take my my bag now,” offered Gaby.
“No, I’ve got it now,” he said looking at her and something pulsed in his pants. He began to worry if there’d be enough blood to go to his leg muscles and the thing which was no longer dangling, but pointing the way and it felt as if it was all caught up, much more of this and he’d need the air ambulance.

They commenced their ascent, and whilst it would be an exaggeration to say she flitted over the pebbles, she certainly did so much more delicately and speedily than Harry, who at last had managed to get a hand down his trousers and reduce the snag in the lining of his bathing cozzie. Pretending to pick up a pretty stone, she glanced back down through her legs at the boy wrestling with his trouser snake while trying to hide it with her bag. She smirked and ran as best she could towards the top of the bank where she lost it and had a giggle fit. Boys were so predictable.

If Jenny, her mother, had seen her teasing the poor lad, she’d have said something sharp to her younger daughter. Wait till I ask him to put some sun cream on my back, she chuckled to herself. Then the thought assailed her—she couldn’t go home like this. Her body was so obviously female that she’d no longer be able to hide it and more frighteningly, it seemed her mind was similarly afflicted. She had to face it, she was no longer a boy.



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