by Kat Gilman Rose
Waves crashed against the beach, foaming wildly as water hit the sand before receding rapidly, only to return again. The ninth wave, biggest of all the ones preceding it, brought something additional – a limp ragdoll, soaked through and encircled with seaweed, so that only the limbs were visible. Once, this doll had been a coveted possession, owned by a little girl named Elisa. Girl and doll went everywhere together, attending playdates and family dinners, exploring gardens, throwing fantastical tea parties. Elisa received the doll when she was born, a gift from her grandmother, who had named the ragdoll Annie. Now, Annie found herself all alone, lying in cold sand – where was Elisa? As the cycle of waves began again, building to the ninth most massive wave, another object washed ashore. A piece of wood with some faded writing, only the letters HMS legible. If Annie could speak, she would say that the ship she and Elisa had been on did not have the letters HMS in its name, but that they had seen one from a fair distance away. She would say that she doesn’t remember anything after that, but that she was sure Elisa had been holding her hand just a moment ago.