The beast turns its head and stares at her. Seven heads, fourteen eyes; some green, some blue, most red. Slowly it hauls its bulk out of the foaming waves, struggling up past the tide-line, and onto the shore.
The little girl watches it, her thumb thrust firmly into her mouth, a plastic doll clamped beneath her arm, half-bald, one-legged, much loved. “Doggy.” she says, mumbling round her thumb.
“Beast,” it corrects her, but the child will have none of it.
“Doggy,” she repeats, and the creature sighs, yawns, smiles. On each head a different expression.
“Doggy,” it says, resigned. It settles down, coiling its leopard body in the sand, cooling its bear paws in the rock pools, watching the beach with its many eyes.
The little girl steps closer. She strokes the furry tail that coils and lashes. Its tufted end tickles her under the chin until she breaks into laughter, rocking backwards and forwards on her bare feet, her toes clutching at the sand. Continue Reading