Through extreme pressure and heat the coarse sugar melted down and was squeezed out through tiny holes; This molten sugar spread through the air, cooling, and catching on the sides of the steel drum. Clutching one another, this once hard crystal was now lighter, and like webbing it danced in the light growing thicker as the motion continued. Levi watched how it waited, almost invisible to his eyes, until he placed the long stick down into the machine. Like an adder it snapped at the stick and coiled its body around, darkening its glistening threads to a thick and puffy pink. Seconds later it was fat and ready to be consumed.
Levi raised the stick from the machine and admired its sixties beehive hairstyle shape. The kid next to him stared at it wide-eyed and waited for Levi to move out the way before taking hold of the stick from the vendor working there. Stepping out towards the group of tourists alongside the sandy edges of Positano, he sat down on a deck chair and waited for the Pink Sea to arrive. It had always been an unwritten rule or cheek-kissing custom for him to buy Emil a treat whenever they visited a beach. And this was no exception. Emil would have complained about how terrible the colour was before unabashedly scoffing the candy floss down. Levi wished he had shared the sweet with Emil just once instead of feigning disgust at the chemical sugars. It was a constant regret he had let go of Emil’s hand when he strolled down to the strange phenomena happening in the water. He said he knew all about it but did he really? Even now Levi still couldn’t decide what it was. That coral-toned shimmer; rising with the waves yet so alien to the sea-water it inhabits.
A gaggle of tourists pointed their phones as a dolphin broke out from the water in the distance. Levi wondered how many people in the growing crowd would bite the bullet. After all the talk, the arguments, the endless doubt and fiery bursts of courage – would they give it all up, everything and everyone, to plunge into the Pink Sea? Levi had not been so sure several years ago when it appeared over Skegness. Families screamed for their kids to get out the water. Sirens wailed and the police commanded everyone to leave. He could still feel the gentle squeeze of Emil’s hand leading him towards the ruby froth rushing back and forth. His words, like whispers, were muted through the chaos on the land and rhythmic crashing of the waves. But Levi could still remember the look in his eyes. “It’s going to be better. Embrace it with me.” But that warmth and reassurance slipped free once Levi saw the man and woman ahead of them; swallowed at their waist they held onto each other as the pink froth lit up, and in moments, what was skin and bone and everything considered human began to dissolve. They did not scream, not one of the many people who accepted the cosmic oil-slick dancing over the water felt any pain. They all smiled. Levi let go of Emils hand and stepped back. He watched Emil continue to transcend into the deep and only once he was a floating head did he turn back to the shore. He could not hear Levis cries and apologies. He simply watched and when the Pink Sea was ready he became one with it. Continue reading