Climbing Up

Eric is long gone now, but Eddy remains.

Eddy and his friend Eric climbed a hill of wet rocks near the pier. The pier was just a walkway, without amusements or fishing, just benches and a railing going around it. They climbed the rocks and sat at the top overlooking the waves of the ocean thrashing the rocks beneath them. They talked and then roughhoused. Eddy stood up, slipped, and fell, his head first against the rock hill, tumbling into the salt water on the side of the hill opposite the pier.

The waves thrashed Eddy against the rocks, and Eric slid down the other side, scraping the back of his legs and arms and back before landing in the wet sand and then ran toward the lifeguard down the beach, who was running toward him already and a minute or two away. Eric stopped and started screaming and pointing, his feet sinking in the sand as he fell to his knees and pointed, not following or watching the lifeguard running by, the image of Eddy’s face smacking that ridged rock above the waves before entering, splitting his face, comatose body and foaming waves.

Media came.

Eric is long gone now, but Eddy remains. Eric’s parents filed suit in the town, not for money but awareness. They forced a lifeguard station nearer to the pier rather than a football field and sprint away. More people began swimming by the rock hill, which they tapered off and buoyed. Teens made bonfires at night under the pier and dared each other to climb the rock hill. Some did. The town hired a night watchman to keep the teens at bay and alive. They considered loading the rocks away but figured it too expensive, and Eric told them to keep the rock hill as a symbol. To keep it in the town, they put a plaque dedicating Eddy on it. First came food stands on the beach. Couples sat on the benches of the pier overlooking the fatal ocean and listened to the thrashing of waves against rocks. The food stands moved onto the pier. Bikers rode down and back and gave extra landscape and distance to their route. With a connection, Adventure Park Group saw the pier and its location as an untapped resource. With a promise not to remove the rock hill, they built four rides, game stands, and various other carnival stands on the pier. Families there on vacations remember Eddy when the older kids tell the younger ones the ghost story. But Eric is long gone.