The path led down through the trees to the empty beach. Mornings like this, after a stormy night, brought the promise of good hunting amongst the detritus tossed up by the sea. Sometimes he collected drift wood, which he fashioned into furniture to sell to the tourists who visited his shop, other times he gathered shells to give to his daughter, now away at college and truth be told no longer inter step in empty shells. A certain moroseness began to creep up his legs and into his chest even as he spied the perfect conch. He picked up the spiny orange, pink, and white shell, tipped it over to disgorge any remaining seawater, and then in a fit of melancholy, held the shell to his hear to listen to the tempest from last night. First came the crashing waves, followed by the hot winds, and finally came the thunder that had rolled up and down these sandy shores in some cosmic game of the gods. All at once, a hand, no doubt one of the lesser gods trapped inside the shell, reached out and grabbed him by the throat and proceeded to yank him into the air and slide him, head first, into the conch which fell back to the sand. That night, the storms came again and washed the conch out to sea and obliterate any signs that the man or the shell had ever been there on the sandy beach.