Settled into the middle of his board, Danny coasts on the waters of Long Beach. Waiting for the wind to pick up and the waves to roll in, Danny takes in the complexion of the surroundings. The dense evergreens guarding the beach put Danny in awe, along with the unusual morning sunshine and clear air that infringe on the normality of the land. He feels a gust of wind blow on his back, turns around to judge a wave. No, it’s not strong enough, not yet. Forecasts assumed correct, a great day of big waves awaits him. Tucking his legs up onto the board, the nip of cold water penetrates the wetsuit. At their own discomfort, he sees his friends appear from a trail with boards in hand. Surely morose from last nights festive bottled gluttony, cruel is the unsuspected sun to hangover bound heads.
Another wind swells from the tail, Danny drops his feet from its perch and glances at the rising waters. Nothing big again, but a dot in the sky catches his attention. He guesses to what it might be, a commercial jet maybe? No it’s not high enough in the sky. Perhaps a float plane? No, because it doesn’t seem to be moving at all. Coming closer his way, the outline of a hot air balloon appears in full figure. It seems larger then a regular balloon, an attachment hangs down from the basket. A mere hundred meters away, the base of the attachment opens and out drops a thick powder. Flipping onto his stomach, Danny paddles as fast as he could to shore. His friends scream at him to swim faster, the powder descending rapidly towards the water. A wind pops out of nowhere and sends him closer to the shore, the powder along with it. It engulfs him, inhaling deep into his lungs. He begins to feel sweaty, a layer of perspiration coats the inside of the wetsuit. He reaches the shore, leaves the board to wash away and quickly zips open the suit, ventilating his body, to be able to breathe.
A sound of retching reaches his ears and he sees all his friends, lying on the sand, coughing and excreting bile. Danny wipes away drool from the side of his mouth and spits. Above him, the balloon floats, watching the victims struggle, a rope falls over the side of the basket to the ground. One by one, men slide down, assuming a perimeter around the rope. Danny falls to his knees, sucking back air with increasing difficulty. The last man off the rope carries with him a black bag; he shrugs it off his shoulder and walks towards Danny slowly. He wears a gas mask, peering through the visor, squinting eyes stare at Danny. Closing his hands around his throat, Danny slumps to the ground, trying to gasp for air. The masked man steps over Danny who grabs his leg, the man kicks it away. Vision blurring, and his body violently twisting on the ground, the masked man walks away from Danny, picks up the bag and assembles with the rest. Darkness closes in his eyes, a final glipse of the silent waters, balloons covering the horizon.