Another beach party, not far away...

As Lenore rose sleepily from the shallow depression in the beach sand in which she had nestled the night, instinct turned her face east, where a slightly less inky-dark-promise-of-the-dawn stretched edge-of-vision fingers into the sky. An almost imperceptible breeze touched the planes of her cheekbones. It smelled barely of the sea. And something else. Something... familiar.

She sniffed and stepped lightly, barefoot, tacking quietly into morning's gentle caress. Abruptly the moist carpet underfoot became granular, and she wondered, idly, “Maybe cream of wheat?

The already-shifting Prussian blue of the night had already begun to evolve noticeably into a dapple of purple-grays, and she became able to discern hints of wavelets on a calm sea, sprawling into the darkness that would soon be the sky.

As she moved, Lenore sensed some anomalous thing on the beach ahead of her, and she narrowed her beautiful, lemur-like eyes to sharpen them. At first it just looked like two giant, angular masses, stretching away dark on the sand. As she neared them, the blotches resolved into masses of faces... hundreds, or perhaps thousands of them.

With a nearly-familiar sense of half-dreaming, Lenore abruptly realized she was naked. She paused, drew a sharp breath, straightened her shoulders and thrust out her breasts. Thus prepared, she began a slow, ceremonial march up the broad center aisle between two masses. The faces were in lines, seated as if in pews under a cathedral's nave. All, as far as Lenore could tell, were women. Women with a real cross-section of fashion sense. All turned in their chairs as she passed, tiny smiles and nods binding their collective, approving stare. As if to bless a bride on her way to an alter.

Oh... “Twat! That smell is twat!” Lenore suddenly thought, finally identifying the powerful waft of rising estrogen in what from a distance had hinted at an odor of kelp and saltwater. “So that wasn't sea air...

Lenore reached the head of the aisle. She turned to the women and facing their silent gaze steadily. Then, a lone figure rose from among them and began to declaim, underscored by a low, tormented wail that rose disembodied from among the throng.

"Gods! Why am I so eternally dissatisfied? Why do you demand that I learn what a wreck my life is? Am I doomed for all time, to insignificance? If there is a purpose to this pain, then tell me so I can learn to live with it! Why have you made my soul so very strong, but neglected to offer me a purpose? Give my life meaning!!!"

“Jeez,” Lenore wondered. “Bergman?

At that moment the crowd's attention was snatched to the horizon, from which a great strange light had begun to spill – not the pink-orange of sunrise, but a pure, searing white that spilled from what appeared to be a sharply defined aperture in the sky itself. The beam began to shudder with brilliant strobes of rainbow colour that intermittently spotlit what looked to be another huge gathering some distance along the beach.

Lenore turned, narrowed her eyes again and strained to see. Then, from behind her, a warm hand rested gently, briefly on the night-coolness of her bare thigh. She turned back and widened her eyes at a slender woman in a house dress and apron, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Barbara Billingsley.

The woman beamed a toothpaste smile up at her. Her lips moved, her voice too low to hear over the keening around them.

"Pardon?" said Lenore.

The chorus quieted as the woman's lips moved again, allowing her words room to be heard.

Don't let that son of a bitch get away with it, sweetie!

The wail crescendoed.