him, a small mountain of wet sand growing next to the pit he had created. A few minutes ago there had been a satisfying thunk as his shovel had hit wood, and that could mean nothing other than that they had found the treasure they were after. A swashbuckler's trove, the rumors said. The tide was coming in at a brisk pace, the chill, salty water gobbling its way up the beach with each new set of waves. It would sweep them out to sea if they didn't keep a wary eye out and move their dig along. Quinn set hands on his hips and glanced back to his partner for just a moment to watch him heave at the waterlogged box, which was quite well stuck in the sand.
That was when he heard it. The clacking. Quinn's eyes darted back towards the foaming surf to see a beast coming towards him, sea foam and weeds clinging to its hulking body. It was the color of a fat harvest pumpkin, as large as a dog, and mad as hell. It barreled towards him, but it seemed more keen on getting its massive pincers on Bloom, who was waist-deep in the hole and utterly oblivious as he tugged and swore at the aged old chest. The crustacean clacked its mighty pincers and waggled its eye stalks, its other little, pointy legs speeding it across the sand. Quinn had to do something. The crab was big, and he was armed with naught but a shamefully small knife. Useless.
"Get that thing out!" Quinn called, and went to meet the beast hand-to-claw. The wind picked up, howling down the empty beach. The crustacean fought as if possessed as he snapped and clacked. Cold water filled Quinn's boots, and the next wave brought it up to his knees.
Bloom heaved the chest from its resting place and clambered out of the pit. "Got it! Gods almighty, that's one hell of a crab!" He reached a hand into the leather pouch at his hip and threw whatever it was towards the crab. "Run!"
He didn't need to be told twice. Quinn turned tail and slogged as fast as his twiggy legs would carry him up onto dry sand. One hand clutched the other, blood running between his fingers. "What was that?" he panted, wide-eyed, and ran beside Bloom, who clutched the barnacle-crusted box to his chest.
Bloom had a wild grin plastered across his face. "Shrimp!" he shouted over the growing howl of the wind.
Quinn and Bloom had traveled a great distance to the desolate, breathtaking shores of a hidden beach. They had followed a local legend, secured a very rudimentary map from a kindly lady at a tea shop, and followed their best hunch. The sky was clear and the air was balmy; a peaceful afternoon by anyone's standards. But in magical places, one can never be too comfortable.
Quinn eyed the dark, foamy waves as they swept up the mirror-like sand, wind whistling softly in his ears. Bloom was digging furiously about ten yards behind