As large and smooth as the rocks jutting through the sand, sleek and blue-black as polished granite on top; fleshy and white underneath, they were found on beaches within days of each other, their long, beakish mouths agape in now endless smiles. Seven metres nose to tail, lying inert near to the poster-paint splash of beach huts, they were sighted by dog walkers from the cliffs. Minke whales, roaming their sea pastures like cows in fields, grazing on the season’s herring, gashed by boats and floating ashore already dead. The council hopes the sea will wash them away by morning.
A plastic blue bucket caught the breeze and there were queues at the ice cream stall. She made her way towards the pier and the promenade. The summer season hadn’t been so busy for years. She looked out to sea: a cloud was on the horizon. It looked strange and was approaching fast. Down on the beach, sunbathers began to brush their limbs as if they were wiping them clean. The cloud seemed to be falling out of the sky and onto them. It was. Then it hit her, too. It was a swarm of thousands upon thousands of ladybirds.