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March 12th, 2007, 10:55 PM
Many apologies if this question doesn't belong in this part of the forum, but I am trying to locate the name and/or author of a SF short story I read ages ago that, curiously enough, had some influence on my own writing.

I can only remember a couple scenes, the most vivid one being a wide, virtually empty beach on an alien planet, where men stand in solitude and wait for a woman-like alien to emerge from the depths of the sea and approach them. Those men who are "chosen" by these alien women happily live out the rest of their lives in their company. The protagonist unwittingly finds himself looking out at the cold, gray sea and watching the waves, and after a time one of these exotic, hauntingly beautiful alien creatures appears to "choose" him and begins her approach. As she does, the protagonist glances down the beach to notice that other men, who have been waiting far longer than he, are giving him angry, jealous looks. The protagonist then simply walks away, as he is somewhat frightened and repulsed by the idea of the alien embrace, perhaps knowing that he does not deserve such faithful companionship.

I also remember that the planet is native to some large, filthy, oxen-like creatures that wail and groan as they pull their loads. The story also prominently features a dark, massive, nebulous entity or thing that seems to have an eerie, paralyzing effect on those it touches.

If anyone could venture a guess as to what this short story is, I would be greatly appreciative. Thanks!