In Florida, a retired Florida Supreme Court Judge named Harvey Beecher has a lifelong obsession with a mysterious sand dune on an unnamed island, a short distance off the Gulf coastline of his family's property. Since he was a child and first ventured onto the island looking for buried treasure, he has seen the names of people who are going to die within a month written in the sand. Beecher's lawyer, Anthony Wayland, visits to help Beecher finish his last will. While drawing up the document, Beecher tells about his most recent visit to the dune and the grim recollection of his lifelong experiences with it. The name that Beecher found written in the dune is the reason he now wants his will finished quickly. Wayland assumes Beecher has seen his own name in the sand, but later it is implied the name was Wayland's.