Microfiction: They took a boat

Microfiction of less than 200 words
based on the painting by Odilon Redon: la barque mystique


They took a boat, a blue boat with a yellow sail. Where could two runaway slaves go but the river? No one would chase them to the sea. Yet she shivered. He smiled and kissed her tenderly on the forehead, thinking to dispel her fears with his strength. He shrugged off the stories, but he knew nothing of the ocean. His people prayed for rain in the spring, died of drought in the summer. His land was parched; green was a colour he didn’t know.
Between river cliffs of yellow ochre they sped, until as evening fell, the little barque was borne out into the smooth ocean, green as glass. The current raced to the turquoise horizon, and thunder shattered the air into painful fragments.
What if the stories are true?
In her heart she knew they were.
His face contracted in fear when the current wrenched the little boat out of his control, and she pitied him. She wrapped her arms around his useless muscles, whispered words of love that were drowned in the thunder of the falling water. She held him tight as the little blue splinter of a barque shot over the edge of the world.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

20 thoughts on “Microfiction: They took a boat”

  1. Reblogged this on theivorytide and commented:
    Read this story by Jane from WordPress. You’ll be delighted as I was. As soon as I get a handle on my time … very soon, I’m sure, I’ll be adding to this creativity on the net. For now enjoy a few items I gather at my leisure!

  2. Vivid and beautiful, Jane. You capture so many emotions and all their opposites in such a short space, it is like the entire experience of being human happens in a small part of these people’s lives. I love this.

    1. Glad you liked it. As I said to Éilis, it’s a stripped down version of a slightly longer story that in turn came out of a different flash fiction prompt. I’m glad there’s enough left to give you goosebumps 🙂

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