Microfiction challenge Lost: the entries

Another fine crop of stories this week and so many ways of not writing about a drowning at sea. Very well done!

First in was a piece of childhood writing from Patricia, reproduced here because there isn’t a blog post link.

The forest black, cold, frightening looms before me. My heart pounding, shaking fear is all I can feel. Frightful noises all around me, crackling branches thump as they hit the ground.
I want to step forward to see what I can see. I can not move, every fiber is frozen. I want to cry out help me please help me, my voice will not respond. I want to hang on to a branch to steady my shaking legs but my hand will not reach up. My throat dry the words stuck.
Suddenly I hear a voice calling my name in the distance. Again I hear the voice this time stronger still. It gives me courage. I will go to it, what is it saying? It is my savior, it is my helping hand. I find my strength, my feet start to move, my feet feel the ground beneath them now. The voice is clear now. The fear is gone. I am not lost.
It is my mom’s voice, she is calling me in from the garden, it’s time for lunch.



My frilly Freudian friend

All things wash ashore – My Frilly Freudian Slip


Calm Before the Storm | rivrvlogr


Microfiction challenge #18: Lost | Morpethroad


Leverett Island Interviews: transcript 17. | fmme writes poems


Come Ashore – WritersDream9


The Lake: Microfiction | Yesterday and today: Merril’s historical musings


Penny for ‘im, mister #pictureprompt #microfiction | TanGental


The Garret

and after the ghostly white space, my own story





For the Daily Post prompt: Surface.

Photo ©Domenico Salvagnin


Just a second ago it was there,

Shining brightly as an August sky,

If I reached I could break through the skin.


Cold water on every side presses,

I hear the pale sounds of life draining,

Of rocks fraying lifelines worn too thin.


Bright diamonds of air stream away,

The surface a dream or a mirror

Of the darkness that fills me within.


For Sacha Black’s writing prompt to write a short story of less than 200 words set underwater.


So bright, like diamonds, this thick air is alive, and I wonder what ever happened to you. It could have been good; you shouldn’t have given up. I missed you, always. Walking through the pinewood, light falling slantwise and the shrill of cicadas, your arm around me, your breath in my hair, hot and scented like the pines, needles crunching under foot, and the heat, like a presence. Old stones there were and piazzas with churches and fountains, and a silence of calm rather than inactivity. If only I could go back to that moment when everything went black and thick as treacle. If only.

Diamonds. I try to catch them but they slip like quicksilver between my fingers. I call. Call out to you. But my voice is lost in a bubbling vortex. Where did you go, all those years ago, when the dark fell? I’ve been wading in treacle ever since. Something fills my throat, choking. Is it tears or diamonds? I reach back to the dark, embrace it; hope that this time, I will know the right words. Hand, held out, pushing against the dark. My mouth, my head fill with dark diamonds.

The chest #writephoto

Sue Vincent’s photo prompt got under my skin this week.


It contains my dowry. All I was ever likely to possess if only for the length of a sea voyage. It was mine until I handed it over to my future husband. Mother made sure that part of the bride price was in brocade and hair ornaments, ear rings and filigree beads. Nothing that would tempt a man, she said silently with her eyes. Perhaps I would get some joy of my father’s wealth. The rest—the coin, the plate, the jewels, Robert would keep.

I was given the only cabin, a cupboard that stank of fish oil and vomit. The captain had threatened to cut the throat of any men who touched me and I prayed his threat would be equal to the lock that wasn’t on the door.

The chest squatted next to my narrow bed. Although I wore the keys around my neck, the next to open the lid was to have been Robert. I could see his stubby fingers grappling with the locks, his dark eyes glittering when he flung open the lid. I wondered would he be satisfied with what he found. Would he treat me gently, like the child I was, because my father’s gold was yellow enough for his taste?

It is cold, but I no longer shiver. Not since the storm and the cruel grasp of the furious waves. I will never know the touch of those stubby fingers or see the avidity in those dark eyes. Perhaps this is better, to know only the darkness, the green sea currents that slip and curl like serpents through the deeps. My shade sits, with my rotting brocades, the glint of my useless pearls, on the chest, watching the curious fish dart through the wreckage of the ship, among the casks and chests and lifeless bodies, to nibble our flesh.

Flash Fiction: Not drowning

My flash fiction story in response to Sacha Black’s prompt. Time to get back to an old theme, I think.

Painting ©Ricardo Asensio



He didn’t know she was watching him. She’d have died if he’d turned and seen how her eyes were running all over his swimmer’s body, lapping at the muscles sliding beneath his white skin like a cat at a saucer of milk. He raised his arms, flexed his knees and plunged, powerful and graceful as a big cat, a cat with no fear of water. The waves broke and closed over his head, his white body sliding beneath the green with scarcely a splash.

She let out her breath slowly; afraid the slight ripple of the air might dispel the magic. She watched the ocean, the oil-smooth surface, for his reappearance. The shouts and laughter of the other bathers on the family beach further along the coast barely reached her consciousness. Rocks. A sliver, a crescent moon of silver sand. Ocean. And him, the boy with a shock of jet black hair and skin white as milk, swimming through the darkness, easy as a seal.

The breeze lifted a lock of her hair and flipped it into her eyes. She shook it back and peered intently at the empty waves. She was holding her breath again, and anxiety nestled in the pit of her stomach. The sun had shifted, she was sure. How long was it? Far too long. He must have had an accident, a malaise. She should get help.

She leapt to her feet, scattering sand; ran to the water’s edge. Foam fizzed about her toes. She raised a hand to shield the sun from her eyes and scanned the water, further and further, impossibly far out towards the shining horizon. Breath came short and sharp, in little staccato bursts. She saw him at last, far, far away, a round black point amid the wave glitter. Her heart leapt and settled back with relief, pounding in her ears. But the bobbing head was joined by another, and another. Not human then. Seals.

She ran along the strand, slipping on half-concealed rocks, splashing through the shallow water, yelling when she was within earshot of the coast guard.

“Up at the cove, you say? A black-headed boy, skin the colour of new milk?” The coastguard shook his head. “He’ll not be back before morning.”


“Don’t you worry about him. He’s safe where he is.”


In bewilderment, she watched as the seals played, rolling and diving, and the sun sank slow and red. She half-knew what the coast guard meant. Knew what she wanted to understand at least. The breeze blew colder now and whined about the rocks with a different voice. She shivered in her cotton jumper, but she would wait until the morning. Just to see, to know for sure.


Painting by Tomilovsky. I know, I’ve used it before, but it fits.


Haunted, the ocean waves,
With the souls that no one saves,
Carried on the swell to the promised land,
And laid with tenderness on the gentle sand.
In the broken spaces,
The lonely, empty places,
The sad and desperate faces,
Watch the breaking dawn.
While we wake in wonder,
Pools of moon pearls round our bed,
And the sky seems palely empty,
When the bright stars all have fled.
No fear for us on waking,
Night shadows behind the light,
We listen in peace to the blackbird’s song,
As dawn rolls back the night.