Another prompt, another round of great stories to choose from. Check the stories out below and vote for your favorite!
A Long Walk Off a Short…
As Finnigan woke up that Friday morning, the news from the States was blaring on his radio. Though expected, it was still a shock.
He wanted to wake her and tell her that the dark ages had again swarmed over their neighbors to the south. He wanted to say, “they have returned to their caves. Their primitive selves.” But he let her sleep.
He got up, dressed, and went out into the warm late June air. The heat dome was on its way. He had a couple of hours before that blast of heat would become unbearable.
“I can make it,” he said to the squirrel chirping in the tall Douglas Fir. “You betcha I can…”
It was a mile and a half walk to the small boardwalk park, that bordered the sea and led to the community pier. Traffic was almost nonexistent, his footfalls quiet, and hints of the sun from the east were splashing flashes of light against his back.
As he soaked in the day, delved deeply into his heart, memories of loss, of decisions once made, of the struggles for some measure of equality between men and women, the logic of equity, the backwardness of control that some would exercise over others, he wondered how it was that the beauty, the simplicity of parity between the sexes, between races, was so difficult to achieve and even once achieved in some modest form, how easily lost.
Before he knew it, he arrived at the sea. He quickly made for the pier and walked out the end and peered down at the serene water. The reflection of the mountains across the sound was vivid and alive.
“It begins again,” he said to the stillness. “It begins again.”295 words by Bill Engleson (@billmelaterplea)
The cool morning air made Isabella appreciate the layers of her habit. She was also thankful for the alpine lake below the abbey. Come summer, it would be impossible to visit without meeting many people. But, for now, Isabella had the boardwalk to herself.
Lakeview Abbey was ideally located with the town on one side and the lake on the other. Ancient wilderness was visible all around but never felt threatening despite its enormity. Isabella loved meditating in the liminal stillness.
Something in the lake caught her eye this unusually still morning. A body!
She stepped down onto the narrow beach, hiking her habit up to her knees and rushing into the frigid water. Icy cold wicked through her clothes as she pushed to the pale teen floating on his back. By the time she dragged him to shore, her body was as numb as her thoughts.
The teen tipped to his side when Isabella stumbled on the rocky beach. He coughed gushes of lake water onto the beach and resumed shallow breathing. Isabella fell to her knees.
“Isabella, what are you doing down there?”
Two of Isabella’s sisters approached from the abbey, necks craned to see what the young nun was about.
“There was a boy in the lake! Bring help!”
Within an hour, the bedraggled boy was dry and abed in the infirmary. Isabella was changed and by his side when his eyes fluttered open.
“Where, where am I?”
Isabella placed her hand gently on one of the boy’s.
“You are in the Lakeview Abbey infirmary. Do you remember what happened?”
Even confused and unfocused, there was an intensity behind his eyes.
“I… Did you save me?”
“I found you.”
The boy rolled so his back was to Isabella.
“You shouldn’t have done that.”298 words by David A Ludwig (@DavidALudwig)
Sword stood on the beach, and waited. He’d been there four days. Rose still had not arrived. “She’s slow. She has her own way of doing things. I need to respect that.”
He paced back and forth. He took 100 steps in a line, stopped, turned around, and took 100 steps back. He did this for hours on end.
He thought of heading to the forest to find Rose. To meet here in the forest, and finish the trip with her. “I have to trust her. She is fine. She is not in any danger. She’s just taking her time.”
Each morning, he dove into the ocean for a fish, a crab, a lobster, an eel, it didn’t really matter what. He captured it, took it to the beach, gutted it, skinned it, and otherwise prepared it for cooking. He cooked it on a fire, then ate it.
He spent the day gathering firewood. He tidied up his lean-to, even worked to make it sturdier. Anything to pass the time. Anything to keep his mind off of Rose, and how she hadn’t arrived yet.
Before sunset, he fished, cooked, and ate again.
And he waited.
At sunset, every day, a projection of Mystica showed up. It floated across the sand, and stopped in front of him. “Hi, Sword. I’m checking in again. Rose is fine. She’s on her way. But, she gets distracted, makes side trips, takes naps, plays with the animals.”
“When will she get here?”
“I have no idea.” Mystica always smiled. “But, we have to let her do this on her own. Like how Oceana allowed you to make the trip to see Rose on your own. She will get there when she gets there.”
Each night, he watched the stars until he fell asleep.300 words by Mark Ethridge (@mysoulstears)
I wished I could read him better. I’d felt like we were making progress, growing together, becoming a thing. I didn’t realise it was so delicate, that it could be broken so easily.
We were so different; I should have known.
I watched him, sitting toward the end of the boardwalk, gazing out into empty space.
“You screwed up?”
I nodded. It was good that she was here. She was his sister; she knew him better than anyone. She was used to his moods, the turbulent clouds that could shut him down without warning. It could be a word or a name he heard – almost anything. He could be listening to a song on the radio, relaxed, his foot tapping in mid-air. And then suddenly the record would change, and he’d be gone. Somewhere else, somewhere far away.
“Don’t blame yourself, Jack. It’s not you.”
I sighed. Closed my eyes. Listened to the noises of the beach. There were families spread across the whole of the sands to either side of us. Children shouting, arguing, kicking balls into the water; doing the things everyone does at the coast. The PA system in the fun park was playing Rick Astley. Why did everyone have to keep doing that?
“I don’t know what it was that I did.” I tried to scrub away the tears that threatened the lie I hoped to maintain. I didn’t want to be a prisoner to my emotions too. I could already see where doing that could lead.
“You’ve got give him time,” Hannah said, taking my hand. “He’s a gentle man, a good brother. He deserves someone just like you. He needs someone who can be patient. Someone who can give him a place where he can be quiet and calm. He deserves that, I think.”300 words by Mark A Morris (twothirdzrasta.blogspot.com)
I Used To Come Here
“This is depressing,” she said as we fought the wind. Gulls were doing that trick where they seem suspended in air out over the beach and all but two or three of the kiosks selling trinkets and stuff were shuttered. Had been for weeks, ever since we’d turn the corner to it’s-almost-winter.
The beach itself seemed awfully sad with no one on it except for some guys in wet suits dragging sailboards heading out to those already in the water zigging and zagging.
“You ever do that?” she asked and I told her I wasn’t much of a swimmer so I never had.
The boardwalk, too, was pretty empty. One of those open kiosks was selling coffee and hot chocolate and pastries and the others those boardwalk trinkets—keychains and snow bubbles and refrigerator magnets.
We each got coffees. They were actually pretty good, worlds from the watery stuff I got when I worked at one of the concessions in the little amusement park over the summers when I was in college. That little park was long gone, replaced by a miniature golf place, which was closed for the season so it really didn’t matter much.
We sat on one of the many empty benches. We could put our feet on the railing and watch the gulls and the sailboarders and the waves.
I told her about it, about that job at the park selling stuff that’d be broken by the time it got wherever it was going.
I told her I loved her. First time.
“I know,” she said. And we watched the gulls and the sailboards and the waves.271 words by J P Garland (@JPGarlandAuthor)