Microfiction Friday: “Past The Breakers”

I thought about writing a post dealing with our ever-more-quickly declining political sphere.  I thought about it, then I decided even my all-star level of cynicism wasn’t quite up to dealing with the most recent event of bombs mailed to anti-Trump figures.  Nope…I mean, just how many times can I repeat “We’re fucked” before I start to go insane?

I thought, also, about writing a semi-humorous post on the topic of “Who Is The Coolest Person Ever.”  But…well…I mean, c’mon — we all know it’s Miles Davis, and anyone who says different is either nuts, or selling something.  Or probably both…

Ah, hell…screw it.  I’m a fiction writer, and I’ve been thinking about meaning and subtext all day.  Maybe it’s time to go back to the basics:

Past The Breakers

The boy was afraid of the waves.  He’d always been afraid of the waves, and always would be, he thought.  His brothers swam and played out in the waves, tried to draw him in, but his faltering legs refused to move deeper into the sea.

What if I fall? he thought.  What if the water gets me?

Water to his ankles…warm sand and even warmer sun…all the comfort of other kids, and their parents, close around him.  There was safety where he was, even if that safety lacked the daring of his brothers.

He ran and played in the shallows, but always with the soundtrack of those familiar voices shouting and calling, “Come out with us!  You can handle the waves, that’s where the fun is!”

Tears, then, of frustration and fear…and of anger.  If he never left the shallows, how would he know if the waves truly were fun?  How would he know if he could ever overcome them?  How would he know?

Water to his knees, then to his hips, and a wave knocked him down.  A spit of salty water and he climbed to his feet, anger pushing the fear far behind him.  Soon, his feet left the sand and he was swimming, ducking under the waves as they broke above him, then surfacing for a gasp of air.

His brothers had been right!  It wasn’t just fun, it was exhilarating, and he threw everything he had into his frolicking battle with the sea.  He felt tremendous, he felt…powerful.  A look around and he realized he’d done it, he’d swum father than any of his brothers!  He felt like he could do anything.

A moment more and that excitement faded as quickly as it had come.  There were no more waves to battle.  There was no more exhilaration, nor excitement.  There was no more anger.  There was just fear, and an incomprehensible sense of loss.

The voices calling to him from the shore were tiny and incomprehensible, too distant to hear.  His arms were beginning to numb, and his legs wouldn’t kick properly.  He was exhausted, he discovered.  Although the waves were gone, the ocean still moved, and with every heave the waters washed over him, higher and higher.  

He heard a voice, then, barely.  One single voice, that of a brother, “…he’s too far out…”

Too far out.

Another heave of the sea, and he slipped under.

The voices called and called, the shouts turning to shrieks and cries, but nothing could penetrate the sea.

Microfiction Friday: “Flowers”

I wanted to see her again; I needed to see her again. It had been a year, and never had we gone so long without seeing each other.

I still loved her. That hadn’t changed, and never would, but the vagaries of life and circumstance had changed everything else.

Today, though…

Today, we would see each other. Today I would feel again that rush of warmth and comfort. Today would make the last year seem but a blink.

I watched and I watched. The sun climbed the sky, turned and started to descend, and still she hadn’t come. There was nothing I could do but wait. She would come. I loved her, I knew she would come.

There…there she was. She had come!

I wanted to jump up, wanted to gather her in my arms once again. I wanted the years to have disappeared, to have everything back the way it used to be.

Against the green of the grass her dark dress stood out, highlighted the flowers filling her arms.

I couldn’t move, couldn’t speak. The years fell away, and that longed-for warmth and comfort overwhelmed me — she had come!

Tears stained her cheeks as she laid the flowers at my feet.

I wanted to move. I tried to move, to touch her cheek, to stroke her hair…but I was rooted, immobile. No matter how much I needed to touch her, I couldn’t move.

“Happy anniversary, my love,” she whispered. A sob, then, and her voice broke, “God, I miss you…”

Microfiction Friday: “The Dark”

The Dark

They say the dark is oppressive, that it carries fear and danger.

Not when the dark is your friend, I say. Not when the dark hides the dangers. The dark has been my friend since the day I was born.

The sound of feet and we all moved, we all pushed and crawled deeper into the dark. The sound of a voice and that crawl became a sprinting brawl — the dark was about to end.

A heaving body next to me, all breath and sweat and fear. There were no words. There could be no words, the dark was about to end.

An iron rattle, and a creaking, and the dark was shattered by that demon we all feared, by the light. The world disappeared behind that light, behind that which made us blind and helpless.

Words, then, from that body next to me, “No! Not me!”

I cracked an eye and saw the shape we all so feared, saw the huge silhouette with reaching hands.

That body next to me continued to scream, even as it was pulled away by those hands. I don’t know why, but I stood. I stood and kicked at the silhouette. I came only to its waist, but still I kicked. Still I tried to stop the disappearance of yet one more of us from the dark.

One of those hated hands lashed out, sent me reeling. I stumbled and fell. I don’t know if my tears were for the screaming voice I had not been able to save, or for myself. All I knew was that I would be next. All I knew was that, after eight years in the dark, I would be next.

{The basic concept was 300 words, based on the line “the kids in the dark”}

Microfiction Fri…err, Monday

Late post today, and there weren’t any saved up in my Drafts section…  I didn’t feel like coming up with an actual “topic,” so I took a song lyric for inspiration and threw together a flashfiction piece instead:

Someone Else’s Skin

Every movement was awkward and uncomfortable. Nothing felt right, nothing felt like it should. I stared and studied throughout my morning routine, but the face in the mirror stayed a stranger. It was close to my own, but not close enough.

More minutes, and more routine, and my clothes didn’t fit right. They hung and they clung, in all the wrong places. They were clothes for someone else…for that face I saw in the mirror.

The face that wasn’t me.

Time in the car gave more time to wonder, and to fear. Who the hell was I?

I stepped through a door, then, and strange faces smiled and called greetings. Faces I didn’t know, in a place I didn’t recognize. Dread grew and I feared I had lost everything.

The wrong face, the wrong clothes…the only thing that felt the same was me, but a me that was shrunken and hidden. I was a beaten thing, I realized, hiding from harm and danger. And from loss.

I was right, I had lost everything. Everything but me.

To wear someone else’s skin, to be someone else… Was I hiding, or had I finally surrendered? Had I finally accepted “better than nothing”?

Was I the stranger, and that stranger’s skin the real truth?

A return greeting for all those strange faces — a smile, even — and the answer began to terrify me.