Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sea Sixteen

Her feet teased the ground with a tread so light she rivalled the soft touch of the winds that playfully stroked her body at each graceful step. She could smell freshly mowed grass and the sounds of labourers from beyond the patchy hillocks that ran the length of the beach. Gulls squabbled amongst the weeds that bound the damp, sandy soil together. The birds, so elegant when riding invisible air current far above, hop-scotched and squawked impatiently as they fought over scraps in the scrub.

Then she heard him; turned to his voice, flashed him a wide smile then, laughing, sped away. Her feet tore at the white sand, the air was rougher, catching at her loose clothes and pawing jealously at her hair. She ignored it, eyes closed, half against the sandy wind, half from the laughter that creased her face. Soon, and just as she had expected - longed for -  she was folded in his grasp, his sweet scent in her nostrils as they fell to the sand and he rolled on top of her.

With fingertips light as whispers, he brushed the sand off her face. She opened her eyes to look into his face, but fleetingly before closing them anew, as her mouth opened to meet his kiss. His hand slowly caressed her side, then with increasing urgency he pulled aside her clothes to stroke her breasts, playfully tweaking a nipple. She gasped, a noise that came from low in her belly. He pressed his mouth against her hungrily, his tongue slipping into her mouth.

She coughed.

Then again, harder this time. She had to sit upright, swinging her legs over the side of the bed, her body gripped by a series of spasms that stole her breath away. Finally, when she was able to control the attack, she looked at her palm, spattered with white phlegm, flecked with dark blood. She wiped it off on the tattered top that was more glued to her body, rather than worn.

She stayed in that position for several minutes, catching her breath. The drip of rain water into a plastic pail in the corner of the room marked time with her panting inhalation. Gray light threatened to shine through the single white-washed window. Morning then.

Her lumpy scalp itched and tingled. A shower of dry flakes dislodged as she scratched at the tufted hair still left on her head. She reached her scarred and twisted hand, each fingertip wrapped in scraps of rag where the nails had been, to the large plastic bottle of sleeping pills on the side table. She gave it a shake, to assess the contents.

Still enough for many more nights of sweet dreaming.

Or, perhaps, just enough for one.


  1. Wow, powerful story. That last line is haunting. Well done!

  2. Tragic. Is it wrong for her to want one more night of dreaming? Maybe then nothing. I hope she gets at least this. Wow.

  3. Pow. This was beautiful and freaky all in one. Excellent!

  4. Yes... here's hoping she does at least get a good night of dreaming. Such a lovely piece of flash told with elegance...

  5. Anthony said it... told with elegance.

    Pow, that one hit me right between the eyes. My nails ache too.

  6. The dream and the reality were told very well. The flawless transition between the two a mere cough. Anthony is correct, Anton, the story carried an elegance. Well done.

  7. Been reading through some of your stories. Really like this one.