I’m excited to add my small contribution to the Fiction in a Flash week 7 from Suzanne Burke. I have never participated in any of these before and it was a ton of fun. For those that read this I hope that you enjoy it, and please find a link below to Suzanne Burke’s site. Thank you!
In spite of the rapid movement of clouds over head, his boat had captured little more then a light breeze in his sails. The sun was once more beginning its slow, but unstoppable, descent into the sea. It would be another night, alone, alone with his own mind, among the dark waves and an endless horizon of stars.
Two weeks… his mind rolled over the thought. “Two weeks.”, the words issued from chapped and cracking lips. Was it two weeks? Maybe two months, or two days? He could no longer reckon time out here. At least not in the way that those who have never sat seemingly motionless upon a loveless sea do. Where one has time to ponder the very existence of sanity.
All he knew, was that the sun would rise. During that time of light he would bake. Sipping dryly, with each taken one last moment of relief. Then, mercifully, and dreadfully, the sun would set. With the last rays darkness would fall and the heat of the day would pass into momentary forgetfulness. There he would take hunger filled bites, knowing too that it could be his last. This… this merger life, that is what he knew.
He turned to the setting sun taking his last dry sip of water when something seemed to slowly come into view. Was it coming up out of the horizon? No, certainly not that, he would be moving to fast not to have noticed. A mirage of some sort? Possibly. But no, neither, he was sure of it now that he grew close.
No, he was not moving close, his sail had not waved for some time. No, the object was coming closer to him. In what seemed like simple moments to a man who time has lost all meaning for, the object was upon him. He stared up at it with confusion and wonder. It was a light house. It’s white tower glistening wet gold in the setting sun. “This cannot be.” the words but a whisper.
He reached out a hand, and to his utter shock the tower had form, mass, texture; a real thing. A real thing that had risen as out of a dream from the sea. His boat circled the tower, or it turned, he could not tell, and a narrow wooden-rope ladder came into view surmounted by a simple door. “Can this be?”
He looked up and down the wooden-rope ladder. All movement had stopped and the tower sat waiting, or so he thought, for some decision to be made. As if excepting to see someone, or something, he looked about the boat and sea around him. A habit learned long ago when his life was… well not here. He reached out a hand and took the ladder in it.
Then a second hand, and a foot, and second foot, and so on, his motions stiff but well learned from years at sea. It took him little time to ascend the narrow wooden-rope ladder. Reaching the top and looking down he realized that he had not even thought of the quality of the wood and rope. It was fine, not at all beaten by the sea. He wondered at how unfazed by this he was. But the moment passed as he now turned to the door that stood in front of him, and the thought was forgotten.
The door was iron wrought oak and well made. A simple leaver handle was set and a gentle lift would easily open it. “How unusual.” This thought too passed him by as his hand, almost without intention, reached and lifted the leaver. The door slowly swung open and, with but a breath of hesitation, he stepped through; the door slowly closed behind him.
Below, a small boat with a single mast drifted away upon a fair breeze. In the distance, silhouetting the stars, a range of low islands draws near. Someone stand upon a beach, and wonders what resides within the sea.