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Flash Fiction

Picture It & Write, 28 April 2013: Horizon Calls

He knew she was out there, despite not having seen a soul for three days.

It all started while he and his dad were fishing. The waters off the coast of their little island home in the Keys was still warm and as he dangled his feet off the side of the pier he heard it–a woman’s voice calling. He couldn’t make out the words exactly but knew by the tone quality of the sound, it was coming from a woman. Looking southward, he at first thought that perhaps it was someone with boat trouble but when no boat materialized after about an hour he realized that something else was going on. While his dad went back for more bait, he lowered himself into the water and paddled out. The voice seemed to get stronger as he let go of the edge of the pier and he could almost make out words as he swam a few feet away.  He took a few additional strokes and paused; there it–she–was again, stronger this time. A breeze blew the words away but he had to know; her voice, even without words, was beautiful and enticing. He was young and strong, a power swimmer for his school’s team. He figured he could go out and be back before his dad would start to worry.

But after the first hour of swimming, he forgot all about fishing, his dad, and home. Her voice beckoned him on, strengthening when he was headed in the right direction and weakening whenever he looked away from the horizon. By nightfall, he thought he had lost her, but she seemed to call even louder and he swam on, oblivious to the caress of hungry sea life beneath him. His desire to find her had taken away thoughts of hunger, thirst, or fatigue. By the afternoon of the second day about four planes had flown low overhead; after the first one had passed, he became alert for others and as they approached he ducked beneath the surface of the calm sea until each had gone on.

It was coming on evening of the third day and he paddled to stay in place; her voice was so melodic and enchanting that it soothed the cramping in his stomach and the aches in his arms and legs. He knew she was out there, waiting.

Written for this week’s Picture It & Write. Click below to catch up on other stories and to submit your own.



  1. Ermilia May 9, 2013 12:58 am

    Very eerie. It sounds like a legend to be told to children in small villages. Be wary of the sea goddess! A fantastic little story. I loved this description ‘oblivious to the caress of hungry sea life beneath him.’ Thanks for contributing this week to Picture it & write. 🙂

    – Ermisenda

    • AR Neal May 9, 2013 2:09 am

      Thank you, Ermisenda! I was away a few weeks whilst working on my Camp NaNoWriMo novella. It’s good to be back!

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