What’s up, everybody? It’s time for Flash Fiction Friday.
This week’s piece is inspired by the Random Image Generator. You press a button, it comes up with an image, and you make something based on that image. Sounds pretty simple, right?
Well… that is, if you’re a visual person. I tend to get inspired more by music than pictures when writing stories. But that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to try something new.
Anyway, here at 900 words, is…
What good was it to come here again?
He’d scoured the anchors in the sand hundreds of times. None of them were from his long lost ship. None would hold the traces of his crews salty scents, or even saltier mouths.
Yet what was left for him, but to search, when the rest of them rested beneath the sea floor? Remembering the goddess of the storm.
Saul’s bones crunched against the sand as he walked through Anchor Yard. Grains fell in cervices between their cracks. With each day of decay and losing his skin, new shadows formed on the ground.
His bone of a hand traced the curve of of anchor lodged into the sand. Fifty, he recalled. As always, he felt nothing. No cold. No rough rust against his skin. How long had it been since death passed him over? Ten? Twenty years? Shouldn’t he be walking somewhere else by now? And why, all of his crew was he turned into a walking skeleton?
But still, who put these here? Shouldn’t they be doing something else by now.
Sal spotted a tail fin in the corner of his eye and turned around. Hmph. Probably some shark.
Only it wasn’t.
A sapphire tail fin attached to a green-haired woman emerge from the depths. Tail fin separating to two unclothed legs, carrying an anchor in her arms, she crawled to the shore. Then stood. Then limped over with the anchor in her hands and lodged it near the others.
If Sal had but eyes, he would have blinked twice with them. All this time I’ve been walking up and down here, and now she shows up? Who is this mermaid? “Hey!”
He called out to the mermaid, but she did not respond to him. She wiped the sweat off her brow, smirking. “Ninety-nine down, one more to go.”
One more ship to sink? Sal called out again, jaw lowering as far it could for a skeleton of his age and decrepitude. “HEY!”
The mermaid jumped. She covered her mouth with both hands. “Oh! Sorry!” She placed her hand on her hip. “Didn’t see you there. You lost, Mr. Skely?”
“I don’t know. You tell me.” Fists scrunched as best as he could, Sal trudged over to her. “Mind telling me what you’re doing with those anchors of sunken you find at the bottom of the ocean?”
She flipped a loc of her green hair over her shoulder, pouting. “Yeesh. No asking my name? Just wondering what I’m doing and accusing me of sinking ships? Where’d you go to learn manners? Prude School?”
Sal scoffed. “And you’re not being the rude one? Where are your clothes? I thought mermaids came out of the water clothed in legends. So they could seduce people.”
She glared at him pointedly. “Where I come from, it’s rude for a skeleton to comment on a mermaid’s appearance. Name’s Coralia, by the way, Mr. Prude-School.”
“Whatever.” Sal gestured to the anchors. “What are you doing with these? And why are you collecting them?”
“Pssh. If you really want to know, they’re for granting my wish. You could help me, too, if you want.”
Sal sighed. “Let me guess: you want to be a human.”
Coralia rolled her eyes. “Jeez, where’d your brain go? The gulls? No! I don’t want a human form.” She pointed up at the sky. “I want to fly. I want to be given wings, like the birds up there. It always seems so cool from up there. The water is just slow and cold.”
Sal plopped down on his bony hips. “Tell me about it. I’m sure my crew feels the same way.”
“Crew?” Coralia squinted at him. Then her lips formed into a small “o.” “You… were a captain, aren’t you?”
Sal nodded. “My crew was decimated at sea. By a sea goddess.”
“Do you remember her name?”
“No. But as you can probably tell, she cursed me for some reason. Left me a skeleton. I remember the crew sinking, but not anything else.”
“Well…” She sat next him. She bunched her knees together. “I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Joroa. Joroa is the one I’m collecting the anchors for. And if Joroa can fulfill my wish of becoming a bird, maybe she can turn you back into a living, breathing human.”
A human, eh? Sal shook his head. “I’m… not quite sure I want that yet.”
She shrugged. “I feel ya. It’s a daunting proposition.”
“I do want to see my anchor again, though. Just so that this all doesn’t feel like one big dream anymore — just so that I can say to myself that this all really happened.”
Coralia patted him on his back with a grin. “Well… I’m pretty good at finding anchors. I mean, I didn’t find most of the anchors that are here, but I found a good portion of them. And nobody else is taking them, so… wanna come with?”
If Sal had eyebrows, they would have been furrowing, scrunching, and furrowing again. “Alright, fine. But… you sure you want a grumpy old captain like me?”
“Hey, your crew was knocked out by a goddess. That’s no joke.” Coralia grinned again. “Glad to have you aboard, Mr… Em…”
Coralia nodded. Then blushed. “I shouldn’t have said ‘aboard,’ shouldn’t I? Too soon?”
“Nah.” Sal stood and watching the ocean waves glitter in the setting sun. “Nothing’s too soon anymore.”
Did you like this flash fiction piece?
Do you wish you knew what happened next?
Well, I do, too! In fact, I want to make my first-ever short story collection possibly using this one.
But I need you to let me know if this is the story you want by voting for it at this poll right here. The poll is officially closed.
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