William Thomas Engleson is the Readers’ Choice in this week’s Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. The winning entry is decided by the popular vote and rewarded with a special feature here today. (In case of a tie, the writer who submitted an entry first is the winner per our rules.) Without further ado, here’s the winning story:
by William Thomas Engleson
I float outside, through the open window and look back. The painted ledge is wearing down, the row of starfish aligns like they are sentries. Stick sea-creatures they are, white fingered starfish, or perhaps pipe cleaners.
But I am again back in my bed, staring out the window. The view is the same. I see the same sentinels. They are my protectors. They are my dreams brought to artificial life. A taste of the sea, a memory, a fabrication to soothe my still active imagination.
As a child, I lived on the ocean. I rocked in my cradle, perched on the outside engine, always humming, a slight motion as we slice into the fog, sluicing through the gentle waves, dropping anchor, being lifted into my mothers arms, we clamor into the skiff, my father rowing us to the shore.
As the fog lifts, the sea life on the shore is revealed, the tide slowing slipping out, the touch of purple starfish, the oysters, shucked, the roaring beach fire, the dream is always the same.
The taste fires my heart.
“Do we know?” I hear her ask.
“It’s hard to tell. He seems…poised,” the Doctor says.
“Poised! Yes, I like that,” she says.
I smell the salt sea. I see the child that I am, lifting the stone, exposing the scurrying crabs. They fear me, yet I pose no threat.
I walk beyond them, slipping on the wet rocks, the curtain ruffled, the sea taking me in.