Apr 23, 2013

Sun, sea and salty tears - all audiences

Heya guys and gals.

Here's the second of my "just for fun" and completely "out of time" stories based on the Writer's Weekly 24-hour contest prompt, kindly provided by Susie.

I am wishing I had known about this contest sooner, because these prompts are absolutely awesome.
Remember, the story doesn't have to copy/use/mention the entire prompt, it just has to be obvious the story was written based on that prompt.

I hope you'll enjoy the read.


With blistered, salty skin and matted hair, they were down to their last sips of fresh water. A recreational day at sea had turned into a fight for continued existence. Slumped on the bow, searching for any hint of a breeze to sooth her burning face, her eyes widened when she noticed something fast approaching in the distance...

WORD COUNT: Stories for today's topic must not exceed 875
words. (Your story's title is *not* included in the word

Sun, sea and salty tears.

A lovely day announced itself on a warm breeze and the soft rustle of spring leaves. The smell of summer was in the air and she opened the bay window to let it into her house and into her soul. Finally winter had left. Finally summer was on the way. Today had been announced to be the warmest day of the week and she got an early start. Preparing sandwiches and a few bottles of water, she hummed along with the tune playing on the radio. She couldn’t remember the name of the band, but it was a catchy tune and she really liked it.
Twenty minutes later, a rebellious hairdo walked into the kitchen, the young teenager below it much less awake than she had been when she opened her eyes.

“Hey, brighten up, summer is coming.” she said cheerfully, hoping to coax him out of the lingering sleep.

“Hey, mom.” he replied flatly, “How come you’re up so early?”

“Your uncle called, we’re going on a boating trip. Everything is ready. Well, everything except you.”
She gave him a meaningful look.
“Eat your breakfast, we’re going in 20 minutes.”

“Do I have to come?”

“Yes, Adam, you have to come.”

With a sigh, he dropped onto the kitchen stool and poured some cereal into the bowl his mother had prepared. Moments later, he was munching on the crunchy hoops, trying to come up with an excuse not to go on that boating trip. It would have to be a good one, his mom wouldn’t let him get off the hook with a lame excuse.
Problem was, he didn’t have one. And he was too tired to come up with one. With another sigh, he got up and put his empty bowl in the sink. Leaning over, he gave his mother a wet kiss on the cheek.

“Morning, mom.”

It put a smile on her face and she ruffled through his rebellious hair.
“You need a haircut.”

“I know.” he replied, running his right hand through it as well.

Ten minutes later, he was ready, a bag with his swimming trunk, diving gear and a small towel thrown over his shoulder.
“Are you ready?” he asked.
She gave him another smile, picked up the cooling box and waved her hand towards the front door.
It meant she was.


How long had it been?
She couldn’t remember.
The sun was ablaze high above their heads, the skies a stark blue, cloudless stretch. There wasn’t a hint of a breeze to soothe her burned face.
They were down to their last sips of fresh water. Thankfully, her brother still had some clarity of mind and they were keeping the bottles on a rope under the boat. It was the only way to keep it something resembling cool. She couldn’t think straight. Not after what had happened this morning.
Desperate to find help, Adam had taken it upon himself to swim to shore. She hadn’t been awake yet and her brother hadn’t been able to summon the strength to stop him.
She was devastated, desperate for a sign and mad as hell at both her brother and her son.
Why did the men in her family have to be so damned stubborn?

It was that same stubbornness that had gotten them in this predicament.
It had started out so well. A quiet day with her brother and her son, the 2 men who meant most to her, much more than her estranged husband. It was supposed to be a relaxing day. It had been, until disaster had struck and their engine had failed. For hours, her brother had tried to get it to work again. Hours during which they had drifted, further and further away.
Now, they were close to exhaustion with no hope of a rescue.
Her thoughts were of Adam. Of the horrors of drowning, exhausted after long hours of fighting against the same currents that had carried them out to sea.
A single tear formed in her eye, she had no more moisture left.
She couldn’t cry any more than this over her loss and she had no tears left to cry over her own misfortune.

Squinting against the glare of the sun, she strained to focus her vision.
Something was at the horizon and it appeared to be coming in their direction.
Her eyes widened in surprise as it drew nearer.
It took only minutes to arrive, the waves causing their boat to dance on the water.

“You look like you could use some help.”
The booming voice was warm and comforting.

“Yes,” she croaked, “our engine died.”

“Here.” he handed her a bottle, “Drink.”

The milky white liquid soothed her throat and gave her instant energy. Enough to find her brother and give him some as well.

Meanwhile, a rope was attached to their bow and she felt the sudden shock as the boat started to move, towed by the other vessel.

“My son.” she said, a quiver in her voice.

“Is safe.”

The sigh of relief made her weary body shudder.

“Thank you.” she said in a half whisper, “Thank you so much, Neptune, for saving my family.”

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