Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Flash Fiction: Gratitude

Flash Fiction Description: Written quickly, in one sitting, with minimal edits.

 It keeps me alive.

She sighed as the sun sank deeper, threatening to melt into the sea, which was quickly turning crimson. The beach was usually empty around this time, save for the occasional couple. And here she was, alone. Figures it'd turn out this way. She was the girl people were dared to date.
There were two wineglasses cradled carefully in her left hand, and a brand new wine bottle in her right. She abandoned her shoes on shore as she entered the sea, pausing as the cold water welcomed her feet. The sea was her friend. That's why she had recommended they come here. If something went wrong, she would only be a few steps away from open arms.
It wasn't long before she found her cave. No one else knew about it, so it was just as well that it belonged to her. Staying clear of dark, moist line that marked where high tide came in, she sat on the dry ground and set the glasses down, turning her attention to the wine. As the soft hiss of an opening bottle sounded, she paused as another sound was heard. Footsteps? She listened for a bit longer until a soft voice from the dark filled her ears. It wasn't loud, but in the cave it was loud enough to hear and it was...magical.
"you don't plan on drinking all that wine by yourself, do you?" A young woman, the same age if not older than her, came dancing out. Her black hair looked blue-green in the fading light, and her clothes were slightly loose on her, as if they were floating.
"May I join you, Amber?"
"How do you know my name?"
"I've always known you. I've watched over you since you were a child, and carried you to safety when you needed it."
"I'm sorry, I don't understand--"
"Do you remember a time when you were just a child, and ignored the rule to take your shoes off?"
She did remember. It was from a time before her mother had died. She had gone into the sea with her shoes on once, as a kid. Although her mother objected, the only sound she could hear was the splashing of the calm waves. She slowly made her way in until she was nearly neck deep in the water, when one of her her shoes came off. She had learned how to dive safely at home--that wasn't a problem. But suddenly the sea changed. The water came higher and started moving more as rain started falling.
It was a simple plan, but not really thought out. She would get her shoe and doggy paddle to shore. Her mother would surely help her. She was taller. But the rain started coming down harder, as if it were angry and attacking the ocean. A big wave came crashing down on Amber, and she couldn't find her way back to the surface. She opened her eyes, but they burned. It wasn't like the water at the pool. Her shoe's laces were now wrapped around her arm, safe from disappearing again. But she didn't know where she was. Why wasn't her mom coming for her? She tried yelling out, but forgot about the water. As soon as she opened her mouth, her lungs were flooded. Her mouth tasted of salt, and she couldn't breathe.
But someone else was there, swimming for her. They carried her to this cave until she woke up, and then took her to the main beach, where the sand was warm, until people found her and gave her ice cream. She had always thought it was her mother, but...
"Was that really you who saved me?"
"It really was. I'm happy to see you leave your shoes on the beach now."
"Why are you here now? I'm hardly drowning..."
"Not in a physical sense, at least. I see two wine glasses, but one person. I think that's reason enough for me to come."
"Well, then I suppose you should join me. I feel I still have to thank you for many things."

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