This week’s Flash! Friday prompt got under my skin and not in a good way. As I looked at the picture prompt, all. I. could. see. was Captain Jack Sparrow’s long, tangled hair and red bandana, ropes strapped to his back, slogging through the burning sand, pulling his dry-docked ship.
Apologies to those of you who haven’t seen the later movies. My advice: don’t (although the first one was quite enjoyable).
With that out of the way, I did manage to carve two short stories from the prompt. My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to include some element of man vs. nature.
First story’s nature element: Death. By the end of the story, Death = 1, Man = 0.
You hold the paper cup to your lips, but the water drips unnoticed across your dry tongue. You stare at the clock as it ticks silent seconds of still solicitude.
“I’m sorry,” it says. “She was a good person.”
Like the waves beneath my prow.
“I would turn backward if I could, you know.” The round face stares at you, unmoving, granite. “Give you another day, another hour, another minute.”
All the time in the world wouldn’t be enough. The ten and the two quail beneath your glare.
“Must fly, you know. I wait for no man.”
With a wheezing hitch, the minute hand inches forward, and you crush the cup in your hand, defeated. You stare down the long tunnel of solitary time in a desert of your own making. She became your ocean, your horizon-to-horizon. Her currents pulled you through stormy tempests and listless doldrums, and when she was gone, the sea sank into the sand, and the desert stretched long before you.
Your ship lists among the dunes, powerless, impotent against the dusty soil, and there is no drop of water for your thirsty soul.
Second story’s nature element: Hurricane. Again, nature wins. Hurricane = 1, Man = 0. I’m sensing a theme here.
In the Eye of the Beholder
They say that Sandy is my name,
That wide destruction is my game.
I hover wide, a baseless mass,
I circle near, a cantankerous lass.
My temper can’t be tamed or taught,
I can’t be blackmailed, paid or bought.
I rough house all I want, you see,
You’ll come out worse if you meet me.
There’s no telling what I’ll do;
Maybe you should see the view.
Flattened houses, rifted lakes,
Broken dams and skidding brakes,
Cars blown over and even more,
Trees like matchsticks on the shore.
Ships tossed over, listing wide
From prow to stern to starboard side.
Seasick sailors, pale-faced crew,
Panicked captain, “What to do?!
Lifeboats, man them, get to land!”
Poor fool, you’ve just hit the sand.
Wiring, power, it’s all out,
Hear the hiss and hear the shout
Of desperate workers, fighting wind,
Crying to me, when’s the end?
Never, HA! I laugh and throw
A tornado down there just for show.
Fork some lightning, thunder crash,
Send the rain, make it lash.
Stay indoors then if you dare,
I’ll come find you, I don’t care.
I say to you, don’t mess with me,
My name’s Hurricane Sandy, see?