Low Tide (Friday Fictioneers, October 2013)

Copyright E A Wicklund

Time, I think, for something a little darker.  I’ve restrained myself admirably for weeks now, but as prompted by Erin Leary a short while ago, it’s time to ‘off’ someone. 

And I feel better for it already!  🙂

Why not join us at Friday Fictioneers?  Surely you’ve got a 100 word story waiting to be freed.

The seagulls had merely embellished the painstaking work of the ocean and its creatures; there were no recognisable bodily features.  There was no doubt though about the clothes, the sodden Italian shoes, the expensive wristwatch – it must be her husband, her tormentor.

The shadow on the cliff-top watched apprehension roll from her shoulders, and sensed the soaring of her spirits as she stood, buffeted by the stiff breeze, carefully masking her emotions from those offering supporting arms around her.

Free now, and aching to be with her lover.

It would be a joyful process;  a protracted…if at times painful reunion.

About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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65 Responses to Low Tide (Friday Fictioneers, October 2013)

  1. Dear Sandra,

    In your intro you said it was going to be dark. Sounds like this was a guy “what needed killin'” Hope the grieving widow can maintain her facade. Great take on the prompt. Well done.




  2. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    But is it, in fact, her lover’s unrecognizable body, clad in her husband and tormentor’s watch, Italian shoes and clothes, that lies murdered on the beach? Painful and protracted reunion? Her husband, the shadow on the cliff top is as clever and twisted as he is cruel. This story is not over, is it?

    Fantastically dark and mysterious, Sandra. Let me know if I am warm or just seagull droppings.




  3. claireful says:

    Doug got there before me. I knew that something was wrong – the shadow on the cliff watching her fake her grief. Without changing any words (they’re all great), I wonder if the line starting ‘free now’ should follow the previous paragraph more closely, so we can see this is from her point of view, and then the last line is more clearly from someone else – her husband.


    • Sandra says:

      Hi Claire, thanks for reading. I had a few problems writing this, mostly POV issues. The way I had it at first was pretty much the way you suggested, but then I thought the POV police will be after me on this one, so I changed it round to make it from his ‘observed’ point of view. I think there is a better way with this though, and am still thinking about it. I think basically there’s a lot of plot (not to mention three characters) to get into 100 words, probably too much.8888


      • claireful says:

        Hmm, I think in which case there are still POV issues. Did you mean the whole piece to be his POV? Because the second line makes it clearly from her POV (‘her husband’) – the husband on the cliff, wouldn’t think this!
        Or maybe you just mean para by para – her, him, her, him – which works, but isn’t that clear for me.
        Really tricky in such a short piece.
        Claire POV-police Fuller


        • Sandra says:

          To my mind, he was putting himself in her shoes, thinking what she would think. Of course, with more words I could have made that clear, which reinforces my thought that perhaps the concept was too much for 100 words. As you may have gathered, I’m not much of a convert to the POV issue; I just pay lip service where it suits and for as long as I have the patience. 🙂


  4. “Time, I think, for something a little darker.”

    That’s where you had me. Great story. You are so very good at bad, Sandra! 😉


  5. Adam Ickes says:

    I had to read it twice. The first time I came to the same conclusion as Rochelle. Second time around it hit home what was really going on. Well done, Sandra.


  6. AH.. how similar our minds worked … dark indeed. The end the same.. but your lady seems a lot nicer.


  7. Sandra, I was a bit confused until I read some of the responses and your responses to them. The clues are there, of course: “must be her husband” rather than being more definite, the shadow watching and the “painful” reunion, although the shadow had me wondering for a bit.

    If you said “figure”, rather than shadow, I think it would be a bit clearer and what about putting the first paragraph in a different font from the rest (or one in italics and one plain)? Would that be giving it away too much? That would indicate to me a change in POV or character.

    Just a couple thoughts on a well done dark story.



  8. kz says:

    you sure know how to go dark. if the body’s beyond recognition, i shudder what the ‘painstaking work of the ocean and its creatures’ looked like.


  9. Helena Hann-Basquiat says:

    Fantastic when read through the second time. Isn’t it amazing how, with only 100 words, EACH one sometimes lends a clue to the mystery? I confess I missed what was really going on the first time through — I thought it a fairly straight-forward murder story.
    You are too clever, darling!


  10. gingerpoetry says:

    Well I had to read much more than two times – with leo.org (dictionary) at my side. It´s my 3rd week with FF and for me it´s a hard struggle with the language too, but again it is really stunning for me what great ideas for those 100-word-stories are born in this group. And the plot of course has nothing to do with the language…. WOW, really great, thanks, I always learn a lot, Regards from Germany Carmen


  11. Well, you meant business with the dark. Well done, Sandra. I want more darkness! I got it the second time…but then I really got it.


  12. Ye Pirate says:

    Dark and layered…definite few readings needed, showing how rich it is.


  13. zookyworld says:

    I admit that the true meaning of the body didn’t click with me until I read the comments. I was wondering why you ended the story with “if at times painful reunion.” But seeing Doug’s comment and reading your story again, the meaning hit me. Very clever writing to fit that in there — the husband and wife fooled me, too!


  14. Linda Vernon says:

    The first time I read it I thought it was her husband. Then I thought it was her lover who killed her husband, but then I read a comment that pointed to her husband killing her lover. But don’t judge by me because I’m horrible at following plots. I can’t tell you how many times I had to watch The Talented Mr. Ripley to get what was going on. Ha! But I loved it anyway, Just like I love this anyway! 😀


  15. Oooh, creepy, dark, indeed! I love the idea of the birds feeding on what is left. The description of the clothes and watch, are chilling. Is the shadow on the cliff her lover, an enemy, who? That adds to the cold, scary edge here… well done.


  16. erinleary says:

    I’m glad I could give you a “push”. Nice to see you back in business!! Great story – leaves me wanting to read more….


  17. Dark, though this might be, I miss your cunning dialogue…


  18. JackieP says:

    Like many others I had to read it twice. Clever woman you are. Once I figured out what was truly going on I shuddered for the woman in the story.


  19. I loved the sense of release at the end of this. You can feel the exhalation of breath and the grim satisfaction of this woman.


  20. rgayer55 says:

    I’m not great at solving mysteries, so reading the story twice along with the comments got me there. It’s a great tale once I got all the pieces of the puzzle properly arranged.


  21. Put me in the camp of those who think it’s a bit too ambiguous, Sandra. It didn’t sit exactly right that the person murdered was her husband, but the ending didn’t convince me that the husband was the one alive either. The sentence “It would be a joyful process; a protracted…if at times painful reunion” doesn’t quite bring it all home for me.

    I like the piece and the concept very much, but for me some other “capper” might be better to make the ending all the more gripping.


  22. unspywriter says:

    So glad you decided to off someone (and that I won’t be the only dark one today)! Great story. I got the twist, but then that’s me. 😉

    Here’s mine: http://unexpectedpaths.com/friday-fictioneers/white-noise/


  23. Steve Lakey says:

    I missed the twist, but still enjoyed the story!


  24. annisik51 says:

    I wondered about the shadow on the clifftop watching. It could not be her. Wondered if it was the ghost of the dead husband. It could have been. Nicely sinister story! Ann


  25. silent kim says:

    Good story. She gets to live the rest of her life free.


  26. This is quite a deep, full story. I think I missed some things on the first reading, but picked up on the little clues the second time through. I think the confusion was with the perspective of the last sentence: whether it was from hers or the shadow on the cliff. In any case, fantastic story.


  27. sandraconner says:

    It takes a brave woman to force so much story into 100 words. You go girl!


  28. pattisj says:

    I surmised the husband faked his death, but I hope it isn’t her lover’s body. She’s going to need all the help she can get!


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