Crossing the Bar – Friday Fictioneers, January 2015

Copyright Georgia Koch

Towards midnight, the mooring lines slipped of their own accord; the boat eased out onto open water with the aid of a gentle breeze.

Later her engines powered up unbidden, and with a gentle ‘put-put’ she headed towards the estuary.

Beneath the surface of the water, ancient timbers succumbed to the occasional caress of tree roots, the nudge of an abandoned oil-drum, and the scrape of shingled shallows.

Lower she sat, and still lower.

Lionel, blanketed in morphine, did not feel the chill of rising water, nor the tilt of the keel as ballast shifted.

A long voyage, but now his ship was coming in.

How cheery was that, hey???  🙂  Well, today we were contemplating starting the second leg of our three-stage  winter pilgrimage, this time from mid France to the Spanish border.  Fine sunny weather was forecast – so we woke up to find the boat frosted with snowflakes, now predicted to continue all day.  When I come back, (if I come back) I’m going to be a meteorologist.  It seems like a fairly undemanding way to earn a crust…

Rochelle kindly let me have a preview of the photo in view of our travel plans, so I’ll probably be first up today.  Thank you Rochelle, as always. And thank you Georgia – a picture after my own heart.

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.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Crossing the Bar – Friday Fictioneers, January 2015

  1. Dear Sandra,

    It’s nice to know that meteorologists are consistent the world over in their “accuracy.” I definitely chose the wrong career. Where else could one make so much money for error?

    Your story is another thing. You hit the target square in the middle. Beautiful descriptions blanket us and ease us into the sorrow of the last line.



    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael B. Fishman says:

      I think a baseball player might be on a par with meteorologists when it comes to making money for failing. Miss hitting the ball seven out of 10 times and you’re considered one of the best in the game!


    • Nan Falkner says:

      Dear Sandra, Great story and as usual, well penned! Scary and nice at the same time. Poor Lionel will be home soon. This would make a wonderful opening to a movie – if it used ‘flashback.’ Powerful imagery. Nan 🙂


  2. Sandra says:

    Thank you Rochelle. 🙂 Yes, meteorology is beginning to display all the credibility (and marginally less accuracy) than astrology these days. I blame it on the weather…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. MrBinks says:

    Brilliantly written. Always a pleasure to read your work, no matter what the subject.


  4. i b arora says:

    i like the third sentence, nice post, great


  5. Horus says:

    So near yet so far… that’s the lingering feeling I had.

    But I am sure that wont be with your Journey, whatever may the weatherman or the weather itself may decide ! Have a lovely trip !!


  6. I hope you come back safely with all of your fingers and toes intact.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bastet says:

    Such a beautifully written story … brilliant descriptions and a serene but sad ending … a great write.


  8. Have a great trip, Sandra. At any rate it’ll be a tremendous improvement on the short, tragic trip of your character. Seems it’ll be his last. if I’m not mistaken, a ghost, or ghost boat, seems involved here. Either that of in his state of drugged mind it just seems that way. Well done at any rate and as usual. Great description; I could feel the chill of the water. — Suzanne


  9. What a good story to go with the picture. You gave us the scene then hit us with the tragedy.


  10. The description in this is hauntingly beautiful. I could read it over and over and still find it just as engaging.


  11. storydivamg says:

    Dear Sandra,
    You wove a deep and beautiful metaphor here. Nicely handled.

    Enjoy your journey.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail


  12. Sandra – how melancholy this is. Nicely done. Safe travels.


  13. What a description, I have it all in my head. Such an undercurrent of tragedy.


  14. Caerlynn Nash says:

    Very cheery! 😉 You really set up a peaceful image here — peaceful, like Lionel. Nice!


  15. Wonderful writing again, Sandra. I guess we need to feel happy for Lionel that his suffering is now over. 🙂 Have a great trip.


  16. Wow. this extended metaphor remaining unexplained until the very end reads like pure poetry. .. wonderful word choices.


  17. elmowrites says:

    Right from the off, there’s a heavy sorrow in this story, Sandra, and yet it ends on a strangely positive note – the blanket of morphine is just enough to suggest we can be happy for him to find this gentle end. Lovely.
    Enjoy your ongoing travels, I hope the snow is at least pretty!


    • Sandra says:

      Thanks for reading Jen. Yes, it is a bit melancholic. I had another one but that was a bit technical (in boatie terms) so I opted for this. We’ll be underway later today for Perpignan.


  18. suej says:

    Bleak, haunting…great prose….


  19. billgncs says:

    That had a viking feel to it


  20. What a vivid scene. Sad, yes, but brilliantly written.

    Bon voyage, Sandra!


  21. paulmclem says:

    Reminds me of poor auld Boromir 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  22. When I saw the photo, I thought “Oh, Sandra’s going to like this one!” Another expertly written story, this one particularly haunting.


  23. wolfsrosebud says:

    nice… you hooked me… I wanted more


  24. I loved it all and especially the last line. Beautifully written.


  25. Yes, a haunted boat. Why did I not see that?
    I aspire to be as clever as you.
    Safe travels!


  26. wildbilbo says:

    Lovely – That third sentence is excellent.


  27. Sandra,
    a beautiful story, as always, but no, not very cheery. 🙂 I hope nothing of that sort happens on your voyage. I envy your peregrine ways.


  28. rogershipp says:

    Nicely done. I always enjoy your takes on the prompts,


  29. Safe and wonderful travels, Sandra. This is indeed a cheery story (not), but so wonderfully done! Fantastic use of the prompt! I was going to congratulate you on your early place in the cue (I will never be that girl– most weeks I forget to link up!), but love that you had a head start. 😉 Bon voyage!


  30. A great metaphor for those last hours? Wonderful nautical language.


  31. You’re right, that wasn’t too cheery. But every word leads us to the end and that powerful last line. I need a drink!


  32. rgayer55 says:

    I had always dreamed of my ship coming in. Now, I’m thinking I’d better find a new metaphor. Beautiful choice of words. I loved the flow–all the way to the sinking conclusion. 🙂


  33. Sally says:

    Poor Lionel – your descriptions of the boat gently descending as Lionel does is beautifully done.


  34. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    I’m late to the party. Apologies. Was helping a friend who was sinking.

    Your story is beautiful and otherworldly and I got lost in its rhythms as I read. Lovely work from a lovely writer.




  35. Michael B. Fishman says:

    Poor Lionel 😦 A very dark and atmospheric piece that fits with the ‘feel’ of the image.


  36. bykimberlylynne says:

    Poor Lionel. I wonder if he has ghostly friends. Or enemies. Poignant & sad and a good read for this dreary day. (Our weatherman was spot on, more’s the pity.)


  37. plaridel says:

    a nice exclamation point to a life i hope was well-lived. i suppose you’ll be back unlike this fellow in your story.


  38. Amy Reese says:

    Mesmerizing, Sandra. Such vivid and rich descriptions. I surprised by the sad end, but knew it wasn’t going to end well. Happy travels! Can you take a heated blanket in that boat?


  39. Judee says:

    Hauntingly beautiful, though sad, but strangely not, if that makes sense. Travel safe and don’t forget to write from time to time! 🙂


  40. Margaret says:

    Beautiful. So much to ponder. Lionel has obviously made his choice, and is going to a peaceful end.


  41. draliman says:

    Descriptive and melancholy. Beautiful piece!


  42. helenmidgley says:

    Beautifully descriptive 🙂


  43. Beautiful piece Sandra for a murder? Suicide? My uncle has told us he wants a Viking burial, you know push the boat out into the lake and light ‘er up!

    Liked by 1 person

  44. A burial at sea, it seems. Beautifully written, Sandra.


  45. afairymind says:

    This is a beautifully written piece with wonderful description! It has such a pervading sense of melancholy that’s brought to culmination with the fate of the morphine blanketed Lionel. 🙂


  46. Sarah Ann says:

    Very cheery! Even so I felt lulled and sleepy, along with Lionel. Love the line ‘ancient timbers succumbed to the occasional caress of tree roots, the nudge of an abandoned oil-drum.’ Our first boat being a wooden one, this had added meaning for me.


  47. MissTiffany says:

    I got a little chill reading this. Lovely, as always.


  48. adamjasonp says:

    “and the scrape of shingled shallows.”
    Such great wording in this one.  The boat sinks, but the quality doesn’t. 🙂


  49. Ellespeth says:

    Finished this piece thinking of of a Viking burial boat. Something to do with the morphine. The ‘ghost’ knows best.

    Hope your travels have begun – enjoy!


  50. Dee says:

    A perfect use of the prompt this week Sandra,up to your usual high standard and very well written. I too felt the chill of the water, hope your travels get warmer and warmer!

    Take care



  51. AnnIsikArts says:

    Authentic use of language (of course) poetic, atmospheric, sad and I would like to go in similar manner. 🙂


  52. AnnIsikArts says:

    P S I like your nudging oil drum and scraping shingled shallows.


  53. Pingback: A Good Samaritan? Friday Fictioneers, August 2016 | castelsarrasin

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