Long Listed for Brilliant Flash Fiction Contest

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Pastures New
By David Wing

I used to love sitting on the cliff top and staring down at the waves. The dunes would wisp and dance when the wind picked up. Sometimes the sand would venture as far as our house, a small hill rising against our walls. I’d make sandcastles and watch as the waves and the wind alike sent their armies to invade; my fortress eroding.

It was lonely there, barren and stark. The sea came and went as she pleased. When there weren’t better places to be, other shores to visit, she’d stay here. The wind was similar in his whims; often a trip to be taken.

We’d planted palms around the house when we first built there and now they towered over us, arching and aching towards the roof, shedding fronds as they pleased. The sand that made-up the window panes all but called to the shore; to the sea and each year the cliff-face creased a little more. His demeanour once so proud, so bold, now shuddered and huddled as best it could from the other elements.

He’d be home soon and he was scared.

From time to time I’d hear cars speed by on the distant highway, its tarmacked black visage shifting and trying ever more desperately to hold fast to the deserted landscape.

I wondered if it was them, but knew it wouldn’t be.

Once in a while, when the tide lapped below I’d take to the slide. I’d turn on the pump, the sea abducted from the ocean. I’d sit tight and hold the inflatable and count to five.

I’d be gone by three.

Whoosh to the base and off!

My feet would fly first, daring the wind to take me. My chest would strain and miss a beat or two until I sank below an oncoming wave. My eyes would smart against the salt and my legs would flap and flail and force my body to the surface. My arms reached for the dingy, but it would be gone, a gift for the sea. I’d make shore, sand clinging to me, and watch as my multi-coloured travel companion swam for pastures new, wishing I were still on board. I would miss him.

Later, the tide would abscond, only a damp patch remaining to say that she had even set foot on the dry. The Sun would beat ever so hard, hit after hit, and then she was truly gone. He’d go soon after, the dark ever encroaching on the day and while I might want for more, want for company and want … they would never stay together, could never stay and here I was, a part-time child split between.

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