Sunday, August 16, 2020

Flash Friday: Just Beneath The Surface

by Michael Seese

Years ago (back in 2015; I looked it up) I used to regularly take part in a flash fiction contest called "Flash Friday." The sponsor, Rebekah Postupak, would prompt us with an image, or a phrase, and gives a targeted word count range. Said another way, Janet Reid's contests are 100 or fewer; Flash Friday would say, "170 - 180."

Then it went on hiatus. But now it's back, for 19 weeks, she says.

Week 1 of 19 gave us this picture:

















and asked us to use the "idea" of either something in the air, or in the water.

The opening line immediately came to me, but at first, I was going to apply the story to the folks in the boat. And then...

Please enjoy "Just Beneath The Surface."

Cannibalism is a measure of last resort. But desperation drives the unthinkable.

"What kind of monster would even consider it?" I mumbled, swimming in the darkest depths of self-loathing.

A mother's love is fraught with peril. My babies' empty bellies and sunken eyes cut me far more deeply than their silent tears, tears which disappeared in the chilly brine. I found myself teetering unsteadily between unfathomable hope and abject realism. Without food, the three of us would not live much longer. Altruism demanded I sacrifice myself to the future. To their future. But they were so young. Could they survive without me?

Their pain...
My hunger...

Perhaps I could kill two birds with one stone, as it were.

Then came manna from above. A boat of tourists, happily chatting, cameras snapping, exploring the wilds of Antarctica.

Oh, they'll see the wild all right. Up close and personal.

"Come children," I said. "It's feeding time. To the surface."

I'm pretty happy with it. Results will be published tomorrow. 

And ALSO tomorrow, I will post my entry for this weekend's Janet Reid contest.

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