Flash Fiction: If the Sea Spoke

Written for Friday Fictioneers

RedPavilionPhoto-Adam Ickes

Photograph by writer Adam Ickes. Be sure to visit his site!

GENRE(S): Flash fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, romance


If the Sea Spoke . . .

When Helena McArdle reached rickety boards, she almost turned, with no fanfare and nary a flounce ruffled, back toward home. Father would be no wiser.

Instead, her footfalls hastened her forward. The inlet waits just beyond the pavilion flitted across her mind, a firefly waltzing with air.

At 17 years and ninety-eight pounds when not encased in a cage crinoline, she did not welcome the avoirdupois of womanhood. No one will make me marry Lucas Parish–that human Cerberus!

Still, the sound of waves slapping chert beaconed. “Hurry to me,” slipped from the swollen lips of the whitecaps, whose promises were lies.


15 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: If the Sea Spoke

    • Thanks for reading, P.S. You are so active with Trifecta, Friday Fictioneers, and more–that’s awesome! I still remember your “that’s not what I meant” vampire Trifecta!
      Yeah, I don’t know about Helena; she seems pretty determined to get to the sea, with her youth powering her along.

  1. I like: “her footfalls hastened her forward …” It’s truth. It’s like how the sound of typewriter keys keeps you writing. I like ‘chert’ and ‘nary’ and ‘avoirdupois’.

  2. This is very thought provoking, which I enjoy. Most curious about the names Helena McArdle and “Lucas Parish–that human Cerberus”. Hmm, Cerebus guarded Hades preventing the dead from leaving. Anyway, great post Leigh this will keep me thinking for a while.

    • Hey, Zteve. Thanks for reading this “oldie.” Wow, it’s three years ago already! Great questions. I first became enamored with Greco-Roman myth & history when I took Latin (many years ago), so I think I took Helena to be Helen (of Troy), McArdle to suggest a Scots or Irish surname (because, to my mind, the setting of the story is 1870s-1890s southern United States, probably Louisiana, Alabama, or Mississippi), and Lucas seemed a historically accurate male name of that time period. And “Parish” to suggest religion and Louisiana (as their boroughs/regions/subsections are called parishes). Yes, true, Cerberus kept the dead from leaving, although I honestly think I didn’t consider the dead living but rather the living entering and, much though I love dogs, I wanted this Lucas Parish character to be monstrous like a three-headed dog obviously is! Oh, and this is my homage to Kate Chopin’s The Awakening (book) from that time period.
      Thanks for allowing me to stretch my memory, Zteve. Hope spring 2017 is finding you as happy & productive as ever.

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