Friday Fictioneers – One Tide

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - One Tide 200617

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

One Tide

Linda and Mark watched the waves pounding the sea-wall, hurling shingle across the promenade.

“I must go back,” sighed Linda.

Charlie, lying in his sick-bed, coughed. For a moment he was lucid. Linda could do better than Mark, he thought. Then the surging ocean carried him back sixty years to his first voyage in a three-master.

Linda looked at Charlie’s chest. Still breathing.

The sound of the surf faded. Charlie’s breathing became shallow.

Linda phoned Mark.

“I think he’s going. Will you come round?”

The couple sat hand in hand as Charlie’s tide ebbed.

“We can marry now,” said Linda.

Inlinkz – click here to join in the fun!

37 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – One Tide

  1. Eesh… a tad crass to watch him circle the drain so they can wed… that he knew is bad enough. Mind you, we don’t know the full story.
    Good one, Penny. You’ve got me changing my mind with each word I type!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Dale
      Thank you for reading and for your lovely comments. I’m delighted that the story felt so ambiguous. My own back story is that Linda is Charlie’s great grand daughter. She’s looked after him for a couple of years since his stroke and he’s left his seaside house to her in his will. Charlie has had a long and full life, and now he’s dying of natural causes with his favourite GGDaughter at his bedside. Not a bad way to go, I think. Of course, most of that isn’t in the text, so the reader is perfectly entitled to a different interpretation!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Neil
      Thank you for reading and for your kind comment. I believe there used to be a superstition among sailors that if they were sick or dying of old age, they would only die on an ebb tide.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Shweta
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m interested that the explanation makes such a difference to how you see the story. I’m a great believer in the power of the reader – basically, if something isn’t in the text, the reader can imagine what they like. It seems to me that the trick with flash fiction is to have enough in the text that the reader is guided into a range of possibilities that prompts them to think about the subject matter. By that standard, this story falls short.
      Sandra, Lynn Love and Rochelle are all real masters of the art!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Charlie was Linda’s great grandfather. He owned a house by the sea that he was going to leave to Linda, but he didn’t like Mark. Linda didn’t want to upset him so they postponed marriage since they knew that he was dying – natural causes! – and didn’t have long to live.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sandra
      Thank you for reading and for commenting so kindly. I was really seized by the idea of the old sailor dying on the ebb tide while life went on with a promise of marriage for a new generation. It’s much too big really for flash fiction!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  2. Ugh, not a way one would wish to cross into the next world, fading away in a sick bed, knowing your wife/daughter is waiting for you to die to be with another person. Who knows, maybe he earned that end, but then again nobody leaves this world worthy of heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jade
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Linda was much younger than Charlie, who had first sailed in a three master sixty years earlier. She was his great granddaughter. Charlie wasn’t jealous of Mark, he just thought Linda could do better. It wasn’t such a bad end – natural causes with a family member to be with you at the moment of death.
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Penny,

    Having read your comment to Dale clarifies the story to me. Perhaps if you changed a word to let the reader know Charlie’s her great grandfather it wouldn’t leave us wondering if she’s waiting for her first husband to die so she can marry her lover. Aside from that the use of the tide and the waves is lovely.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you for reading and commenting. You’re right – I needed to make it clear that Linda was his great granddaughter, and was being kind to him. After all, she didn’t ask Mark round until Charlie was unconscious. Thank you very much for the constructive criticism – it’s very welcome indeed!
      Shalom
      Penny

      Like

  4. Wow potent for such a short story. Reading the comments it seems there are different interpretations. To me that’s a sign of great writing. I saw a love triangle with Charlie dying of cancer (or something equally terrible). A smooth easy read Penny!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Brenda
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I got really hooked by the idea of low tide representing the moment of the old man’s death followed by the incoming tide bringing new hope of marriage in the much younger generation. The topic might have been too big, at least for my limited skills, because readers’ opinion is broadly that foul play was afoot!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  5. I read the addendum to Dale’s comment. The entire tale is great. But … 100 words is 100 words.
    You hit it out of the park, Penny.
    I enjoyed it very much.
    Be safe … Be Healthy … Be Happy 😍
    Isadora 😎
    ps: He has a sweet and caring GGdaughter.

    Like

  6. I don’t quite know how to feel about this one. I think I’m going to believe that Linda and Mark had been prohibited from marrying because of her father’s, Charlie’s, impending death.Sad, though, as it doesn’t seem there was any great sorrow on Linda’s part. You’ve left us a puzzle to solve, Penny 🙂

    Like

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