Friday, June 25, 2010

Avast my heart -----------------flash fiction

Sandy had been having the dream since she was five years old. It always started the same way. Looking down at her bare foot as she stepped onto the deck of a huge sailing ship, masts and rigging creaking in the wind, salt spray on her face, the smell of the ocean and its deep mysteries surrounding her. There was a boy at the helm, his dark hair blowing in the wind, his face alighting when he looked up. He would hold out his hand to her and say something, but what he said was always muffled. She’d take his hand, stand next to him at the wheel, hip to hip, their hands steering the ship in unspoken unison, both of them rolling and swaying with the crash of the waves as they sailed together on an endless moonlit night into unknown adventures.

As she got older she had the dream less. College, career, marriage, children, grandchildren and then on to the aching sad hollow of widowhood, all progressed one into the other in the usual fashion.

Over the years, Sandy wrote poems and stories about the dreams. Sandy confessed that the only published poem of the lot was her favorite. Her husband, several of her friends, and each of her children could recite it flawlessly:

I met a pirate in a dream...

Circles of plundered
gold and jewels
in his ear

Callused hands
tough yet tender
of a knowing craftsman

Sinews like well oiled teak
beautifully touchable

Hungry lips and dark
eyes full of longing

Emboldened with love

To pierce and
avast my heart


This night the dream was very different. Sandy wore a curve hugging, swirling dress of white, diamonds sparkling in the fabric. Her bare foot touched the deck just as the sun was setting; its pink reflections turning the waves and the sails into tapestries of color. The boy was a man. He looked up as she stepped her bare foot onto the deck. He crossed to her and took her into his arms kissing her like a man starving.

She smiled and said: “What is it you always say?”

He looked at her, searching her face with his eyes, running his hands over her back, his face lit from inside with the joy evident in his smile.

Golden light streamed from his fingers. He put his palm to her chest and said Avast.

Sandy woke up.


“Father Davis? Stephanie Peters, I hope I didn’t call too early and interrupt your breakfast. No, I’m fine, thank you……it’s Mom, she passed in the night. No, it hasn’t quite sunk in yet….she looks so peaceful, quite beautiful actually. Yes, a simple service. Everybody should be able to be here by tomorrow. No, not a burial. We’ll rent a boat and sprinkle her ashes in the ocean. Mom always loved the ocean.”


A link to the master list of this week's 86! #fridayflash stories at Mad Utopia


Karen from Mentor said...

Avast command to hold, or stop

Laurita said...

This was beautiful. The part where he tells her what he's been saying all those years - it shivered my timbers. The ending was just perfect.

That Neil Guy said...


Laura Eno said...

And not a tentacle in it...
Beautiful. May she sail the seas forever.

Jen said...

*sniff* Aw man. That's beautiful.

shannon said...

She woke up to her destiny when a pirate stopped her heart. Beyond romantic...sigh.

Happy walker said...

nice blog.. have a view of my blog when free.. .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

Anonymous said...

Miss Karen, you've sent shivers down me mast. What a lovely, perfect story. Makes me think a little of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (movie).

We should all get to sail off into the unknown that way. Gorgeous.

Jane Travers said...

Oooh, shivers! Love that her favourite dream was what eased her into death, really heartwarming and charming. :)

J. M. Strother said...

Very nice, Karen. Not you're usual fare, but quite enjoyable. She died happy. What more can one ask?

judy said...

You know me so well. I totally looked up "avast" to make sure I knew what that pirate meant. ;-) Loved this!

Now, in Chapter 2, there will be a sea alien, right?

pegjet said...

Just a melancholy sigh from me. Touching.

Adele said...


Valerie said...

Dang it, why you gotta make me tear up at work. I had a sense of where this was going but it was a lovely journey.

Cat Russell said...

That was beautiful.

Jodi MacArthur said...

If this isn't sensuous I dont know what is. It's entwined of pirate lust and innocent love. Absolutely yummy. Perfectly executed, I must say and that poem melted me.

Cat Connor said...

All right it was lovely... pirates are good. You know I'm about speechless, right? xx

Eric J. Krause said...

Wow, what a touching story. Well written. If only everyone can pass on that happy, that content. Well done!

Michael Solender said...

your poem is a beautiful compliment to this heart-aching story. very soft and warm.

Karen from Mentor said...

Awww, so sweet of you to say so Michael. It started with the poem and morphed from there.

Thank you all so much for such lovely feedback on a piece that is such a departure from my norm.

I'm dashing out the door, but I'll be back to give you all proper hugs in a little while.

Big Big Smiles!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Awww, this was just beautiful, Karen!
It's been too long since you had a romance up, and I love it :)
Now admit, it was nice to have someone else's muse strike you, right? :P

Alan W. Davidson said...

A great two-fer today...a romantic poem and romantic flash. Great job, Karen!

Tomara Armstrong said...

That was lovely... Beautifully written

KjM said...

Every time I came to this couplet

"Hungry lips and dark
eyes full of longing"

I found a hard pause after "dark" splitting the two lines into two sentences. I think the rhythm did it for me, and it's beautiful.

In fact the entire tale is beautiful. And there is that wonderful coda at the end. Poignant.

And just exactly where did Sandy wake to? Or is life simply the dream - borrowing the words at the end of Midsummer Night's Dream:

"Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear."

Karen from Mentor said...

I sent you an email Kevin to answer part of this.

I LOVE that you picked that particular couplet to comment on. The contrast of his darkness to her light will be the subject of an upcoming poem. I see them as yin/yang and I think that they both lived a life, she in one world, he in another until the time was right for them to come together. Whether she was his dream or he hers, I don't think we'll ever know.

Thank you for such a gorgeous comment. You always dazzle me with your intuition and the time you take to say just the right words. I'm so lucky to have such skilled and thoughtful writers in my circle of friends.

*hugs Kevin*

Karen from Mentor said...

Starting at the top:

@Laurita- thank you so much my lovely. I just wish I had written this when you were hosting your Sea Side contest. I still don't know what came over me here. It was, as Estrella noted, like someone else's muse bopped me in the head....laughing...and yes, Laura I was able to write it without slipping in a single tentacle. [I know you're proud of me anyway] -thank you for the "beautiful" my darling!

This piece was such a departure, but at the risk of ruining my rep I have to say that I love it. It just wrote itself once I had the poem.

You guys rock!

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Cathy, Valerie, Hagelrat, 2mara, peggy, Jen B, Neil,孫陽泉 and Eric, Thank you for saying that the story touched you. I still get goosebumps when I read it. I'm going to submit it to Emma Newman's random recording contest and hope she picks it. Can't you just hear her lovely English accent reading this? That would be so very cool.

Karen from Mentor said...

Jodi said:
"It's entwined of pirate lust and innocent love. Absolutely yummy"
I knew you'd get this me hearty! What with all the pirate stuff you're immersed in now. Thank you for calling it "sensual and beautifully executed" I was going for the sensual, glad I nailed the execution. Big big smiles to you my lovely friend.

Karen from Mentor said...

Cat I giggled at your response. I know, I know, writing romance has turned ugly in the past for us.....laughing...but believe it or not, I didn't have to quell a single impulse to have something come from the deep and maul them horribly...

But Judy has given me an idea for a different story...[grinning]..just not these two characters. I like the idea of them sailing forever on [oh gawd my inner editor can't believe I'm about to type this next part] a sea of love...

[laughing hysterically now...oh man]

Karen from Mentor said...

Gracie, you're always so supportive of me. Thank you so much my lovely friend for the wonderful comment and for all of the retweets while I was off galivanting.

Cat's making you brownies.

Karen from Mentor said...

@Jane Travers, I loved your debut this week. Welcome to #fridayflash. I hope you'll be a regular visitor to Miscellaneous Yammering.

@Jon...LOVED your democratically phrased comment. I must say that you took my foray into romance this week manfully. You're such a sweetie Jon.

@Alan That goes double for you my bearded friend.

And while I'm thanking the guys... thanks to Mr. Lonely for stopping in, I don't know how you found me, but Romance can be a balm for the lonely heart.

[ must be something in the water this week, I'm channeling other people's muse's and now Oprah....laughing...]

Karen from Mentor said...

I want to end my gushing with saying that I loved loved loved this comment by Shannon and I think that she summed the story up so perfectly when she said:

She woke up to her destiny when a pirate stopped her heart. Beyond romantic...sigh.

*happy sigh*

Carol Benedict said...

I really enjoyed this story, and the poem is lovely. The description of the dream gives this a romantic feel, and lets the reader imagine the adventures the young couple went on. The ending fits, too.