Well. That was jolly little holiday, we must say. A holiday into all of your wonderful imaginations.
See, we asked for 250 word stories inspired by this prompt:
And you delivered some stunners. Wistful, sinister, dystopic and erotic. It was all there. There was a poem or two too.
Anyway, from all of that we had to select our winner. We took the plunge, and here’s the result:
RUNNER-UP: Thom Willis
They were just diving. Jumping from the edge of the boat, they giggled and gurgled, collapsed, foaming, into the cooling sea. One of them essayed a clumsy somersault, another simply fell as if pushed. His arms pinwheeled for balance then he dropped like a cartoon character with whom gravity had caught up.
She stood by the rail, gripped the foam rubber edging with her toes and braced. She was not merely diving. She had plans. She was reaching out to something larger, out to the edge of sight. Beyond the horizon, out to where the Sun was dousing its evening heat in a haze of orange. She grabbed at the last of the light, arms outstretched, caught between worship and desire.
Her hands almost closed. She felt the soft static heat press them apart, saw caught between them the globe of the Sun. She bathed in its warmth, glowing through her. It radiated from her palms, where sat invisible the centre of the Solar System. For a precious second, maybe two, she hung in the air and everything swung about her.
Later that evening she sat, dazed, on the beach. The light of a bonfire prickled at her features. A man sat beside her, noted her darkened skin and glazed eyes. “Caught the sun?” he asked.
WINNER: LIZ HEDGECOCK
Boys and Girls of Summer
Dust has gathered in the corners of the frame and the glass feels tacky. It doesn’t really matter. I see it all in my mind’s eye.
Lottie wanted a photo of the three of us diving in together. We wouldn’t play ball, though. We messed around. One of us would go on the 2, or Derek would fall sideways into the sea. This was the best shot. Jack flinging himself into the water, me in my new turquoise bikini, sucking my tummy in as I jumped (oh, if I’d known the horrors of flesh to come), Derek tensing to dive.
We’d scrimped from our grants for a week of sun and cheap exotic food. Lottie photographed the fishermen preparing nets and old women knitting on their doorsteps. The boys horsed around. I was supposed to be with Derek, Lottie with Jack, but it felt impermanent. We could do whatever we wanted. Look at us, swimming in the warm sea, miles from grey skies and saving stamps and being careful.
Four months later (when my tummy could be sucked in no longer) Derek agreed to marry me. I wasn’t ready, and we remained slightly out of step with each other. We still saw Jack and Lottie, together and separate, and when I no longer saw Lottie I saw her photos in the magazines.
When the help comes she sometimes picks up the photo and asks again, ‘Was that really you?’
And I always answer, ’It still is.’
Congratulations, Thom and Liz!
We’re off to steal a yacht.
See you all same time next week!