The Writing Life

…a literary journey

Flash Fiction: Take Cover


dirtyocean

Take Cover is a 250 word story I just wrote for an upcoming writer’s group challenge. The only stipulations were to use the word storm and to write no more than 250 words. This is what I came up with.

Aaron rounded the corner and saw the woman huddled against the tavern door. Like yesterday, he helped her up and inside to a table. He started a pot of coffee and headed to the kitchen to light the stove.

Since the spill, the displaced fishermen didn’t wait until evening to fill the Take Cover, so he’d started offering a small breakfast menu. While they ate, the men complained how the dispute between Galveston County and the oil company was stalling cleanup efforts. They wondered who would be next to move their families to Florida or Mississippi.

He found her staring out the gulf-facing window. “Storm season’s not far off,” he said, placing a mug in front of her.

She nodded and coiled her finger through the steam. Gray strands escaped from the hood of the sweatshirt she wore. “His friend told me the bells rang on their own that night.”

How marvelously the voice belied her feeble appearance. Aaron sat across from her and let her reach for him with liver-spotted hands that reminded him of his own mother’s.

Her tear formed a vortex in the liquid.  “It’s bad luck,” she continued. “Ship bells are rung to signal a watch change. If they ring on their own, someone dies.”

Aaron recalled what the locals didn’t weigh. When the tanker ran aground, the ship split in half. In a rush to safety, a man dove overboard, crushing his skull against the rocks.

He squeezed her hand. “Tell me about your son.”

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