on the pier

waves dark

I entered the Paper Swans flash fiction competition this month with the following piece. It was written in response to a photo prompt of an elderly man asleep on a deckchair on a pier. I didn’t win but I did enjoy writing the story. I think flash fiction is really useful writing practice especially for someone really wordy like me!

Anyway, here’s my story:

He reclined on the pier, eyes closed, sun warm on his face, drifting in and out of memories. He was a child, muddy and beaming, collecting tadpoles with his brothers, then a teenager playing football on the back streets with friends. Now he was a young man dancing with his beloved Jean, their futures entwining with every step.

As he floated into dreams, images poured in: his friends from the pit, coal-dust faces over frothy beers; the tiny, sleeping form of his newborn son; his daughter, proud at her graduation; his grandchildren’s faces in flickering firelight and finally – wrenchingly – his wife’s casket descending into the earth. A whole lifetime caught in memory’s flickering reel.

A final fog of sleep descended and the images fuzzed and faded. Then out of the haze a figure came twirling towards him. It was Jean, rosy and radiant. Smiling, he took her outstretched hand. His last breath danced with the breeze over the sunlit waves.


Prose for Thought

6 thoughts on “on the pier

  1. Louise

    Love the story – short but full of vivid imagery. There were two lines I particularly liked – “floated into dreams” and the final line.

    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Louise! I liked the last line too – I wanted to bring the story back out of his memories but still keep the link with how he felt, hence his breath dancing!

  2. Chrissie Metcalf (Kristina)

    Sad and beautiful. Love the way the last line suggests his breath will be remembered by the breeze for eternity.

    Short fiction is excellent for getting to grips with word efficiency. X

    1. Maddy Post author

      Ooh I like that interpretation of the last line – I hadn’t thought of it that way. The last line took me ages to figure out – I had the old man and Jean dancing off together for a while but it never felt right. The ending to me was another version of their eternal dance. xxx

  3. teacuptoria

    I absolutely love this Maddy! It’s so emotional, just how I hope it will be when my time comes. What a perfect way to go, sat on a deck chair next to the sea, greeted by your loved one. x


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