For this week, I’ll be scarce on the blog–something’s gotta give when you’re finishing your novel on deadline. So I’ll simply share an excerpt from one of my published short stories, and end with a link to the story itself.
Afterwards, Only the Sea
She kicked at the soft blob washed up on the beach. A jellyfish? A crayfish squeezed out of its shell in a cold sticky mess? The stink of it. No. The body of a seal, a moaning baby lumbered off, lost to its mother, trying to escape snapping jaws, now prey to the largest jaws of them all. Its flipper under her feet now, squishy-wet, washed-up, lonely.
Why call the human body a “body” and all others, “carcasses”? If she washes up on these very shores, why not call her a carcass, too? A bloated, stinking weight, a lot of give, tiny crabs scurrying out of eye sockets, teeth set in a permanent grin. Now in the soaked, sandy grave of this beach, she’s a walker, kicking, softly, without paying heed.
Another kick, breathing through her mouth the minuscule, atomic bits of rotting flesh. Her long, once-beautiful body too will break down in these waters, the body her alcohol-doused brain had forgotten about on a sofa, the body he found, stripped, bit, scratched, parted, made ugly, dirty. She had thought him a friend, the brother of the groom, who took care of guests, plied them with drinks.
She stumbled in the dark, feet sinking, the prick of broken sea-shells, the swish of the surf, the relentless hungry ocean, forever approaching, forever in retreat, like the swell of blood to her heart, pumping unsteady beneath her palm, each beat a cycle.
The waves would keep watch over the rise and fall of days, the curves of her body, the thick hanks of her hair floating like seaweed, over her bones long after she left, long after the flesh, her flesh, this flesh, came apart and became dark sludge, fish-food, bones, stone, sand.
Find the rest of the story at the delightful MacQueen’s Quinterly.
Did you read the rest of the story? What did it remind you of? What fascinating stories have you read lately?
My lit crime novel, The Blue Bar will be out soon with Thomas & Mercer. It is already available for preorders. Add it to Goodreads or pre-order it to make my day.
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