The Floaters

Dark WaterThe black water churned as if alive. Hostile, bottomless, unforgiving. Breathless with panic, Joseph struggled to stay buoyant. He had to calm down, get his bearings and find Barbara. When their raft overturned in the violent storm, she was with him, but he had lost her in the chaos. She was a strong swimmer, but he feared the worst. He felt a sudden rush of adrenaline at the realization that he could lose her.

“Barbara! Where are you?” he screamed, but it came out as a croak lost on the wind.

No response.

As the water spattered his face, flooded his mouth and clouded his eyes, he choked her name repeatedly.

No response.

Joseph looked in all directions but couldn’t see land. No lights pierced the horizon. No sign of their raft. No lifeline.

He felt sick. His hands and feet grew numb. He had to move, swim, anything to keep his blood flowing. He thrashed his arms in all directions and kicked his legs to move forward. He searched frantically, grew instantly tired. His muscles began to cramp and burn. He had expended nearly all his energy, when his hand touched something.


He tugged her limp body to him. She floated face down. Her silky hair billowed around her shoulders. Her once beautiful indigo dress hung flaccidly on her petite body. He gently turned her over and put his cheek to her icy lips.

No breath.

He felt her neck for a pulse but knew he was too late to save her. He held her for a final few seconds and guiltily released her body to drift away into her watery grave.

There was no time for him to grieve. She would not want him to give up. He had to find a way to survive, but he was exhausted. The heavy clothing weighed him down even more, but he didn’t have the strength left to remove it. He could feel his muscles surrendering. He had lost all feeling in his legs and arms. He was freezing to death.

Barely able to tread water, he decided to float on his back to conserve energy. The undulating waves slapped at his face. He had swallowed so much water, his stomach was protesting. He forced back the retching. He was so drowsy. Floating freely felt so comforting; he rationalized the need to close his stinging eyes, for just a moment.

Joseph dreamed of Barbara; dreamed of her flawless skin and her perfect smile. The dream was so wonderful that he let it consume him. The turbulent water pulled him down, filled his lungs, burned them into submission.


The storm waned and the vibrant morning sun peaked over the horizon, bathing the world in warm light. The woman plopped the skimmer net into the swimming pool and carefully fished out the toys, as her son stood anxiously at the edge.

“How many times have I told you not to play with G.I. Joe in the pool? Your sister is going to be so upset about her Barbie doll,” scolded the woman.

“Sorry, Mommy! I forgot to take them off the raft last night. I guess the wind blew them all over the place,” giggled the boy.

The woman gingerly held the dripping wet Barbie in her hand and said, “Look at Barbie’s dress. I think it’s ruined. It was your sister’s favorite outfit for her.”

She delicately peeled off the doll’s dress as she said, “Take off G.I. Joe’s wet clothes, and we’ll wash them out in the sink.”

“Okay,” said the boy, “You think G.I. Joe and Barbie were scared out here last night, Mommy?”

“Oh, don’t be silly. It’s not as if they have feelings. They’re not alive,” replied the woman, as she tossed the two plastic dolls on the patio table to dry in the sun.


Macro Makeup and Poolside Assortments: Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge, Week 20

My odd ball photos for Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge were taken in the comfort of my own home. I guess that makes me an odd ball since all this stuff is mine.

Eye Shadow

It’s pretty and sparkly and something I haven’t used in a long time. What is it? Blue eye shadow taken with the macro lens on my iPhone. It looks so much better in the packaging than it does on my face.

Mascara Brush

Is it a strange creature from another world? A gross hair brush? No, it’s a mascara brush. I took this macro photo with my iPhone.

Red Umbrella

I was relaxing under the red umbrella and decided it was an interesting photo opportunity.

More Fun

This is a rule when visiting my house. What else is there to do in the heat of a Florida summer?

Weird Creature

As an added bonus odd ball photo, this is a strange creature from another world. I think I saw him creep off the mother ship that landed in my yard the other night. Now he lives on my gutter. Kinda snugly, isn’t he?


Worth the Risk

Friday Fictioneers 07-11

Photo Copyright – Kelly Sands

They warned of an approaching storm, “a whopper,” they said. We’d seen our share of whoppers. “We can weather it,” I said.

As if on cue, the rain fell and the river rose.

Still, we could ride it out, withstand the brutality as the rain horizontally pounded our farmhouse and the river hungrily knocked at our door.

After the lifeline dropped to the rooftop, and I was airlifted to safety, I would repeat this story over and over to dampen the agony and guilt that raged within me. The local news would report my wife and daughter were never found.

This story was written for Friday Fictioneers; one hundred words based on the photo. If you would like to read the other stories, click on the badge:

Childish Memories: I Curse More Than You Do!

CursingBubbleRemember when you heard sophisticated grown-ups use curse words as casually as breathing, and you thought, “I want to be just like them when I grow up. I’m going to curse and curse and no one will be able to stop me.” When you’re a child, there’s something fascinating about using dirty words, and I don’t think the fascination fades, at least for some. Even those of you who feign shock at the sound of a dirty word secretly wish you could speak them with abandon. Go ahead; I give you permission.

When I was about 10 years old, my two brothers and I decided it was time to start cursing. At school, at home, while playing with friends. Anywhere and everywhere we felt like it, except when adults were present. We were smart enough to hide it from the unsuspecting adults.

Here’s the slightly exaggerated re-enactment of the conversation that served as a gateway to cursing:

Stacy (12 years old): “I started cursing. I do it all the time.”

Me: “You’re gonna get in trouble?”

Stacy: “Not if I don’t get caught.”

Me: “Okay. I’m going to curse too.”

Josh (eight years old): “I curse too! I’ve been doing it longer than you guys.”

Me: “No you haven’t. You lie.”

Stacy: “I say every bad word in the world.”

Me: “Well, so do I.”

Josh: “I say a gazillion billion bad words a day.”

Well, you get the idea. It became a competition to see who cursed the most and who knew the most bad words, but oddly enough, not one of us cursed throughout the conversation. I think we were each too scared to be the first. That would eventually change, but for a brief time we remained unsophisticated children.

Even now, I’m not a good curser. I have a few go-to words, but I sort of feel like I’m still that child testing the waters to see if cursing fits me or not. It’s a steady source of entertainment to my friends to see if they can get me to say the F-word, which I’ve seldom uttered in my life. Someday they might hear it, but it’s likely to be in the throes of anger, which they won’t find so amusing. Until then, I live vicariously through other’s use of the F-word. I’ll keep honing my skills. And, for those of you who love to curse, remember to do it in all the places deemed inappropriate by society: work, church, school, the dinner table, the checkout line at the store, a funeral, etc.

Disclaimer: No curses were used in the making of this blog post. I do not condone the use of profanity. I will not be held responsible for embarrassing situations that might arise from their use. Curse responsibly and at your own risk.

If you are so inclined, check out the first installment of Childish Memories: Blanket Fortresses are Impenetrable!.

Stay tuned for the third in the series: Childish Memories: My Dolls Deserved to Die!

A Starfish, Lime Face, a Wishing Tree and Fireworks: Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: Week 19

Here’s my entry for this week’s Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge.

Belly of a Starfish

This is a macro shot of the underbelly of a starfish. I ventured into the ominous depths of the sea and used my iPhone to shoot this rather toothy looking creature. Maybe I’m exaggerating a little. I actually took it at a little shop in the sponge diving community of Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Lime Face

My mojito was smiling at me, so I took a photo of it. He was delicious, but I was not smiling later in the day, as I’m a bit of a lightweight.

Wishing Tree

The Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida calls this The Wishing Tree. After you visit the museum, you can write a wish on your wrist band and tie it to the banyan (ficus) tree. My band is the blue one.

Discarded Fireworks

Our July 4th party is over for another year. Here’s the discarded remnants of the fireworks in our backyard. They’re really just glorified sparklers, but they’re still fun. Unless you count the firecrackers and bottle rockets. They’re real, and I don’t find them all that fun since I seem to be a target for explosives and fire.

Plagued by Commonality

Photo Copyright Claire Fuller

Photo Copyright Claire Fuller

Elianora knelt beside her mother’s tombstone and wept.

“Dear Mother. Tragedy has befallen our great empire. A black sickness is spreading throughout the land, leaving death and disfigurement in its wake.”

“Father says it is merely a disease of the uncouth, of the peasants. He is comforted in his belief that the sickness will spare us. Our God would never allow such an atrocity to strike down a noble king and his family. I know it is my place to heed his beliefs; nevertheless, I am confused. Father awoke this morning teeming with skin peculiarities and fraught with madness.”

I guess you get the moral of the story: disease and death has no social bias, nor political or religious affiliation. Never get too comfortable. The Black Death plague killed an estimated 25 million people in Europe and Asia during the 14th century and beyond. If you want to read more about the plague, click here.

This melancholy 99-word story was written for Friday Fictioneers photo prompt. Time hasn’t allowed me to participate much in this writing community lately. If you would like to try your hand at writing a story or read the other stories, click on the link below: