A Summer Squall
Release March 1, 2013
Genre Mainstream Short Story
Tags action, adventure, stormy seas, child hero, shipwreck, short story, literary story, endurance, Nature, angry gods, writers, writer’s block, MuseItUp Publishing, ebook deadlines.
Release March 8, 2013
Editor Anne Duguid
Line Editor Nancy Bell
Cover Designer Marion Sipe
A writer, desperate to meet a deadline, struggles with writer’s block. Drawing on the five senses for inspiration, she is swept out of her depth when she tries to rescue a shipwrecked child. She rushes in, ill-equipped for the challenge and unprepared for the ensuing revelation.
Lightning flashed, and a sudden, deafening clap of thunder made me jump. The storm grew fierce and wind captured a small voice spiralling towards me.
“Help! Somebody! Please help me!”
“I’m coming,” I called, unsure if I’d heard the cry of a child or merely a distressed gull. Running, stumbling helplessly, jagged stones cutting my bare feet, I ran faster, feeling no pain.
I pressed forward into the gale and reached the cliff top despite the determined tempest holding me back. Below in the sea, a boy, not more than ten years old, clung to the sides of his frail craft. The sail was ripped, and the mast split like a pencil snapped in disgust.
“Hold on. Everything will be all right.” I must believe that, but how could I? Wind and rain fought my every movement. They twisted my light cotton skirt around my legs and wrapped my drenched hair over my face as though they were using me to hinder myself. The wind knocked me to the ground. I sent a hurried prayer to the gods, pleading for strength and courage to persevere.
Slithering backward, I let my legs dangle over the cliff’s edge. With my feet clawing at the rock face, I found a ledge and carefully eased my body over. White spray sharpened by rain cut into my back.
Lightning split the sky. A wild wave flung the tiny boat against the rocks. It rose on the swell and then the ebb sucked it out to the open sea. I counted the seconds, waiting for the thunderclap. The shock of it slammed me against the rock face.
Unequipped and unprepared, this challenge was probably too great. Shouldn’t I delegate someone else to rescue this child? No, I could do it. Focus.
I moved down the rocks again, aware only of my grasping fingers urgently carrying me to the sea. Cut and torn, I reached the torrent the instant the little boat sacrificed itself to the breakers.
I’m an Australian who lives by the sea with my husband and mini schnauzer. I love visits from my two kids and three grandkids. My favourite place to daydream during childhood was my grandparents’ house, on top of the rugged cliffs of Coogee, NSW. The wild waves pounded the rocks and sprayed our windows. Naturally I draw on those memories for some of my stories.