As one writer commented, “Water is hope.” It can sparkle and promise solitude.
Yet in its depths, water contains all the complexities of the human world. It receives our ashes, our drowned bodies, our buried bones and church bells. It is an allegory, an object of luxury, a character or two: H2O.
Without it we are parched, our land scorched, our cities in blackouts. With it, we might dance.
Pour yourself a tall, cool glass from the tap and read these fine flash fictions based on the July 9, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write story about water.
River of Hope by Kalpana Solsi
Staring at the brown rugged mountains and the clouds reflecting in the azure waters of the river, she felt thirsty, thirsty to catch a glimpse of him.
Today, she had cooked a delicious hot meal of rice and chicken curry and post-lunch he would regale with his stories of far-off lands.
The horizon turned pale crimson, the birds flying back to their nests.
Tomorrow I will cook prawns curry, his favourite dish, she thought and turned back, feeling disappointed.
She preferred the distant hope of mirage rather than face the cruel reality.
Unknown to her, his spirit watched her.
Lady of the Lake by Sarah Brentyn
At the end of the dock, Phoebe dipped her toe in the lake. Her grip on the post so tight, it left indentations in her palms. She watched the still water. No girls floated by in bikinis, sunning themselves. No guys ran down the dock and jumped high in the air shouting “cannonball!” No children sat in the sand, slathered with sunscreen, digging with plastic shovels.
Everyone was out walking, searching, calling. Looking for Phoebe’s sister, Kaia. They wouldn’t find her. She was gone. Drowned. Of this, Phoebe was certain. She hadn’t let go until Kaia sank.
Cruel Summer by Pete
Phillip squinted at the sparkling pool, rippling with playful screams and splashes and colorful pool toys from one end to the other. He sat down next to his mom on a lounge chair, already drenched in sweat as the sun burned through his shirt.
“Hey Phillip, you getting in?” Owen asked from the edge. Phillip watched the water dripping off his skinny arms.
He’d been so fearless before, and felt the stares clinging to him like his shirt on his hips. Today he would wait until dark, when he’d plunge into the still water shirtless and alone.
The Cleansing by Geoff Le Pard
Mary shuddered. His hands were sticky with sweat; it felt like he’d wiped himself dry on her.
‘It’s brilliant to meet you at last. It’s been far too long.’
Rupert Reeves. Her half-brother, though when she looked at him her mind screamed, ‘Dad’s bastard’.
Even his voice seemed to ooze over her, coating her in damp guilt. ‘Why did our parents never introduce us?’
She tried a smile. ‘It was difficult.’
‘Your mother, yes? She couldn’t forgive, could she?’
Later Mary stood under the shower and scrubbed herself raw. Why did he assume anyone would forgive her father’s affair?
Greatest of the Great Lakes by Paula Moyer
Jean never took the “Express Highway” up the North Shore of Lake Superior. It was always the scenic route. Even then, “scenic” really took off north of Two Harbors.
She hungered to memorize the twists and turns of Highway 61. Turn, turn, turn. Glimpse, glimpse, glimpse through trees. Then: big hilltop vista, carpet laced with glittering blue diamonds. She could hear a kettle drum with each viewing.
Somewhere north of Gooseberry Falls, she would enact her ritual. Walk to shore, place towel on rock. Remove shoes. Wade in up to the knees. Cherished, cold shock. Liquid ice, beloved lake.
Blackouts on the Rise by Susan Zutautas
Temperatures expected to rise to 132 today. I know folks this has not been a pleasant summer, and with all the water alerts it doesn’t make life on the Mojave very comfortable. I do wish I had some relief for you in sight but sadly do not. Please try and use your fans rather than your A/C due to blackouts occurring throughout the west.
Fines will be increased to 2500.00 for anyone caught wasting water. This includes gardens, lawns, cars, and pools, until further notice.
Sighing deeply, I wound up my crank radio yearning to hear some good news.
Water Flash by Anne Goodwin
We pulled up alongside a wooden shack with a blistered Coca-Cola sign above the entrance. The driver had barely stepped inside the ramshackle shop when they came, swarming round the windows of the SUV with their cupped hands and pleading faces.
It was sweltering inside without the aircon. When the driver returned bearing gallon bottles of water, we gave him a round of applause.
Leaving the village, we pointed our cameras at the shallow river where women scrubbed rainbow-coloured clothes and children splashed in the shallows. Where, in rusting cans and old oil drums, girls harvested the household’s water.
Tree of Life by Lisa Reiter
It was dry and dusty and the waterhole had turned to mud. Fish slopped pathetically, where once he drank and played. With nothing to stay for, his mother urged him away, although the horizon only shimmered dangerously with mirage. She’d been calling the gods of thunder but he was afraid of them. And he had never been thirsty.
She marched with certainty towards scrubland on the horizon. After many hours she trumpeted delight sighting an ancient baobab.
Pulling bark from the tree, she offered him its miraculous water. He would remember where to come next time the rains failed.
Walter Wants Water by Mr Binks
Walter smiled. His previously clenched eyelids had loosened but not opened, and his eyes twitched beneath them. The cascading waterfall he was currently bathing in was half a world away from the dusty, red sand where he lay. The dust and dirt of which covered him, clogged every pore and yet proved to be a very ineffective sunscreen.
He dived beneath the water, soaking himself in the welcome lagoon.
The desert stretched beyond the horizon. Footprints had long since swept away. Walter’s foot flinched and kicked out involuntarily. His skin blistered and the vultures looked on, ravenous.
Hydrogen Bonding by Larry LaForge
“Hold on Izzie!”
“Don’t let go Ozzie.”
These two water molecules, best pals forever, are in peril again. This time it’s not pollution. It’s the dreaded refrigerator icemaker.
The incoming line was like a water slide, but now the freeze is on.
Izzie hears the dispenser crank up and knows immediately it’s set on cubed, not crushed, ice. That’s good, he thinks.
“We can make it, Iz,” Ozzie shouts as he clings to Izzie so tightly they appear to be one 2H4O molecule.
As the freeze sets in Ozzie realizes they did it.
They’re in the same ice cube!
The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine.
Water Flash by Georgia Bell
The glass felt heavy in her hands; a welcome weight in contrast to her racing thoughts. Inhaling, she felt her heartbeat slow. Amber and toffee and a dash of pepper invaded her senses with nostalgia. Every breath reminding her of his warm, rich voice, his large hands showing her how to tie her shoes and catch tadpoles. Hands that had tucked her in each night, with a kiss and prayer to a god he didn’t believe in. “No water,” he’d said. “If you want to experience something, don’t dilute it, dive in.” She drank the scotch in his memory.
Water by Irene Waters
The strong wind created high waves whilst the rain beating his face, ran like rivers through the deep crevasses. “Komm liebling, you can do it” the German whispered to his boat as he battled forward to the middle of the large harbour, his precious cargo safely stowed in waterproof casings.
“Ahoi!” He’d seen the light of the other vessel earlier and was now alongside
“Am I glad to see you?” Swiftly they swapped their films “No time to chat mate. Got to get going. It’s goin’ to be a long interval before they get the second feature.”
A Stormy Dance by Amber Prince
The waltz of the storm raced along the curvy paths, cutting a new trail with a torrential wet force. It looked as though a thick, gray blanket fell from the sky, covering the mountains from sight. Lightening danced to and fro from the clouds, wreaking havoc wherever it’s electrified slashes touched. The musical tune, played by the thunder, boomed across the peaks as it kept the beat.
It was coming my way. There was no where to go. I watched. Waited. Thirsty. Panic and hunger battled inside me for I would live or die.
Because a plant can’t run.
Water Flash by Susan Budig
My dunderhead-brother insisted his facts were impeccable; insisted I span the river alone; and refused to listen to my concerns about the rattlesnake den just beyond the bank. I could see a papery skin caught on a rock. I knew the nest was full of diamondbacks.
Axel expected me to swim over to the north side of Obion River, rig up a U-hook in the rock, tie a rope to it, then swim back. He had plans for a whack-job fishing outfit only he couldn’t swim.
“You’ll be safe. Snakes can’t swim.”
Famous last words. Why did I listen?
The Ganges by Ruchira Khanna
Travelled ~9,000 miles and sitting next to the banks of the Ganges that flow majestically with splendor as it exhibits it’s grandiose to all its spectators who stand there admiring her body of water that is about ~2,000 miles long.
I dip my hands in the chilly waters because this river descends from the Himalayas, and bid farewell to my dad’s remains with a silent prayer and a benediction since it’s considered the most sacred river to the Hindus.
Farewells are tough, but in view of nothing are constant, made me continue to tread upon the path of life.
Tolo Lake Graveyard by Charli Mills
One Saturday morning local volunteers gathered around the small mud flat littered with dead branches. The local Chamber had donated coffee.
“Listen up,” called out the state biologist. “We’ve drained water from Tolo and with your help we’ll begin mucking out the bottom to improve fishing.”
“Damn snags,” said a Grangeville farmer, swishing the last of his coffee. “I’m gonna find those Castmasters.” He walked over to the largest branch, wiping away black mud, recognizing a bone. All the branches were bone.
Tolo Lake, a small water artesian in the middle of farmland, was a mass graveyard of mammoths.
A Village No More by Sherri Matthews
Dark, orange sky urged Mary to quicken her step as she walked by the side of the lake. At last, she found the clearing.
Stopping to check her watch, nothing but the sound of the water gently lapping against the lakeshore broke the silence.
Then it happened: the lake turned still as a millpond. Mary heard the first chime of the bells before she high-tailed it out of there. The old village had been purposely flooded to make the reservoir and locals spoke of hearing church bells on certain summer nights.
She hadn’t believed them but she did now.
Water by Norah Colvin
It started way up
In the highest of hills
So crystal-clear pure
With a life to fulfill
It babbled through forests
And danced in the streams
Marveling at wonders
Before never seen
It passed through the valleys
Irrigated the farms
Taking the runoff
And doing no harm
Down past the villages
Watered them too
Acquiring their discards
Now murky like stew
Passing by factories
Spewing out waste
Picked up their burden
And left without haste
Weaving its brown trail
Way down to the sea
From its mouth vomited out
A poisonous mix
Deceiving all living things
Expecting a gift
Water, water everywhere and all the writers did drink. Water, water everywhere with stories to make you think.
New challenge posted every Wednesday on Carrot Ranch Communications. All writers welcome!
Wow! What a way to start my day. A torrent of talent! Amazing response to this prompt Charli xx
The flood gates opened up on this one! I’m washed away! 🙂
Great stuff everyone, and thanks for the warm welcome. Looking forward to the next prompt.
It’s warm around our campfire here. You’re welcome anytime!
I’m still impressed every week by the talent here and the wildly different interpretations of your prompts. This is an amazing collection.
Peaceful water turned to ice, death, survival and life, relationships, memories and alcohol… Bravo!
The more we write the better at it we get! 🙂
Great stories here, amazed by the variety and the different takes on your water prompt..but then you never know what the tide might bring in, nor what lies beneath..thanks again Charli 🙂
Like finding beach glass! Excited about a potential story for your flooded village.