©2022 Michael Raven
Another prompt from Anne’s site. This week’s prompt: “Describe a scene in vivid, absorbing detail. Reference as many sensory inputs as possible. Transport the reader to your mindscape!”.
I doubt I hit the mark very well. Description for me has always been secondary to the story, and I end up in editing backfilling details as seems best. I’m not saying that is the best way to do it, but that’s the way I tend to do it. I probably should turn the balance around and work on description and go easier on the story. I might even be a better writer if I did.
Any, with all apologies, here is my effort for the prompt:
Lost in the sea of nowhere, I washed upon the shore, followed by the shush and gentle crash of waves. There was the slipstream of sand fines underneath my hands, seduced by the undertow. Meanwhile the waves pushed at me, the sea throwing me up and out, rejecting this foreign body of mine — salt stinging my sun-abused eyes now nearly blind, and my chapped lips stung, crying for fresh water to quench an agonizing thirst writhing like snakes within. Fragments of old shells cut the pads of my listless fingers scrabbling for purchase with only half a heart.
I was almost ready to die. Not quite, but almost.
It was the thought of crabs and small fish pulling chunks out of me to feast on that propelled me towards the shore. There pinching claws pulling at my flesh, tearing it away in chunks with the scent of rotten seaweed permeating my everything with me to tired to move my face from that rancid pillow, and I — with no strength, rubber for muscles, and weary to the bone — unable to move. I imagined the sound of my skin ripping from my cheek as the crab pulled it away. I could hear already the soft munching of its jaws chewing my waterlogged flesh. Not quite dead and unable to change anything as the sun bore burning down on my naked back, cooking me for the benefit of all involved.
I didn’t want to join the caravan of the dead striding towards the Styx yet. Not that way.
So I endured the knives of pumice and broken shells as I crawled towards the shadows of trees ahead, the smell of something other than salt, plant life grown green, cloying as if filled my nose with every breath. Scrape, pull, drag. It was the singsong mantra I sang in Erika’s voice inside my head, that voice so angelic, crystalline, and pure that it made the heart ache to listen. Scrap, pull, drag. The words took some of the sting of leaving my blood trailing crimson behind me, that precious cut-ruby sparkle in the overbearing sun.
I don’t recall time, only the arrival announced by the loam softly embracing my face. I felt the night fall behind me with a cool kiss and then there was blessed silence.
I slept until I felt something brush against by hand, imperceptible as a crawling fly, but with a presence of being with more heft. With molasses sloth, one eye opened. In my madness, I thought my face had folded in on itself, and I witnessed my own second eye staring back, but I lacked the strength to even start.
“You,” it said.
I knew then that it was not my storm grey eye staring back, but that of another.