Results of August Writing Prompt

For the month of August, the writing prompt was to write a summer-themed story. Here’s what I came up with. If you participated, leave me a link/or paste it in the comments!


The Summer of Goodbye

by J.N. Cahill

Laura sighed as she made her last trek on the beach. Arms wrapped over her thin white dress, her bare feet whispered against the cool, smooth sand. When she’d first came to the beach, she’d felt like dancing on the wet sand, leaving small footprints all over. Now a part of her wished that her feet would sink, that she would keep drifting down into the sand until she’d been swallowed completely. Then maybe she could stop thinking about it. Maybe then she could stop thinking about him.

She stepped closer toward the rushing tide, bracing herself for the cold frothy water as it swept over her tanned feet. Lowering her arms to her sides, she stared out at the ocean. It was so vast and blue and wide, deeper than she could imagine. For a moment, Laura thought about simply walking into the water until her feet could no longer touch the floor and her head was submerged beneath the salty surface. How long would she last if she just kept walking? Would her body refuse, demanding oxygen? Or was she at the point that even her body no longer cared if she lived or died?

She hated thinking about suicide, but couldn’t help it. It had been on her mind a lot lately. Without Paul, life just wasn’t worth living anymore. As far as she was concerned, this was her last summer. And certainly her last walk on the beach. She never wanted to see the beach or the ocean again.

The teal-blue waves had charmed her in the beginning, but now they only reminded her of what she had lost. The golden sand, which she loved both when it was warm and dry and also when it was cool and wet, had betrayed her. The shrieking seagulls, who’d she had always found amusing, especially when one had swooped down low on the pier to try and steal her ice cream, made her ears bleed. The colorful seashells scattered here and there were broken, sharp and dangerous. Every aspect of the beach, of the ocean, was now tainted. Everywhere she looked, she only saw death.

Laura stood in the tide, goosebumps climbing up her legs to her arms, brown eyes locked on the furious waves. Those waves she especially hated; cruel waves that pulled living things under. Waves that snuffed the life out of the innocent. Waves that sought to harm and destroy until nothing was left.

She could still see Paul’s lifeless body, full of water, beached like a whale. She could see blue fingers and wet dark hair and eyes that stared into nothingness. She could hear a loud siren, or was that her screaming?

“I hope you’re happy,” she told the ocean, her voice harsh. “I won’t be back.”

Tears blurred her eyes as she recalled the better times on the beach and in the water. Pictures of her and Paul chasing one another like teenagers do when they’re in love. The two of them clinging to one another in the water, laughing as small waves her mother had affectionately named “bellyflops” smashed against their midriffs. Her and him seated on colorful beach towels eating ice cream and cold sandwiches. Watching the evening waves come in and knock down their pathetic excuse for a sandcastle. Endless walks along where the water met the sand, rough hand against smooth, eyes sparkling against the beginning or dying light of the sun.

She heard his happy voice whispering in her ear. Smelled his strong coconut sunscreen. Felt his warm skin against hers and saw his light, teasing eyes. Most of all, she felt the love between them still so strong, even when he was gone, two hours away in a family cemetery. Yet she knew he wasn’t there–he would always be here to her. They’d met here. She’d lost him here. Anywhere else didn’t matter to her.

Laura felt the warm tears dripping down her face, felt her shoulders shaking, and heard the harsh sobs escaping her lips, but it was like she was looking down at herself from a far away distance. While she grieved, numbness slowly entered her and made itself a home. Her fingers reached up to flick the tears away. She watched as one went sailing into the tide. It seemed fitting somehow. “Goodbye forever,” she whispered.

Then Laura turned and marched back to the hotel. She took a shower before leaving, washing away every grain of sand and every bit of salt. She threw away her sunscreen and left her collected seashells in the bathroom sink. But when she finally arrived home after a hectic plane trip, she still found sand in her bags. A seashell hidden in her purse. Sitting on the neatly made bed in her room, she held the perfect shell, one Paul had collected just for her, and began to cry all over again. She never returned to the ocean, but the shell went everywhere with her.

Thoughts? Let me know.



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