Picture prompts this week. Have fun with them, whether writing or just reading.
I lounged on the riverbank, basking in the evening cool and taking in the tranquil scene. The heat had been stifling all day, not a breath of wind, and I’d been glad to come to the river to cool down. Thermos of iced tea in my bag, a rug and a book, I had lain on my stomach idly turning pages and half taking in the frolics of the family sharing my space.
They’d arrived in a well-used rowing boat, which the father secured to an overhanging branch. He’d paddled in the shallow water, play-splashing the little boy who couldn’t have been more than three years old. Cute kid, laughing, splashing back. His mother held onto one hand to stop him tumbling in completely. Their dog had run amok, barking happily, prancing in self-made waves.
I had sneaked glances from my zoology book –studying for an exam – to smile, although, to be frank, the green-eyed monster of jealousy edged the honest joy I felt for their happiness.
Once, I might have been that mum, the handsome laughing dad might have belonged to me, and the child … I shoved the memories back in their box and returned to my study of the predatory habits of freshwater crocodiles. Zoology exam loomed for my mature degree.
It wasn’t until the setting sun threw shadows across the pages dark enough to make it hard for my old eyes to concentrate, that I noticed the family again. The father stood further down the shore on a small wooden pier, fishing rod in hand. The mother sat in the stern of the boat, feet dangling, still holding her paddling child’s hand.
But their carefree happiness was stalled. The dog was the clue – further out into the river, staring across the bland water, whole body alert. Mother and child followed the dog’s sight …
My gaze dropped to my book … predators … my heart thumped. Scrambling up, I shouted, waved my hands …
The dog began barking furiously.
From the water in front of the distraught animal, a shape rose, silently – lifted its hand in greeting, removed its snorkel and called, ‘Hi, Beth, hi little Amy, fancy seeing you here!’
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Find Cheryl’s flash fiction and short stories, including audio versions of some, here!