The Cockle-Shell

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The cockle-shell sat, bleached white by the sea, by salt and sunlight, by the constant, grinding corrosion of the encroaching tides. The lapping of the ocean against my ankles, the sudden, short screams of the gulls carried across the cloudless sky.

The short, sharp screaming of a small boy, his saliva bubbled in his throat. As he died, breathing his last. Breathing in the sea, the salt and the sand.

His foot impaled on the spines of a stone-fish.

Its poison flashed, arced, shoot through the sole of his foot, corrupting his blood.

He died, collapsed onto the stone-fish, crushing it beneath his weight, crushing the cockle-shell.

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This story is a (relatively) true story, written with a fictional twist for this weekend’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt. The fictional part is about the cockle-shell, my friend and I were walking on the reefs around Christmas Island when he stood on a stone-fish. Their poison won’t (usually) kill an adult, but for a child it is fast acting. And you can’t see them hiding in the sand or in the reefs.

Anyway, comments and criticisms always welcome.

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16 thoughts on “The Cockle-Shell

  1. Writer Group says:

    That was another excellent post today. You make it look so easy. Thanks so much for sharing. I really enjoyed reading it very much. Have a wonderful day!

    Enjoy writing? Join Us Today –

    Writers Wanted

  2. Wow, took me in a different direction than I expected. Well done!

  3. raina says:

    never knew about the stone-fish. Glad your friend’s alright though phew. Poor little boy, nicely written 🙂

    • Sorry, now that I reread my commentary I can see why it’s confusing. Only the appearance of the cockle-shell is fiction. The little boy died, it wad twenty years ago…I can’t remember his name or his face. But I do remember the clear, endless blue sky and the shouting of gulls.

      I feel sorry for his parents.

  4. Oh, how awful! This is an effective, terrifying story even as fiction. As a memory, it’s horrifying. I’m so sorry.

  5. Sandra says:

    I didn’t know about stone fish. Thanks for bringing this fact to life in such a dramatic way. Nicely done.

  6. Linda says:

    Gosh that was a shock and the fact that you were able to combine both fiction and reality made it all the more impactful too Chris, really well done.

    http://womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/08/10/friday-fictioneers-shell-seeker/

  7. Jan Morrill says:

    Your story was powerful (and beautiful) on its own. Add that it is true, and it became all the more poignant. Wonderful sense of place.

    –Jan
    http://janmorrill.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/fridayfictioneers-flashfiction-shell-phone/

  8. Jan Morrill says:

    By the way, I love what you’ve written under the title of your blog — I so know what you mean. 🙂

  9. conhippy says:

    Ohhhh. Rebel. Added a second picture. Nice touch.

  10. Brinda says:

    ooohhh shudder. Very well told as always. I did not know about poisonous stone fish lurking in beaches.

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