Every two weeks writers have the chance to take part in Soliloquies Anthology’s Flash Fiction contest. We publish a new single-word writing prompt as a starting point, and you write a story in 300 words or less. This winning story uses the prompt regret.
Fish poop: the prized pearl of the parrotfish. The white sands that Ashvin’s feet sunk in that morning and the star of Mauritius’ ad campaigns—fish shit. Plenty of them swam near Mahebourg. They were kind enough to defecate year-round, and the sea didn’t mind depositing them along the coast to fertilize it for growing hotels. And her, the sea, he watched her still asleep. Otherwise, there was no one else.
While these fishes expelled a ton of these refined granules yearly, they also sustained the coral reefs—or so Ashvin read. Important little guys in that sense: pretty much sustained an industry. Compared to them, he was nothing. He’d decided that much, and a little more. One of that ‘more’ had him standing naked in fish poop.
Step by step, into the waters he went, and soon his arms helped. Beautiful, tame waters. The kind that fools you in thinking boats float on air, but only a little. That wasn’t good. Ashvin wanted her to be irate and cold. She wasn’t pushing him away with waves, but welcoming him with easy swimming conditions.
The clear waters began to show a tinge of darker ink. The treeline aback, he could size them up with a pinch of his fingers. It was going to be a slow one: he was born swimming in her and fishing with his father. Though, he never went fishing further out to more profitable deepness—for reasons he couldn’t remember. Still, he had her webbed feet, and he wasn’t going to tire so easily.
The waters, they weren’t clear anymore; they were suffocating with a dense grip on his body. He could see the faint outline of the big drop afar, too—and—it came back crushing him as though he were a sub that had sunk too deep: his fear of deep waters. Back to shit.
Archchunan Anandakumar is a mouthful of a name, but as in Italian, pronounce every letter as it is. Hyphens come in handy: Arch-chu-nan, and then A-nan-da-ku-mar. A little easier? Now, that’s twenty-six words to introduce a name, but as for the person: Born in Sri Lanka, moved to Canada, lives in Montreal, and pursuing a Creative Writing major at Concordia with a minor in English Literature. Twenty-four.
For more Flash Fiction prompts and winners, visit soliloquies.ca/flash-fiction.