Wednesday Briefs: Shipwreck

Avery finally found the time to write a piece of flash fiction. This one was based on a boat prompt (see the below pic). Remember, the Wednesday Briefers have to keep their stories between 500 and 1000 words.

Hopefully you’re ready to meet Will and his “fresh catch.” Enjoy the read!

sailboat

Shipwreck 

by

Avery Dawes

Despite the throbbing in his leg, Will shambled down to the shore, a towel slung over his left shoulder, a cup of coffee gripped in his right hand. His newly constructed bungalow had weathered last night’s wicked storms well, taking the abuse of high winds and torrential rain with all the ease of a conditioned submissive—bowed, but not broken.

Will dried off the Adirondack chair and slid into the seat, sipping his steaming cup of java. A thin layer of fog shrouded the bay, muffling everything but the sound of the water lapping against the shore. He’d only lived on Maryland’s Eastern Shore for two months, but this had been the most peaceful time of his life. He kept waiting to miss the camaraderie of his SEAL Team brothers, but after his last tour in the sandbox, he’d had enough. The medical discharge only cemented the fact his military career was over. Nothing like having a semi-bionic leg. Grateful the doctors had saved his limb, he now wondered if having a prosthetic would be less painful than having one filled with an assortment of titanium plates and rods.

An egret gracefully dove toward the surface. He watched it pluck something orange from the water. What the hell? That was no fish. It appeared to be man-made. Suddenly curious, Will set his coffee cup on the ground and pushed to his feet. He squinted as he tried to make out a blob that floated in the water. The blob unexpectedly lurched before it disappeared below the surface. That was no blob—that shape was human. No fish could be that size, or behave in that way.

Without further thought, Will ran through the cool, shallow water until he reached a point he could dive beneath the surface and swim toward where he’d last seen what must be a person. He surfaced, treading water, as he scanned his surroundings. Where in the hell…there was no sign of anyone else. Granted, he hadn’t had much of his coffee yet, but he felt certain his eyes hadn’t deceived him. Will swam further out, keeping his head above the water. He was determined to find the floating object, whatever or whoever it was.

Several strokes later, he spied a piece of orange break through the surface of the water. With powerful strokes he reached the object in no time and pulled on the remains of what he could see now was a the life jacket, flipping over a seemingly lifeless male.

His SEAL training kicked in as Will rapidly assessed the man’s condition. Not breathing, but he had a weak, thready pulse. Will saw no other obvious injuries so he quickly hauled him back to shore, thankful he’d stayed in shape despite the shrapnel injuries he’d received.

He laid the man’s upper body flat on the shore and checked again for vitals before he started rescue breathing. “C’mon, breathe! You can do it!” This guy was too young to not survive—death was not an option. “Dammit!” He shook the man’s shoulder, knowing that wasn’t protocol, but not wanting to give up. Will wiped water from his eyes, then checked again for a pulse. His fingers had no sooner compressed the man’s carotid artery when he jerked to life.

Coughing and gasping for air, Will turned the man on his side. He spit out mouthfuls of water then groaned as he pushed the hair from his eyes. “Guess I’m not dead yet?” he rasped.

Will cracked a smile. Not quite what he expected the man’s first words to be. Maybe “thank you” or “where the hell am I,” definitely not something so comic. Will poked him in the ribs and the guy jumped. “Nope, not dead.”

Wiping his mouth with the back of his arm, the man flopped on his back. His pale green eyes peered at Will as a goofy grin spread across his face. “That was a close one. Guess I owe you some thanks for saving my life.”

Shaking his head, Will’s leg gave out unexpectedly, and he landed on his ass. Damn rods should be able to hold his bulk better than that. And he sure wasn’t making a good impression as a savior. “You’re welcome.”

Will eyed the man carefully. The mangled life jacked had fallen open. His once white polo shirt was now a dingy brown, but it clung to a muscular if lean chest. The navy blue swim trunks stuck to his body, outlining an impressive lump in his shorts.

The guy coughed before rolling to his side. He smacked Will on the knee. “Hey bud, my eyes are up here. No scoping out the package without proper introductions.” The guy raised an eyebrow, pointing to his head.

Will had the grace to blush. He’d never saved anyone with such personality. In his experience, most people would lie on the shore, curled in the fetal position, moaning for their mammas. Not this one. He was one joke or smart remark after the next. Keeping his gaze fixed on those mischievous green eyes, Will held out his hand. “Will McBride, rescuer extraordinaire.”

The man rose to his knees and gripped Will’s hand. “Foster Summerland, shipwrecked part-time sailor.” He gave Will’s hand a squeeze before releasing it.

“Well, Foster, how about some dry clothes and a cup of coffee? Then, you can fill me in on your tale of woe.” Will pushed to his feet, really feeling the ache in his leg. Should have taken those pain killers when you got up, hero.

Foster grinned and tried to hop to his feet. When his legs didn’t work as expected, Will grabbed his hand and hauled him to his feet. He draped Foster’s arm across his shoulder and helped him shuffle up the hill toward home.

to be continued…

* * * *

Stop by and visit the other Briefers:

Photo courtesy of Kevin Mitnak
Photo courtesy of Kevin Mitnak
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