Tag Archives: Ocean

Blues Buster: Drift

© Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

Water lapped, slapping the sides of the little boat, and Joe’s oars slipped from his fingers. The ocean, glistening black like treacle, swallowed them without regret. Joe stared, wide-eyed, into the darkness, his pupils dilating as his jaw slackened. Wisps of fog curled about the debris floating on the surface and he gulped as white swirls caressed the drifting scum.

The moon peered through the mist for a moment, illuminating rainbows of oil atop the water, until the gloomy clouds closed rank and Joe was lost again, a single soul in a tiny boat.

He refused to look behind, refused to acknowledge the final flickering flames that sank lower and lower, fading into the night and into the hungry sea, but the wails, that had been vanquished hours ago, still echoed inside his head.

He rubbed his greasy hands, trying to find a spark of warmth, but the cold that had stolen his oars, stole his fingers and then his hands and goose-bumps sent chatters through his teeth. His head shook with cold, and with insanity, and his last grasp on reality slipped away.

He shook his head, trying to evade the demons that swam through his mind, and squinted. Swirls of fog danced across the waves, imitating white horses, but the sea was too still for waves. The hazy spectres waltzed and whirled atop the flotsam and jetsam, and Joe shivered.

A hefty piece of driftwood clunked against the little boat and Joe jumped, and the scars on his heart tore just a little wider as the little boat rocked.

Ghosts reached out to him, white, watery fingers extended and beckoning. Joe sank back, flinching, as the wisps curled about his little boat. Oily streaks ran down his face as terror invaded his head. He huddled down, trying to hide behind a barrel and between a chest and a sack of provisions. The cold fog spread wide and behind him fingers gripped his soaked jacket, tugging and wrenching at his body.

Joe stared wildly about him, slipping out of his sodden coat, and wriggling free of the arms that tried to capture him. He was too crazed to see the fingers were just gusts of icy wind, and he stood, grabbing the chest from the floor of his tiny boat. It took but a moment for the wind to seize its chance and the waves, and debris and driftwood flooded the boat. Joe tumbled into the grasping arms of the sea.

The silent ocean took the renegade fire-starter and dragged both him and the treasure down into its depths, where the ghosts of the recently drowned could finally reap retribution.

(441 Words)

A little something for the last Blues Buster for a bit over at The Tsuruoka Files, for the prompt song:  The Turkish Song of the Damned by The Pogues.

Blues Buster: Long Snake Moan

© Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

Harry’s head swayed and the vein in his temple throbbed as the beat from the party, back on the dunes, thudded through his brain. The moon’s silvered rays cast a diamond pathway before him as he closed his eyes and waded into the deep. Sand caressed his toes and pieces of drifting seaweed curled around his legs. Harry’s heart beat like a jackhammer as he walked, pushing through the sea, allowing the comforting warmth to exorcise his demons. He glanced behind. The beach was almost silent, the only sound the lapping of waves about his belly, rising up to his chest and down again, the thud of the party left far behind, as was his spiteful battle with Angelique.

A sigh escaped his lips and he bent his knees; the water closed over his shoulders and then over his head and he rose, shaking salt and ocean from his hair. He gazed up at the moon and drank in its cool calm, almost regretting the words he and Angelique had shared. He lifted his feet from the ocean floor and relaxed backwards, letting the swell pick him up and cradle him like a baby.

He played the fight over in his head as he floated, and the motion of the waves hypnotised him, drowning his aggression and burying it deep below. Angelique’s voice floated through the dark, its vicious edge lost in the calm of the night, and Harry grinned.

Angelique’s murmur captivated him as he bobbed on the ocean, and his hands moved rhythmically through the water as he turned to face the shore, and his girlfriend. Forgiveness sang in his heart and he lowered his legs to stand. Panic struck, just for a moment, as he realised how far out he’d floated, and then Angelique’s arms embraced him from behind and he let her move him through the water. Her sultry words echoed and her kisses rained down on his lips, then his shoulder, and then on his chest and her hands caressed his body beneath the sea. His heart quickened and blood rushed as her lips tasted his.

He floundered again as his feet searched for the sandy floor, but her legs entwined his and her insistent kisses pushed deeper. He tried to relax and enjoy the seduction, but the night grew darker, as the moon fled behind clouds, and the ocean grew colder. Harry tried to extricate himself from her embrace, but her arms were everywhere and her song weaved through his brain. He kicked and pushed, and gulped as his head dipped below the water. He spluttered and coughed and fought for the surface…swallowing sea as he burst through the watery ceiling.

Free from her grip, he kicked away and turned to find his bearings. His head spun as he tried to locate the shore. The moon peeped out, but offered no help and Angelique’s body slithered towards him through the silver sea. He tried to swim, but she was upon him and dunking him back beneath the ocean before he could escape. Her arms entwined him in chains of steel and her breath whispered across his skin and he sank as her kisses feathered his lips.

No one but the moon saw the futile struggle amid the ocean waves, and no one but the moon saw the crude voodoo figure rudely and hurriedly constructed from driftwood and fishing line, half buried in the sand at Angelique’s feet. The wind whispered through Angelique’s dry hair, and she smiled to herself as she settled into the eager arms of another partygoer, and as the beat thudded behind her she rained kisses down on her new beau’s lips.

(612 Words)

Another Blues Buster prompted by P J Harvey’s ‘Long Snake Moan’. Hop over to The Tsuruoka Files to read more tales…

Rebirth: Resurgence

My second tale of rebirth for J.A.Mes Press Rebirth Anthology. All proceeds will go to a UK Stroke Charity.

Title: Resurgence
Author: Lisa Shambrook
Book: Yes

Ocean Girl © Lisa Shambrook (All Rights Reserved)

Resurgence

Alice went to the beach with one intention.

Not to return.

Her heart thudded painfully, constricting inside her chest, as she walked. She pulled at her soft cotton cardigan sleeve, tugging threads, watching as the slight strands drifted away on the breeze. She sniffed, remembering his scowl, and hurriedly wiped away tears as she approached the dune. She stood atop the shifting sands, amid tall wiry grass, and stared at the sea for a moment letting the breeze lift her hair from her face.

She dropped to her knee and untied her trainers, kicking them off and leaving them behind, just as he’d done to her. She stepped forward, barefoot. Her toes wriggled as hot sand trickled through them, raising a momentary smile, but her vision blurred again as her bottom lip trembled, her tiny cry of despair drowned by the cackling seagulls down by the shore.

The breeze picked up, as did her pace, wafting her skirts around her legs, the gossamer material fluttering like butterflies against her skin. She stopped and hugged her arms to her chest shivering despite the heat of the late sun. Her shoulders shuddered as silent sobs built, rising in her throat, fighting for release, but she pushed them down and tilted her head. The sun’s rays kissed her closed eyelids and dried the tracks of her tears. Alice opened her eyes, lowering her face, gazing across the empty beach. Miles of sand stretched either side of her and her arms dropped to her side.

Her cotton dress floated about her as she shrugged out of her cardigan and let it fall to the sand at her feet. The breeze rolled across her bare shoulders and the material rippled across her breast and stomach. She instinctively brushed her dress down, her fingers lightly smoothing over her chest and lingering at her belly.

The ocean rolled in, wave after wave, never ending, and she tightened her resolve with a deep sigh.

She stumbled towards the shore kicking up clouds of sand that swept across the beach behind her. Her legs, now heavy and awkward, propelled her on across the tide line, across the mounds of wet seaweed, and the sand firmed beneath her toes. She jogged, her feet slapping the glaze of water, wet sand splashing up her legs and tears welling again behind red eyes. The waves ebbed and flowed, the gentle rhythm matching the leaden beat of her heart, as she waded into the sea.

She stopped again, the water lapping at her ankles and closed her eyes, allowing the gentle gusts of wind to caress her face, one last pleasantry, and she tried to calm her hammering heart. She braced, inhaling the ocean air, tasting the salt tracing her lips. She listened to her grief, to her despair and stepped forward.

A squeal of delight startled her and her eyes fluttered open as a young girl raced past, plunging into the water. The girl ran, giggling as she leaped over waves. The girl hitched up her shorts, already splash darkened, and stopped.

Knee-deep, Alice watched as the small girl in the orange shirt threw out her arms with abandon and turned her face towards the glorious evening sun, enjoying the simple delight of waves dancing around her legs, wind on her arms and the warmth of the sun on her face.

Alice felt tears spill as she backed out of the water. Her heart hammered and knots of tension loosed. Goosebumps erupted from head to toe and she sank to the wet sand, her hands trembling as the surf gently embraced her. She watched the blur of orange and denim and newfound innocence engulfed her. Her eyes shone as a slow smile curved and shaky laughter rippled from her lips, and her fingers trailed, tenderly, across her newly rounded stomach.

(638 Words)

 

Tree of Life: Chimera: Selkie Vow

This is for Samantha Redstreake Geary‘s latest Audiomachine ‘Tree of Life’ promotion writerly contest. Choose your favourite ‘Tree of Life’ track and write up to 150 words…
My favourite tracks are ‘Rebirth’, ‘Homecoming’ and ‘Day One’…and track #10 ‘Homecoming’ fit this story perfectly.

Photograph by Lisa Shambrook, Streamzoo and Pixlromatic
(Please do not use without permission)

Selkie Vow

She flicked her tail and gazed across the foaming crests, huge black eyes rested on two silhouettes on the beach. Her heart pounded within her ribcage and as the sun began to drop she allowed its warm rays to caress her glistening skin as water lapped against her rock.

She slid into the water, swimming with ease against the outgoing tide. Seals bobbed in acquiescence as she slipped through the rippling waves.

Reaching the shore, she rested and flipped her tail, splashing one last time. Sun bathed her body as she stepped out of her pelt. A smile painted her lips as she ran a finger down the white lace draping the rock.  Silk clung to her form as she crossed the sand. Before the priest, she turned to her love offering both a smile, as radiant as the evening sun, and her treasured pelt.
And there two destinies entwined.

(150 Words excluding title)

 For further insight to this story, please read ‘Stay’ …

Blues Buster: Stay

Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)

Stay

He let his fingers drag across her shoulder, drawing lazy circles over her silky skin. He shivered, goose bumps erupting as the cool breeze danced across the beach, and he held her close.
She moved her head to gaze into his dark eyes, and her lips curled into a smile as she pulled his arms tighter across her breast. Her lips parted and she licked them, and the salty taste of desire flared within his soul. She shifted slightly, leaning into the crook of his arm and back against his bare chest. Her hair tickled his chin and emotions rose within his belly; desire tinged with yearning and a splash of regret.
He closed his eyes, emptying his mind of sorrow and pain. Seagulls rose and fell on the currents and cawed at the water spread before them, and he knew time was running out. The moon had faded into the sapphire sky many hours ago and dawn peeped over the horizon, a sliver of pink against the black ocean.
She sighed, a tiny, contented sound, and he wrapped his arms around her. His eyes flickered open and he rested his chin upon her head, and felt her body relax between his thighs. His chest shuddered as emotion overwhelmed him and his embrace tightened as if he’d never let her go. She stroked his forearm, leaning forward to kiss the upstanding hairs on his arm, her breath mingling with the cool, salty air.
Salmon pink infused the sky, painting the underside of heavy, drifting clouds. Moments later, fat drops of rain fell and he felt her change. Electricity surged and he buried his face trying to delay the inevitable. He could barely hold himself together and left a dozen kisses in her silky tresses. Horizon’s pink blush deepened, as did the ache that penetrated his entire being. She shifted again, her body waking and stretching, and he slowly released her.
She wriggled away and turned to kneel against him. Her arms embraced his slick shoulders, her wet cheek pressed against his face, her lips sought his, and the rain fell in a shower of kisses.
They broke apart, and she cupped his face in her hands and whispered words of love. He kissed her back, his lips melting against hers and his tongue teasing the fire that blazed, but she pulled away, slowly, leaning back on her heels and stood.
He stared at her silhouette, black against the rising morn, and his heart burst with love.
“Stay…” he whispered, barely audible above the wild horses of the ocean.
She shook her head and waited. The fiery clouds wandered and he sucked in a deep breath. Her gaze never left his face as she smiled in the rain and waited, patiently, and then he reached behind him and drew a silky fur across his legs. He stroked it gently, and dawn’s light shimmered across the glistening pelt, as he rested it across his arm and rose, taking her hand.
Down at the ocean’s edge, he wrapped the skin around her shoulders and held her close, kissing her with everything he had. She turned in his arms and reclaimed her pelt, shimmying skilfully into it, and then she dropped away and returned to the sea.
If she stayed, if she ever stayed, it would be her choice…and, for now, he let the ocean swallow his heart.

(564 Words)

Written for Jeff’s Blues Buster at The Tsuruoka Files. I listened to the song ‘Stay’ by Hurts and loved it…so had to write!

This story is dedicated to Sophie Moss…for obvious reasons! And to Miranda (Purple Queen) because she loves Hurts! x

Blues Buster: Night’s Fury

This week over at Blues Buster we have a song that’s just not my cup of tea…but hey no one said we had to like them just write for them as a prompt…so here’s my Drunken Sailor by Captain Tractor tale:

Photo by Lisa Shambrook (please do not use without permission)
Night’s Fury
Agnes flinched as the wind roared around her tiny cottage at the top of the hill; it whistled through every nook it could find and the candle flickered wildly in the window.  She stared, trying to see past the driving rain, out across the ocean, but the thick wall of falling water obscured everything in its path.
The little boat struggled against the thrall of the storm, threatening to capsize with every roll of a wave, but Ned’s experience and nerve lead his vessel on. Waves boomed as they smacked the prow and water surged across the deck, but Ned’s booted feet stood firm. He and his crew fought the ocean, as she threw her frightful tantrum throughout the inky night. 
Harbour walls waited as the gale danced across her arms, and she lingered until the squall had quietened enough to allow the fishing boat home. When they finally crossed her threshold she hugged them close, and the twinkling lamps of the inn kissed them with friendly cheer. 
Heavy rain drove the sailors into the ‘Harbour’s Hold’, where relief was quickly offered as they stripped off their oilskins and sank onto wooden stools, and allowed sweet nectar’s warmth to feed life back into their weary and aching bones. 
Hours later and boisterous, jovial men traipsed back out into night’s blustering rage. 
Ned’s stomach churned with the howling wind and the stench of the catch, and he stumbled into his first mate. A drunken slap on the back and a push down the road was all he needed, and he was back on his way home. Liquor roiled in his belly and he stopped at the road. Waves crashed behind him, against the pier, and nausea rolled up into his throat. He clenched his hands and pitched forward in the rain, hurling his night’s consumption into the gutter. There, he followed it, collapsing into the ditch on all fours. 
The relentless wind bayed at Agnes’s window, mocking the flame in its golden glory. Agnes wiped her shawl across the condensation, peering out again into the blackness of oblivion.
Ned lie, propped up in the ditch, as the rain emptied its buckets upon his head.  He gurgled and vomited again, and surrendered his body and mind to exhaustion.
Agnes checked her clock and sighed as the rain battered the roof. She opened the front door and squinted through the downpour into the village at the bottom of the hill. Lights had begun to go out and Agnes knew the haul was safely in. 
As Agnes waited, Ned awoke to the rain’s attempt to drown him, and with his head thumping as if he’d been walloped with an anchor, he attempted to stand. He swayed and lurched, and began to blunder forward. 
Several hours of worry boiled inside Agnes’s head, and now as the storm started to abate another began anew. When all the lights below had been extinguished, Agnes knew the sailors were home and safe, but where was Ned? She knew with absolute certainty where Ned had been while she agonised over his return, and anger stirred in her gut. Hours later and anger was long gone replaced by cold fury, and Agnes rose from her chair and moved to the window. With shaking hands she licked her fingers and snuffed out the candle’s flame. 
Morning arrived with a crimson sky and cotton wool clouds dancing on the horizon. Agnes woke alone and stepped out onto her doorstep, her husband’s absence summoning stinging, salty tears. Waves crashed below, at the foot of the cliff, embracing Ned’s broken body as the climbing sun rose in glorious defiance to night’s violent turmoil.  
(609 Words)

Blues Buster: My Lost Siren

A stomping tune in the form of John Legend’s ‘Who Did That To You’ brings us retribution for The Tsuruoka Files Mid-Week Blues-Buster.

Photograph by Lisa Shambrook (Please do not use without permission)
My Lost Siren

She walked the surf-tormented shore, every day, and every day I watched.
Sometimes she walked and her sodden robes trailed behind erasing her footprints, and sometimes, like today, she ran. Sometimes her hair flew out behind like spray from angry waves, and her feet splashed as she sprinted across wet sand, and urgency rang out in her echoing sobs. Sometimes she stood, like a pillar, staring, with eyes already laden with salt, and I watched, my own eyes brimming with briny tears caused by wind and sorrow.
Today she arrived with dawn’s breeze and fear caught in her throat. Her skirts billowed and she ran. The wind lifted her tears from her cheeks, swirling them like tiny pieces of sea-glass, before dropping them into the glittering waves.  She ran, blinded by tears and the glistening sun, until the ocean wept at her feet. There she stopped to catch her breath. Her toes sank into sand and icy ocean swells licked her ankles, and I reached out my hand. Noisy sobs echoed across the bay, and I yearned to take her in my embrace.
But I sank back as hooves rang out, and an ebony stallion charged across the beach.
She fell to her knees, her face in her hands and she sang to me like a lost Siren.
The horse halted beside her and its rider slid off, his boots splashing into the sea, and he grasped her arm lifting her to her unsteady feet. Waves crashed and his horse stomped and whinnied, and I clenched my fists. His fingers tightened around her fragile, purple-ringed wrists and her shoulders shook in his hold.
I felt tension build, and anger roil.
His words spat into her face like surf whipping off a wave and she fought to pull away. His black steed neighed and churned the sand in agitation, and he tried to swing her up onto his horse. She baulked, resisted, and his hand stung her cheek, and as her head swung back and an anguished cry carried on the wind, I rose.
Her wretched Siren song of misery carried across the waves and there was no holding me back.
I whipped up my army and my white horses galloped forward, crashing and dancing, and tossing their bleached manes and tails. As we advanced, his ebony charger reared and knocked him to the ground, before screaming and circling in retreat.
Nursing his bruised ego more than his winded chest, he held onto his prize and ignored her cries of protest and fear. Waves rolled over the couple and I rushed closer, my white horses carrying me on. His fingers held tight as water drenched them both, until he finally threw her aside as he struggled to prevail.
My horses thundered into him, rolling across his body and dragging him back into the pitching surf. They showed no mercy and, as he writhed and grappled with the ocean, my breakers thrashed and tore his breath from his worthless throat. They pummelled and pounded until he lie broken in death beneath the waves…and I turned to her.
She knelt at the shore, her hair falling in soaked strands about her face, and her tears falling into my salty embrace. She raised her head and gazed at me, her lips glistening in early morning sun. She sang…and the Siren, who could not win against him, sang to me. The girl who could not beat her human nemesis sang and calmed an ocean, and I, Poseidon, knew I would watch her forever.

(588 Words)

Blues-Buster: Love’s Resistence

Over to The Tsuruoka Files for another Mid-Week Blues-Buster…inspired by the song Tinta by Faun, and my love of all things oceanic:

Moonbeams silvered the sand and Ophelia’s fingers traced a sweeping arc, a lazy circle, and she sighed rolling from her elbow onto her back. Stars littered the night sky, twinkling and shimmering in the firmament above, and a soft smile parted her lips.
Night’s tantalising breeze floated over the sea, and across the beach, and caressed Ophelia’s naked, sand-glittered skin. She closed her eyes imagining the air to be a lover’s touch, and melted into the shore and her dreams.
She lie with her hands linked behind her head, waves rippling across her lower body, and thoughts of love and desire coursing through her soul. The ocean whispered sweet nothings and she breathed them back.
The tinkle of soft laughter interrupted her reverie and brought her to her senses, and she rolled back onto her belly. Now alert, she hugged close to the black-as-midnight rock, letting bladderwrack drip into her hair. She swept wet hair away from her eyes, letting it cascade instead, mingled with seaweed, down her back and over her shoulders as she rose onto her elbows.
Through the gap in the rocks she watched a young couple wander along the deserted shore. They stopped just shy of the rocks, as she knew they would, and she gazed as they kissed beneath the stars.
Moments later, giggling carried on the breeze as the couple, stripped of their clothes, raced into the sea.
Ophelia twisted and slipped back into the waves, feeling the ocean’s embrace, and she swam like a fish past the rocks and beyond the surf, until she was adjacent to the amorous pair. She dived, flying through the water, rising only to catch a glance of the couple bathed in nothing but moonlight. Ducking back beneath the spray she caught handfuls of broadleaf weed and dead man’s bootlaces and twisted them in her hands.
Splashes guided her until two pairs of legs hung from the ocean’s roof. As they untwined she rose and weaved seaweed about the stocky set of legs. Moments later she tugged at the weed pulling it beneath the surface. She ignored his resistance; her muscular tail and her arms were stronger than his.
As he sank, she glided through the water, rising to meet him, and adoration filled her eyes. Her arms entwined with his and love saturated her aching heart. All it would take was a kiss, just one kiss, and he’d be hers, and trapped within her arms he was already hers.
But his eyes betrayed fear, and terror, and the wonder she’d expected was absent. He stared into her eyes misunderstanding her sentiments…and Ophelia knew his love would never truly belong to her.
She held tight, her eyes piercing him deep, but with a tug of regret her soul let him go.
He kicked free of the weed and propelled upwards, exploding out into the moonlit surf, and within moments the couple were gone, dressed and running across the beach, never to return.
Ophelia rose, and bobbed on the waves, watching the loss of her heart. Moonbeams accentuated briny tears as they slipped down her cheeks, and each tear dropped into the ocean of lost dreams.  

(527 Words)

Five Sentence Fiction: Abandoned

The dinghy rocked, and she didn’t have enough energy to move her legs as they fused to the soft, scorching PVC sides, beneath the baking sun. She tried to prise open her salt-coated mouth to lick her lips, but her tongue stuck to her sandpaper lip and the cry that escaped was little more than a lost whimper.
The glare of the blazing, white fireball in the sky saturated her brain and silence screamed building slowly to a crescendo, until the noise was so loud the roaring filled her entire being.
A shadow passed over her and the little boat pitched wildly.
Fuzzy radio sounds and blips disturbed her delirium, and rough arms grabbed and dragged her, and she was lifted high, high into the sky beneath whirring rotor blades, and the dinghy was left, abandoned, amid the rolling waves.