I won 2nd place the in short story contest! I am so incredibly thrilled!! My confidence as a writer had been waning a bit this week and to have reached the top three in this contest was the perfect boost I needed to keep trekking along! It really was a great experience. The three winning short stories are posted at http://betsyloveldsauthor.blogspot.com/
Go and check them out. I thought the other stories were super!
So, I said I would post my short story and so here it is...
by Andrea May
Anna walked along the weathered boardwalk with a heavy heart. Usually the ocean with its soothing sounds brought peace and serenity, but not today. A man sitting in the shadows caught her attention and she hastened her step to greet him.
“How ya doing, Joe?”
“Can’t complain,” Joe said in a hoarse voice as he looked up at her with clear green eyes.
Anna sighed and sat down next to him. “Have you remembered anything this morning?” The man was a wanderer that daily found himself on the boardwalk, not knowing who he was or where he’d come from. Since their first meeting, Anna had called him Joe and made it her mission to help him remember.
Joe shook his matted dread locks.
“Maybe tomorrow.” Anna patted his knee. “I’m heading down to the beach. You want to come?”
“I prefer to stay here. I don’t much like the beach or water.”
“Okay, see ya later.”
Striding toward the shore, her melancholy returned with full force. She thought about Joe’s eyes, so similar to the sea green eyes of her brother—the reason for her grief. Ten years ago, Chris was lost at sea. An aching hole burned within her as she thought back to the past decade without her older brother to guide and protect her.
Anna stepped into the water, hoping that each stride toward open sea would wash away her sorrow. The call of a seagull brought up her head as a large wave crashed into her, knocking her onto the sandy floor. Salty water washed over her and she felt her head crack against a rock, turning the world black.
Anna opened her eyes to bright lights and the sound of a familiar, almost forgotten voice. “You gave us quite a scare.”
“Where am I?”
“At Cape Regional Medical Center. I was out swimming this morning when you washed up on shore.”
As Anna’s fuzzy vision cleared, she blinked and gaped at the young man seated beside her, his green eyes filled with concern. “Chris?”
The young man laughed. “Wow, you guessed my name on the first try.”
Anna shot up. “Chris!”
Chris gently pushed her back down on the bed. “Hey, you need to rest.”
“Chris, it’s me. Anna.”
“Hey, that’s my kid sister’s name. You actually look a lot like her…only she’s ten.” He winked.
“Ten? I’m not ten, I’m twenty.”
“No, my sister’s ten.”
“But,” Anna shook her head in confusion. “I’m your sister.”
“Um…I think you’re confused.”
“Chris, what date is it?”
“May 25th,” Chris said with concern.
“No, the year. What year is it?”
“It can’t be…” Anna’s voice drifted off.
Chris trained his emerald eyes on her. “Are you okay?”
Anna’s heart raced as a thought began to form. “Chris, this is going to sound crazy but you need to listen carefully. I am your sister and I’m here to warn you.”
“I know about the sailing trip you’re planning. You can’t go.”
Chris scoffed. “What?”
“You get caught in a storm and lost at sea.” Anna grabbed Chris’s hands, her voice wavering. “You don’t come back.”
“Look,” Chris said as he pried his hands out of Anna’s grip, “I don’t know who you are or how you knew about my trip in the morning, but you don’t have to worry. I’m an experienced sailor.”
“In the morning? NO! Chris, you can’t!” Anna felt herself going into hysterics. “I’ve come back to tell you—“
“Shhh, it’s okay.” Chris patted her arm and reached into his pocket, pulling out a seashell carved into the shape of a dolphin. “I have this hobby of carving seashells. I want you to have it.” He placed the delicate dolphin into Anna’s hand.
She wrapped her fingers around the shell and held it to her heart as warmth enveloped and calmed her. “It’s beautiful.”
Chris smiled, “I’m glad you like it. Tell you what—meet me at Spinners on June 12th at noon and I’ll give you a new one, carved from a seashell I find on my trip.”
Anna looked up at him, pleading, “Please, don’t go.”
“I have to.” He squeezed her hand. “Spinners. June 12th. Don’t Forget.” Chris stood up and walked out of the room, leaving Anna drowning in her own tears until sleep overcame her.
Anna woke to the sound of rhythmic waves crashing upon the shore. Sitting up, she rubbed her throbbing temples and groaned. She saw a man sitting next to her, dripping in salt water and gasping for breath.
“I saw you go down. Had to get you out of the water—before it was too late.”
“You saved me?”
“It was just a dream,” she said to herself.
Anna shook her head as tears filled her eyes. “Did you know that my brother was lost at sea?”
“I’m so sorry.”
“I just dreamed that I saw him again. I tried to stop him from going, but he didn’t listen. What the—” A shiny glint caught her eye. She pulled a dolphin, carved out of seashell, from the sand.
“What is it?” Joe asked.
Anna showed him the dolphin. “My brother carved it.”
“May I see it?”
As Anna handed Joe the dolphin, he gasped and stared at it in wonder. “I…remember. I used to carve things out of seashells, as a hobby. I made this and gave it to a girl…and I promised…” Joe pulled a rose carved from an abalone shell out of his pocket.
Anna scrambled to her knees and held Joe’s face between her hands, searching his sea green eyes. “Chris?”
He met her gaze and she saw a flash of recognition cross his face. “Anna.”
“Is it really you?”
“I got caught in a storm and lost my way,” he said in a shaky voice. “I couldn’t remember anything. So I followed my heart and it brought me here.”
Anna threw her arms around his neck. “It brought you home.”