Long night (all at sea) by Annette Rohde

The moon, set low in the night sky, reflects its light on the deceitfully smooth ocean. The waves, gently hitting the side of the boat, are my unwanted companions. My weary body lying on the hard deck faces the stars; a cool sea breeze fresh upon my face provides little relief. It’s so serenely surreal. I feel as though I am not going to last the night.

I need to stay awake and keep centred; it’s the only way to get through this.

My eyelids grow heavy as I become one with the rhythm of the sea. Thack. Thock. Thack, thack, thock. Thock. Thack, thack, thock. Thock, tha…

No, stay awake!

I search the stars for the Southern Cross, then comb the sky for other constellations. My head spins again as my eyelids grow heavier…

Stay awake!

I focus on one star, hoping it will fall so I can make a wish that I will be back on land soon. Maybe. Just maybe …

Cold splashes jolt me awake. I dry retch and clutch my stomach. My head dizzy, it takes a moment to remember where I am.

I must keep still, become one with the boat’s motion, imagine I am floating and still and relaxed. Stay awake!

As the sun appears over the horizon, I look towards the cabin where dad is soundly sleeping and sigh with some sense of relief. Soon he will wake so we can sail back to land, the cure for my sickness.


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Filed under Annette Rohde

8 responses to “Long night (all at sea) by Annette Rohde

  1. Randal Houle

    Oh, yeah. I was so relieved that the narrator wasn’t a castaway left adrift. BUt the feeling of floating without direction (including the motion sickness) nicely done. There aren’t enough dry retches in fiction these days. ;)

  2. Len

    you did a nice job of making everything visceral and sensate. i felt sea sick myself, which is saying something.

  3. I really liked the way the story unfolded, glad it had a happy ending.

  4. I had that same sensory feeling of being adrift on an ocean, so felt relief at the ending. Your details and use of setting is unique here.

  5. Liked the way this story unfolds in such subtle, and very vivid twists. Enjoyed this.

  6. Drifting, drifting… very visceral. Peace…

  7. Pingback: Week #34 – Floating away | 52|250 A Year of Flash

  8. Cal McGaugh

    Hi Annette,
    is that a childhood memory? I feel as though I was there on board.
    Did/do you enjoy sailing? I can tell at least in this instance, you could hardly
    wait to get back on solid ground. But were comforted by the thought of your
    dad being there, even if asleep. I bet he was a very good sailor.

    Lots of good memories I hope.

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