Eilidh Spence

Wyld FLASH May 14th 2021

It isn’t cold.

She thinks it should be. She thinks—she thinks… it’s been a long time since she’s had to think of anything.

It’s been cold for years; why isn’t it anymore? It was cold, and dark, and what little she could see warped with the saltwater. Now, it’s much too bright, and she cannot see for the sun which shines in eyes she cannot close.

The piercing light is eclipsed by a massive hand which draws her whistling from sand and seafoam. It holds her in its palm, and she hears a voice which clamours and twists and ricochets through ears she has not used in a century.

“—Aw, we got a little, uh, I think it’s a cameo brooch, you guys, look! Carving of a little girl on it, see—perfectly preserved!” A gangly man calls to a group of people hovering further along the shoreline. He looks her over and smiles, broad and toothy and horrid.

He’s exactly what she needs.

She knows how to do this; or, she remembers how it felt. A lot of focus, a little anger, and a twisting pain which she is sure will subside in a moment.

It looks as if nothing has happened.

The man drops the brooch to the sand, lifts up his foot and crushes it under his heel.

And he breathes out, for the first time in a century. The twisting pain persists, a hazy shroud around his mind which crawls down into his chest. He pulls his foot away. The brooch is perfectly intact. He picks it up again. The face of a gangly, toothy man stares back at him.

He yells, in frustration or in anger or in pain or in desperation.

He is surprised by how far he manages to throw the thing. These arms are stronger than his own. The brooch lands in the sea with a hardly visible splash. It could take another century for the thing to wash up again. By then, he’ll be long gone, and it won’t matter.

He makes it six steps.

The pressure gets him first; constricting and pushing and crushing and warping what little he can see. There is salt in his mouth and his eyes and his nose and his chest, and he is on the shoreline and he is under the waves and there is no light now, not anymore.

When the brooch hits the seabed, he is on the ground. A slow trickle of saltwater drips from his mouth, and his eyes are glassy, wide windows laced with dust and punched through, splintered and tinged with red.

As the saltwater winds its way home, the group he had called to while she was watching from the brooch flock around him. Some screech into strange devices he does not recognise. Some hold fingers to his wrists, as if they think there remains something in him which they could reach.

It is cold, now. He thinks it shouldn’t be.

Author Bio: Eilidh Spence lives in Scotland with her parents and sibling, but more importantly, with their three cats. When not writing, she procrastinates by sewing and listening to podcasts. She has micro-fiction being published in Ghost Orchid Press’s upcoming ‘Beneath’ and ‘Cosmos’ Anthologies.

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