“On this peninsula, the weather can come from any direction. You learn to watch the animals for signs of the big storms.
I saw the gulls coming from the north and moving fast. They paid no attention to me or my bag of cheese puffs. They were clearly panicked.
Looking back, I saw the cause of the alarm. It wasn’t the weather.”
The winning story was a touching flash by Jamie R. Hershberger, who took the prompt in a more serious direction than the rest of us. It’s wonderful how she manages to evoke real emotion in so few words.
Someday I may try my hand at straight fiction, but probably not any time soon. My favorite part of the challenge is to bring speculative fiction elements into these tidbit tales. So, here’s mine:
Activity started early on the beach. Joggers—tourists mostly—huffed along the shoreline running off one too many trips to the buffet. Sunbathers secured their umbrella spots while vendors stalked them.
Before her stroke, Abuela strolled this beach every day. On weekends we’d scatter conches on the sand for the gulls. This was our first visit since the hospital. I doubted she’d be up for feeding the birds.
A foghorn moaned. Odd in the absence of fog. Seagulls abandoned their squabbling over the resort dumpsters and veered off over the sea. Sunbathers gawked. A shadow spread over the sand.
Something barreled toward me. Joggers staggered out of its way. I nearly bolted when my grandmother’s voice sang out, “A glorious day, mi bonita!”
“Abuela?” I gasped. “What are you riding?”
It looked like a mobility scooter built to run on steam. It seemed to rest on a platform of mists. Abuela rode it like a plump wooly-haired Venus astride a brassy scallop shell.
“The chair lacked pizzazz,” she chirped.
Brass pumps and pistons gusted parti-colored clouds smelling of grapefruit and old cocao. “Where did you get it?”
“A simply marvelous gentlemen! Mr. Wells.”
Gentleman, hunh? Abuela’d never said “simply marvelous”. I tried to imagine my 80-year-old grandmother as a paramour.
“Herbert said it was a gift”—she drummed her surprisingly spry fingers on a panel—“from the future.”
“Hold on,” I blurted. “Herbert Wells? Herbert George Wells?”
“Isn’t he wonderful?” The organ pipes sighed with her