A few years ago, daunted and frustrated at what is considered the standard length for novels, a friend of mine suggested that I try my hand at Flash Fiction, a form of short story writing that puts a limit to the number of words the author can use. In some cases the cap is at 1,000 words, and in other cases it is much less, earning it alternative names like micro-fiction, sudden fiction, short short stories, etc. (Click on the links to read more about Flash Fiction as well as some tips here.)
My introduction into the genre was through an anthology of stories written by Dave Eggers and the story “What the Water Feels Like to the Fishes.” (Please click on the link and read it! It is well worth the three minutes of your time.)
I ended up really liking the genre, and soon after I wrote a short short inspired by Eggers’ work. Today I am sharing it–I’ve shared it in the past as well–below.
“Secrets for the Fish”
He closed his eyes as a gust of wind touched his face. The wind was not as salty and as tangy as before, but it was salty enough and tangy enough for one to know that it had come from the sea.
He inhaled and filled himself with ocean secrets, whispered by the fish and carried by the wind. A deep and refreshing breath. Then he opened his eyes to the night sky.
He turned to his left, knowing that she would not be there, although she might have been; could have been. Once on a night just like this, she stood on his left, and he on her right.
It had been a while since he had dreamt of her, colourful and vivid dreams that left him breathless and confused. He looked towards the water and hoped she thought of him. He often thought of her whenever he saw the sea.
Another breath. More secrets. “I love you,” he whispered as he exhaled, sharing his own secret, to be carried by the wind and heard by the fish.
He turned to his right, to go back the way he came. It’s a good night, he thought. Good for secrets. The kind you tell no one but the fish.
Note: This story has been reviewed by other writer friends, and no matter how often they’ve suggested changes, I can’t bring myself to edit it. So good, bad, or just plain terrible, I hope you enjoyed reading it, even a little.