United States

jill of all trades

Message to Readers

general feedback would be excellent. i'm also wondering what y'all think happens to her at the end of the story, because i've received many a different opinion. thanks!

The Conduction (Prologue to a Tempest)

August 18, 2018


    She slipped in the sand, and
the box she was carrying almost tumbled out of
her hands. Digging
her fingers firmly
into the grooves of wooden vines on its cover, she tramped
down the beach
toward the waiting water,
going by ear.
The lapping waves were
oil in
her ears and perfume on
her lips as the wind kissed her
hello. She sat
in the flat sand. Water seeped
into her thin athletic shorts. She rested the box between
her knees and stretched
her legs out before
    This evening was not altogether
in vision. The darkness hummed with starlight, conspicuously lacking
in the alto melody of
the moon like a prima donna late to the concert, but
she knew
she was the one who was entering in the middle of the show. She kissed
her fingers apologetically and
raised them up to the dark moon overhead, then took
a deep, salty breath
and opened the box. In
her periphery, the sea
tingled and puffed, faking sleep.
    The first piece of paper in the wooden box was from
her father.
Her fingers ran over the ink
lines, almost invisible without
light, but read them nonetheless. He was beside
her, his handwritten voice so controlled she feared it
might snap. She put
a hand to his papery face. His marble-blue eyes refused
to acknowledge their clones in
her face and all he said was, “You’re
me.” Then
the wind went through him,
and like dust, he desiccated in
her palms. She folded
the letter, kissed it, and
tucked it in the shirt pocket over
her heart. She reached into the box again, ignoring the cold that ringed
her fingers and drummed caressingly on
her chest.
The sea laughed.
    The next item was a cell phone. She opened it, tapped out six digits over the photo of
her laughing and leaning with P, and ran
her eyes over the neat
and orderly pixels that said, “Last night…”
She was
,a collage of glittering
blue marbles paired with unknowable
skin, long
legs, and a tongue like a satin jackknife.
, Cora
.” (Letting people get it wrong out of
sheer tiredness
was almost as good as
forgetting to care.)
His hair
fell just over the top of
his face,
his cheekbones piano keys for hungry fingers,
his smile time-stopping,
his eyes translucent curtains.
His hands were long and
his lithe hammerhead-shark thumbs covered
hers when
they wanted to. She closed
her eyes for a second.
The wind ripped through him like a lioness mother, his mouth open with
shock as a four-letter word pasted
the collage’s parts back into
their respective magazines and held them up to
him, proudly. She followed
a line of footsteps on the edge of the beach with
her eyes as
her fingers hovered over the line, “I’m
, Cora
. You
.” She shut off the phone and stuck it in
her shorts pocket, then blinked
the blue-light glare away until
the stars inside the sea reappeared. They rippled at
her, softened by cumulonimbus.
    The last object in the wooden
, dark box was a bundle. She
removed the string surrounding
it and tied
it around
her own neck, pulling at the ends
to make it stay. Then she
unrolled the material, standing
up and moving it with
her feet so that it all lay flat. It
was soft white cotton, faintly visible in the
nighttime, and deceptively small when
packaged correctly. She
retrieved the marker and the
, porous rocks that the cotton had been
nesting and deposited the
rocks around the edges of the
fabric. She
knelt in the broken
pedestals of sand and
wrote blackness on the white
cotton, turning the
marker to keep its thickest
side down and feeling
her way through the letters in the dark
light. When she
reached the end of the
banner, she
moved the stones away, climbed the nearest
tree, and tied the damp white
cloth to its most isolated
branch. The bark scraped
her palms cheerfully. She
patted it and lowered
herself, storing the marker in
the box and putting it at
the roots as
the wind picked up
speed and blew
the flag upward, slapping
black against white
faced the ocean now and took in
a breath, the chill cleaning
her from
her hair to
her long toes. She
her fingers and stretched
her shoulder blades, then brought the twined hands to
her belly beneath the thin
useless shirt
and felt the warmth there waltz between skin
and skin. If she
could peel away those layers, what would
touch itself? She
her neck to see
the faint black ballroom
her head and felt
herself populated
with stars, exceptions in
the norm of empti
walked into the water, clenching
her teeth at its cold and laughing at
herself. She
could still feel sand clinging joyfully to
her when
her toes lifted themselves, and
her breathing was as steady as a tide when first the
phone popped up and drifted away, then the
letter. The ocean moved with
her and against
her, entering
her and leaving
her, testing
her and loving
her. The
white flag which read
goodbye on the beach to
her world as it moved, bobbed, rose, and fell away with
her. Alone
together, they paddled deliberately towards a full
I originally wrote this as straight prose, but got bored with that.


See History
  • August 18, 2018 - 3:23pm (Now Viewing)

Login or Signup to provide a comment.