Day Sixteen of My 500 Words

Day Sixteen of My 500 Words: Give Hope

Image of beach and cliffs

Today's My 500 Words challenge is to write about 'Hope', to "Take whatever fears and insecurities you have, your internal questions and doubts, and turn them into words that inspire" Jeff Goins.

With the usual disclaimer (any excuse to add a word or few), that the point of these daily challenges is to write freely and to flow creatively without self censure, without pausing to check grammar, spelling or punctuation. So there may be horrific examples of both.


Phyllis sat cross-legged on the sand, dripping. She wiped away the bead of water running down her nose with the sleeve of her sweater, feeling like a snotty-nosed child. She scratched sand across her face and mouth but didn't care. A few sand grains seemed the last thing to worry about right now.

She unfolded her legs in front of her. The thick material of her work trousers squeaked, squelched and fizzed with bubbles as she dug her heels despondently into the wet sand.

Across the bay, she could just about see the last few metres of the mast of the White Oak protruding from the black water as if pointing the way. She had named the ship after the giver of life, and yet her decisions and mistakes had cost the lives of everyone on board.

Everything was lost, including her. She snorted and sighed. It was almost funny. How many people had told her not to leave. She had questioned their courage and set sail anyway. It wasn't too difficult to convince others to join her. Her father's pockets were deep and his love for his daughter deeper. He would do anything, spend any amount, to keep her safe.

The only reason she was alive was because she'd gone back for the horses. The horses he had insisted that she take. Even if there was no hope for surviving the cold depths, they should at least have a chance. They shouldn't die, tied below, unable to lift their heads above the rising water as it enveloped them into it's liquid embrace. So, in the chaos, with men shouting that she should get to the lifeboat, Phyllis had jumped below, risking pulling down the ramp, as waves washed over the deck. She untied the ropes and pulled it through the restraining hoops letting all six of the horses free. They stumbled and slid up the drenched desk struggling for foothold. 

Phyllis hauled up the last, most timid animal to find the rest huddled on the lurching deck, shivering and snorting. She mounted the grey, in the hope that the other animals would follow her. As she gained erratic speed across the pitching deck and launched the grey into the air over the tilted side of the ship, she glanced back to see the black shadow of the huddled animals rise behind her. She barely had an instant of confusion and disbelief that the other horses had not followed their lead stallion, before the weight of the horse dropped sharply beneath her. Impact. Water over her head. Without reins or stirrups to hold her to him, the grey vanished beneath her. 

When she broke the surface, she bobbed in the turgid waves, twisting frantically around to see or hear anything amongst the crescendo of rain around her and the crackling of flames as the ship burned. But there was no sign of him, amongst the carnage

I got here though didn't I. I made it. Alive. She tried to look at her situation in a positive way but couldn't quite convince herself. She didn't know where here was exactly. All the supplies had gone down with the ship. She had sat watching the now flat ocean for what felt like hours, but there was no sign of anything on the horizon. If anyone had made it into the lifeboat and off the ship they hadn't headed towards this part of the coastline. She knew that she needed shelter, water, food and a higher vantage point to scout for survivors and to be able to see if anything had gotten washed onto the beaches around her. It was warm now that the sun was rising toward midday. A walk to dry out might not be such a bad idea. She set off along the curve of the beach following the direction the mast of the White Oak pointed, hoping to find a way up to the top of the distant, craggy cliffs.  
Word count = 660


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