A harsh scraping invaded the darkness, jolting Anna awake. She groaned. Her temples throbbed. Her muscles ached. Her skin felt like it was burning. Squinting one eye open, she flinched at the bright rays of light which pierced it. The pounding in her head intensified and she winced.

Where am I?

The roar of waves ebbed and flowed, water gurgling nearby. Briny air carried the smell of wet sand, a scent Anna recognized from days spent building castles as a girl.

A beach. What am I doing on a beach?

She needed water; Anna couldn’t remember a time she had ever been so thirsty. Her tongue was thick and dry as sandpaper, sticking to the roof of her mouth. She tried moving it, crying out when her lips cracked and started bleeding. She rolled to her side, every muscle screaming in protest. Curling into the fetal position, Anna rested her cheek against a hard surface, its rough texture scraping her sensitive skin. 

What’s happening?

Cautious, Anna opened her eyes, grimacing at the incessant rhythm of pain in her head. Wood and frayed nylon rope met her eyes, stirring hints of a memory she wasn’t sure she wanted to recall. Then her gaze landed on her wrist. A dark bruise encircled puffy and torn flesh. She could no longer halt the onslaught of images. They played like a movie jumping from one scene to the next…

…her friend, Karen, waving as she crossed a busy Miami street… the dark interior of a nightclub… a charming smile… a series of strong drinks… restraints in a rocking room… dead eyes and searing pain… the man falling…  her desperate attempts to untie the dinghy from the yacht…

The dead eyes returned. A terrified Anna bolted to a sitting position, ignoring the pain as best she could. The world spun around her and black started to creep in on the edges of her vision. She clenched a fist and pressed it against her bruised thigh.

I’m going to faint. 

No! She couldn’t! He would find her… the man with dead eyes. He would kill her.

Legs trembling with weakness, Anna struggled to stand. The boat tilted and she tripped over its side, sprawling onto the sand. A wave washed over her, the salt water stinging the abrasions on her sunburned skin. She lifted to her hands and knees to survey her surroundings. 

She saw nothing but palm trees, a rocky beach, and the vast expanse of the ocean. She was on a small island. There were no signs of civilization, no apparent sources of freshwater. 

How long was I unconscious? Where’s the mainland?

Panic threatened but Anna pushed it away. She needed water, shelter from the sun, and a place to hide. Was her dizziness an aftereffect of being drugged or due to dehydration?

I need help.

Anna scanned the horizon, both praying for and dreading the sight of a boat’s silhouette. How would she know whether it was him or not before it was too late? Struggling to stand, Anna staggered inland, collapsing against a tree. 

Weariness took over; she drifted into sleep, waking to the orange hue of the sun setting. How long was I asleep? Anna squinted when a dark shape shimmered on the horizon. 

A ship. Her stomach tightened. Was it him

A new memory struck… hands covered in blood… clanga knife dropping. Had she? 

There had been too much blood… it couldn’t be him. Anna stood and stumbled towards the beach, arms waving with a tearless sob.

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December 15, 2020 11:04

I lik pe it . Keep going

Marie Bisset
Marie Bisset
December 15, 2020 11:32

Thank you! I’m already working on a new short to post. I hope to have it finished soon.

Elisabeth Long
Elisabeth Long
October 25, 2020 08:59

The feel of a novel captured in a swatch of finely woven sentences… That’s how I define a good piece of flash fiction. Escape’s descriptive prose is as textured as the grains of sand on that beach and Anna’s plight as piercing as the rays of sun. Looking forward to more pieces!

Marie Bisset
Marie Bisset
October 25, 2020 10:28
Reply to  Elisabeth Long

Thank you! I’m excited to have finally taken that first step away from fan fiction to write an original tale. Even if it was a very small step. I have to start somewhere and I think flash fiction is the best way to start that transition since it allows me time to still work on my current story. Flash fiction has an added benefit in that it might also help my writing become more concise, something I struggle with at times.

I’m looking forward to exploring more ideas. I’m already looking for the next image that inspires me.