Flash fiction: The ladder

A waterhole with a rusty ladder inside on the beach surrounding Sliema. Photo: Anita Simonsen
Here’s another flash fiction based of a photo taken while exploring Malta.
The above photo was taken on the same beach as the photo from my flash fiction ‘Bridging the Gap’. The beach is all rock and water, and was practically riddled with holes and channels. However, in one of these water holes were a rusty, old ladder partially surrounded by pebbles and rocks. I found it to be almost magical.
This may or may not have influenced today’s story.
I managed to keep it to exactly 300 words! Something I’m quite proud of, it’s the shortest flash fiction I’ve written yet.

Oh and remember, there’ll be a new one next Wednesday as usual : D

The ladder

If you see things often enough, eventually you stop paying attention to them.
However, extraordinary they seemed at first.
This was the case with the forgotten ladder in the water hole by the sea.
Everybody knew about it.
And surely the first time you saw it, you would be taken aback by the peculiar scenario.
Your head would fill with questions:
where did it come from? Did somebody leave it behind, forget it? Why has nobody removed it?

The truth is, nobody knows.

Late afternoon, the girl played by the sea.
Her mother nearby with a book, face shrouded by a sun hat. Eyes fixed on words.
The girl wandered, exploiting her mom’s faltering attention.
The beach became desolated, she liked it. Nobody to disturb her mind’s adventures.
She had fought battles here, saved dragons, slayed princesses. Found treasure.

It was cloudy, the sun ebbing alongside the sea.
Skitter of pebbles, she looked up. Nothing, but rocks and a water hole.
She looked over the edge and, to her surprise, found a ladder.
“Weird isn’t it?” a rough, sing-song voice asked behind her.
Turning, the girl stood face to face with a man.
There had been nobody, but there he was.

His clothing soaked, wet locks of hair embracing his features.
“They say it’s immovable”, he continued, twisting water out of the hem of his overcoat.
The girl found her voice lost, her heart pounding. Something was off about the man.
“Say it’s a gateway, you know. Say it leads to another world”. She couldn’t look away.
Suddenly his face twisted upwards, like vines growing at an unnatural rate.
His wet hair parted, horns sprouted and were now gleaming in the setting sun.
“You know”, he said, cat eyes catching hers.
“They were right”, a fork tongue bid her farewell.

If you want to read more, you can find an index of my written work here.

Don’t hesitate to comment below with any thoughts or criticism.
Feedback sustains me : D

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