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Submitted on
July 18
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    “There’s no escape, you know.”

    Thomas put his head on one side, slapping the water out of his ear. “Sorry?”

    “There’s no escape...from the island.” The heavily bearded man gave him a stare. “The same rocks that sank your vessel have defeated my every attempt at floating a raft.”

    “Oh.” Thomas wasn’t sure exactly what one was supposed to say in this situation. “I’m sorry to hear that.”

    “There’s food enough to get by here, if you don’t mind bitter roots, insects, sour berries. That’s almost the cruellest thing.” Beneath his stitched-leaf hat, his eyes gazed out to sea. “Compared with the open ocean, this place offers a fair chance of survival. But can it really be called living? Trapped here...on the island?”

    “I guess not.” Thomas stood and brushed himself off. “But the thing is, I don’t think it’s as hopel...”

    “Shhh!” The castaway pressed a grimy finger to Thomas’s lips. “Hope is even crueller than...the island. Forty years I’ve been here, and I can tell you hope brings only pain. God, or fate, or something more terrible still, has us imprisoned here. For its amusement? Or through sheer indifference? None can say. For us there is only...the island.”

    Thomas pushed the castaway’s hand away in disgust. “Phleh!” He rubbed his mouth on his sleeve. “Do you ever wash your hands?”

    The man shrugged. “You’ll find no sinks on...the island.”

    “And will you please stop saying it like that? ...the island. You sound ridiculous.”

    “Because I’ve come to appreciate the vast desolation that surrounds us? The deep isolation that, paradoxically, reminds us of the invisible forces uniting all things? The majesty of...the island.”

    “Because it’s a peninsula!”

    The castaway paused. “Say what now?”

    “Seriously?” Thomas put a hand to his forehead. “You’ve been here forty years and you never noticed?”

    “I thought if I stayed by the shore, I might catch a boat going past.”

    “They’re going past constantly! Surely all those swan-shaped paddle boats were a clue that you weren’t exactly in the middle of nowhere.”

    “I thought they were swans.” The castaway folded his arms. “We can’t all be ornithologists, you know.”

    “And the big sign saying ‘Sunny Peninsula Boat Hire’ just over there?”

    “Well sure, if you just happen to look precisely in that direction.”

    “It’s a neon sign! There’s a unicyclist juggling flaming torches on top of it!”

    “I think that’s a ‘today only’ sort of thing.”

    “Whatever.” Thomas began to head off towards the boat hire place. His sodden shoes felt awful, his wet clothes three times their dry weight. “I’ve got enough to worry about: those guys are probably going to charge me a fortune for crashing that swan boat.” He paused. “Do you need me to, like, lead you off this peninsula or something?”

    The castaway slowly shook his head. “Been out here too long now. Too long on...the peninsula.”

    “Suit yourself.”

Flash Fiction Month, Day 18.

This story is a 'today only' sort of thing. Unless you find it tomorrow. Or at any point after that. I didn't really think this through.

If you've enjoyed this story, you can find the rest of today's flash fiction here, and my work from Flash Fiction Month 2012 and 2013 collected in OCR is Not the Only Font and Red Herring respectively.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2014-08-05
Where Seagulls Dare by DamonWakes is a quirky, short piece that's going to leave you in...suspense. ( Suggested by splash-light and Featured by IrrevocableFate )
tommyboywood Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Interesting snippet (p.s. it's cruelest )  :)
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014   Writer
Thanks. :-) I just looked that up, and it seems to be a UK/US spelling difference. Massive thanks for pointing it out, though: I'm putting together a collection of these stories now and the feedback I've got here is proving invaluable.

That's also why it's taken me a while to reply, by the way. ^^; Sorry about that.
Sir-Herp Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2014  Student General Artist
This was hilarious! I was planning on bookmarking it for later, but I read a few lines and ended up finishing...the story. There was no escape.
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014   Writer
:paranoid: Indeed. There can be no escape from...the story.

:-) Glad you liked it.
TheInfernoVoid Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2014   Writer
Love the characters on this one, both of them. Not to mention the contrast of them and their interactions.
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014   Writer
I always like to balance my mad-from-the-isolation castaways with entirely normal guys. :-)
TheInfernoVoid Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2014   Writer
Tis the normal thing to do right?
IRideAMagicalLadle Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
O____O oh dear lord! :rofl:
xlntwtch Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2014   Writer
A latish congrats on your DD, featured for....your writing. :+fav:
DamonWakes Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014   Writer
Thanks! :-) No worries--it's taking me quite a while to get through the comments anyway.
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