The Endless Sea

20 Apr

Here is my 100 word story for Madison Woods’ FridayFictioneers photo prompt. Find her story here. Read and comment, maybe even write your own story for perusal by the gang of talented flash fiction writers. Never know what you might find.

My story is somewhat cryptic and you need not comment if it doesn’t resonate with you. Its MC has gone to sea one last time, intending to end his life in the place that he loves. It is a beginning of a longer story, so please forgive me. All I could think of when looking at the prompt was that every molecule of water that ever existed just keeps cycling through time and tide, carrying us all along toward our eventual fate.

The Endless Sea

The serenade of the sea whispers to me of days to come, of new life in the deep and new hope for all her creatures. The collective spirit of her children calls to me and I answer by dangling my hand over the swim-step and into her cool embrace. The slap and suck of waves rolling beneath the hull of my last home is the measured pulse of the great heart of the ocean. The One Sea, vast and endless and globe circling, carries me on the swell of her breast, cradles me in her all encompassing arms, and waits.

70 Responses to “The Endless Sea”

  1. susielindau April 20, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    I love the poetic nature of this. He is called to the sea for his final embrace.

    Here is mine. It is a continuation of last weeks High Hopes.
    What the?

    • dmmacilroy April 20, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

      Thanks Susie,

      Telling me that there is poetry in there somewhere makes me happy. Can’t think of a better compliment.



  2. Carol Deminski April 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    Hi Doug, what’s interesting to me about the piece above is that it leans heavily to prose poetry rather than flash fiction. You should consider writing poetry (unless you already do, which wouldn’t surprise me) and you may want to consider going to some online journals and reading more poetry.

    Let’s face it, you have a very evolved, poetic soul. šŸ™‚


    • dmmacilroy April 20, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

      Thanks Carol,

      I’ll be reading your four articles tonight. Nice talking with you via e-chat.



      • Carol Deminski April 20, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

        Hey Doug – always a pleasure!


  3. Jeffrey Hollar April 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    This is a wonderfully descriptive tale and definitely poetic. It makes perfect sense to me on many levels.

    • dmmacilroy April 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

      Thanks Jeffrey,

      Good of you to say so.



  4. writelindy April 20, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    You evoke a beautiful picture with your words.

    • dmmacilroy April 20, 2012 at 4:11 pm #

      Thanks loads,

      I appreciate you stopping in to read and comment.



  5. Susan Wenzel (@SusanWenzel) April 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Dear Doug,

    This is by far your most eloquent piece ever. The construction flows beautifully and the words bring me right along on your journey. Maybe its the sailor in my soul, but this speaks to me… Thank you for sharing. Thank you very much!


    • dmmacilroy April 20, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

      Dear Susan,

      Can’t thank you enough for your kind comments. I love it that you are a sailor at heart. We are going to have to meet up when you arrive here for the Big Island chapter of your life.



      • Susan Wenzel (@SusanWenzel) April 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

        You know it! First round of mai tais are on me. (haha) But seriously, I cannot deny the call of the ocean…I could never live in landlocked Ohio again.


      • Susan Wenzel (@SusanWenzel) April 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

        (to quote Iz…now I am singing, “The sound of the ocean soothes my restless soul…)

  6. rich April 20, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    not cryptic at all. well done. and bon voyage.

    • dmmacilroy April 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

      Thanks Rich,

      Just felt bad about stretching the prompt so much. Hammered my brain for hours and then finally just posted this via cut and paste.

      I appreciate your comments.



      • rich April 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

        i get the idea that someone is in a boat, going out to sea, but will not return.

  7. Sandra April 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Not cryptic at all, I suppose some people might want to end their days that way. Sounds like your character has no qualms about it at all – very convincing and eloquently crafted.
    Wouldn’t be my weapon of choice … but hey, we’re all different. šŸ™‚ Good one, glad you found the inspiration at last.

    • dmmacilroy April 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      Thanks Sandra,

      It will be my weapon of choice. Don’t like the idea of flies swarming over my remains. Much prefer the denizens of the sea to strip me clean and return me to the source.

      Thanks for reading. Headed your way now.



  8. Parul April 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    Didn’t seem cryptic. Was looking forward to your post, and it hasn’t failed to impress as always.
    Poignant and philosophical.. sad yet hopeful… Could relate with it at many levels.
    Needless to say you did a great job with the prompt… Your post would have made perfect sense even without it though! šŸ™‚

    • dmmacilroy April 22, 2012 at 10:31 am #

      Dear Parul,

      You are always so generous with your time and your comments. Thank you for sharing. my apologies for taking so long to reply. Sometimes the world conspires against me…



  9. elmowrites April 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    Even without your intro, I think I’d have had a sense of the end in this piece, through the poetry of your words and descriptions. You have a ryhthm which seems to match the pitch of the boat on the waves, and I think there is a peace here too. He is going to a watery grave, but he is ready to do so and he doesn’t see it as simply an end. That was my feeling anyway.
    I’ll admit it wasn’t my favourite from you – I love your more story-like stories – but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Sometimes I think these prompts are more about an emotion than a story, and that’s what you gave here.
    Iā€™m over here:

    • dmmacilroy April 22, 2012 at 10:44 am #

      You are patient with this writer. As i said, i was flummoxed by the prompt and survived only by cheating. I’ve said it before, but i’d like to reinforce it again; thanks for being so open and giving with your comments. They really are the heart and souol of these weekends. The stories are good, but the give and take between writing allies is the best.



      • elmowrites April 22, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

        I’m not patient, it’s purely a matter of taste. I hesitated before saying that I didn’t like this post as much as your others, but I hope that my honesty about what I don’t like gives my writing friends greater faith in my honesty about what I do.
        But I don’t think you cheated at all, it takes a great poet to see oceans in a droplet of water or “the world in a grain of sand”.

  10. Lindaura April 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    Yes, so it is. Beautifully written, the rhythm of the words capturing the rhythm of the waves – and the beauty of your language capturing the beauty we see when we look upon that boundless sea – and I do think of you, surrounded as you are on your great islands of the Pacific!

    I misplaced myself, and I stole from you again it seems, or the Bermuda Triangle is up to its old tricks again:

  11. JKBradley April 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    Very poetic, indeed.

    Does your boat have a name?

    Nicely done, Doug.

    • dmmacilroy April 22, 2012 at 10:54 am #

      From a poet such as yourself, i take your compliment to heart. the boat’s name is Easy Come…



  12. Russell April 20, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    I agree with Susan, this is extremely eloquent. I liked the preface too. The whole piece flows beautifully.

    I really struggled with this prompt, but check it out and let me know how I could have done better.

    • dmmacilroy April 22, 2012 at 10:55 am #

      Hi Russell,

      i’ve decided i want you to be my Joy Boy…(Do you know that Nilsson song?



  13. Gary April 20, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    There’s definitely a feeling of finality to this piece – or the beginnings of that feeling, since this is part of a longer story – and a certain romance in the descriptive work. Consider my hat tipped, sir! šŸ™‚

    In case you missed it, I added a second story to mine this week. I won’t be offended if you don’t read it though, so don’t worry!

    • dmmacilroy April 22, 2012 at 10:59 am #

      Dear Gary,

      Perhaps Nirsa is coming for him. (i’ll always read all you have to write. thanks for the kind comments and the tolerance for my cheating this week.



  14. LupusAnthropos April 20, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    Ah! This is the REAL “Old Man and the Sea”! (I like this better than the other one: never was a big fan of Hemingway.)

    Here’s my tale:

    • dmmacilroy April 22, 2012 at 11:04 am #

      Thank you, Sir,

      Ever read The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber? Even if yiou’re not a fan of hemingway’s, you have to give it up to him for one of the best short story titles ever. See you next week.



  15. teschoenborn April 20, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    This is beautiful, you captivated me from the first sentence.

    Here’s mine:

    • dmmacilroy April 22, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      Thaks for stopping in to be captivated. i cheated this week. Thanks for giving me a pass.



  16. sacha1nch1 April 21, 2012 at 12:53 am #

    brilliant i thought; a far more reconciled and far less absurdist outing than the one beginning, ‘call me ishmael.’

    and that ‘slap and suck’ is certainly a sound to die for; enough to prepare you for any storm

    • dmmacilroy April 21, 2012 at 1:23 am #

      Thank you,

      Can’t tell you how much your kind comments fuel my writing. As for Melville, well, I wrote a minnow’s moment. Still and all, it’s nice to hear.



      • sacha1nch1 April 21, 2012 at 1:35 am #

        but it is the beginning of a longer story, and a minnow can have as much impact as a whale

  17. Robert Wyckoff (@TheDrabbler) April 21, 2012 at 3:57 am #

    Uh oh. Is the entire sea itself a siren, perhaps? Life-promising, swaddling, enticing. But deadly and inevitable.
    This seems like it could be a wonderful grabber for the beginning of the story. It certainly makes me want to read more. Thank you very much for sharing.

    Here’s my take at

    • dmmacilroy April 22, 2012 at 11:06 am #

      And thank you for reading and commenting. I loved your story as well.



  18. littlewonder2 April 21, 2012 at 4:49 am #

    I love the living characterisation of nature and sea itself. And I love the romantic viewpoint of the character himself. What you achieved in just one paragraph is mind blowing.

    • dmmacilroy April 22, 2012 at 11:08 am #

      It helps to have spent lots of years on the ocean or beneath it. And what helps even more are precious comments like yours. i really appreciate you taking the time to leave them.



  19. Lora Mitchell April 21, 2012 at 6:07 am #

    Being that we just celebrated the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and all those poor souls going to their watery grave…maybe he will meet up with some of them. I often wonder if some of those souls stayed behind to haunt that doomed ship. Here’s mine…

    • dmmacilroy April 22, 2012 at 11:12 am #

      Dear Lora,

      All the souls that have died at sea join her majesty forever. (My theory and i’m going to test it one day. i loved the Chicken Queen, lora. Good stuff.



  20. Jeannie April 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Doug, I really like this. The way you wrote it, the words flow like the water of the ocean, beckoning and soothing as though it is calling you by name. Yes, poetic describes it perfectly. šŸ™‚

    • dmmacilroy April 22, 2012 at 11:13 am #

      Hi Poetry girl!

      Thanks for dropping in and leaving joy in your wake.



  21. Brandon Scott April 21, 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    You painted the scene beautifully, Doug. Even though he isn’t planning on coming back, there is still a rather calm feeling about the piece. I agree with the others, poetic is a great word to describe this story. Great work, as always.

  22. erinleary April 21, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    Rich with poetry, comforting and compelling. I can feel the draw to be a part of that place.

    Mine, late as it is, is here:

    • dmmacilroy April 22, 2012 at 11:17 am #

      Dear Erin,

      Interesting contrast between your piece and mine this week. One tortured by the water and one at peace because of it.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.



  23. Sheila April 22, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    I love this. The imagery was amazing, I could see the water of the sea as I read it.

    • dmmacilroy April 22, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      Dear Sheila,

      Thanks for visiting and commenting. I look forward to reading more of your work. See you next Friday, I hope.



  24. kbnelson April 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    I must say that I was expecting something a bit more depressing, but you made the “endless sea” seem inviting and natural for the end of a life. I especially liked the phrase “the measured pulse of the great heart of the ocean”. Just lovely.

    • dmmacilroy April 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

      Dear Karen,

      Thank you for stopping in to read and comment. The MC isn’t going to go gently, or by his own hand, unless his decision to spend his remaining days at sea counts in that regard. He goes well prepared for a long stay, committed to the effort to truly ‘live’ until he dies. Along the way he relearns some valuable lessons and finds peace in the process and in the place. He loves the ocean, so no depression for him and none for the reader.

      (I’ve missed you. Welcome back.)



  25. glossarch April 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    I like the meditative nature of this piece. It reminds me of Chapter 6 of Kate Chopin’s “The Awakening”. Here’s the quote:

    The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in a maze of inward contemplation.
    The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.

    • dmmacilroy April 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

      Dear Danny,

      Thanks for the quote. I’m going to check out Ms. Chopin’s book based on that paragraph. Thanks also for comparing my passage to hers. You’ve got me chopping in tall cotton.



  26. WhitneyCarter April 22, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    I like the way you symbolize the sea, Doug. Reading it all the way through, I come away with a sense of despiration. At the same time, bearing in mind your note about it being the intro of a longer piece, I feel like it can have two focuses: the narrator or the sea itself. As always, beautiful work.

    • dmmacilroy April 23, 2012 at 5:07 am #

      Dear Whitney,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Though my MC feels he is near the end of his life, and has chosen to be at sea for the final act, he in no way wants to end it himself. Rather, he choses to return to the one place on the planet that accepts him for who and what he is. The sea waits for us all, but not many people realize it. This guy does and is happiest out there in the vastness, one with it all.



  27. Madison Woods April 22, 2012 at 9:26 pm #

    I liked that you conjured the ocean from a drop of water, but even more I like the endless cycle water travels. Your love for the deep comes through in everything you write. I did not find it all that cryptic, though.

    • dmmacilroy April 23, 2012 at 5:12 am #

      Hi Madison,

      Do you ever feel as though you’ve created a monster? FridayFictioneers is growing! “It is ALIVEEEEEE!”

      My story was only cryptic in that it diverged greatly from the prompt. You really confounded me this time. Water torture of the Madison Woods variety.



  28. tedstrutz April 22, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    Made me think of The Old Man and the Sea for a second, Doug. Nice.

    • tedstrutz April 22, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

      I just read your forward… guess you got your point across.

      • dmmacilroy April 23, 2012 at 5:15 am #

        Dear Ted,

        It’s a pleasure seeing you here. Thanks for reading. Old Man and the Sea. Wow. Good company, that bearded fellow and I. One can hope.



      • tedstrutz April 23, 2012 at 5:38 am #

        You have more than just beards in common, I think.

  29. Brooke Ryter April 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    Beautiful, peaceful, well done!!

    • dmmacilroy April 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

      Thanks Brooke,

      I appreciate you reading and commenting.



  30. Michael Fishman April 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    This was a gentle and passionate description of what I think is a person’s passage between this world and the next. Very lyrical and almost floats like the waters you talk about. The image I had while reading this was of a dead Viking floating to sea on a raft.

    • dmmacilroy April 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

      Dear Michael,

      Thanks. Hadn’t thought of the dead Viking aspect of this story. Interesting.



  31. Stacey April 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    Definitely want to know more about “The One Sea” ā€” excellent imagery šŸ™‚

  32. Parul April 27, 2012 at 5:44 pm #


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