The Odyssey

Blanche loved to walk along the beach at this time of the day.  If the tide was in she would slog through the water, typically just up to her ankles; sometimes she would wade in up to her knees. The sun would be setting and she would watch in anticipation of the day’s end and its fresh painting on Earth’s celestial canvas.  This evening the sky was a remarkable sight: deep hues of red and orange; streaks and billows of gray clouds filling half the canvas, and the sun a yellow disc at the Earth’s horizon.

Red sky at night, sailors delight
Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning…

He was hiding in the tall grass.  She was looking up and marveling at the composition of textures and colors.  He sprang up and ran towards her, grabbed her at the waist. Blanche screamed in terror. He was yelling something but she couldn’t hear him over her screaming.  Finally, he put his hand over her mouth and spoke to her.  She stopped struggling and screaming and he removed his hand from her mouth and thrust the dagger under her breast, between the ribs straight to her heart.  Death took Blanche by surprise. The killer picked up her body and waded into the surf up to his chest and pushed her body under the gloomy water.

Back on the beach, he made sure her shoes and cell phone were not in plain sight.  He figured she wouldn’t be missed for at least 24 hours.  That would give him plenty of time for the other one.

Her lungs felt as though they would explode . She had to find the surface.  Her one good arm above her head was reaching toward what she hoped was the surface.  She was about to let the water into her lungs when suddenly and unexpectedly she was breathing air.  There was intense pain and her breathing was ragged.  Every cough brought stabbing pain.  She reassured herself that at least she was alive, but Blanche knew the danger of being in the ocean with a bleeding wound.  Soon there would be sharks.  Coughing, and cringing from the pain, she inhaled all the air she could and side-stroked towards the lights on shore.  With each stroke she prayed for the strength to make it back.

Blanche was exhausted . She floated on her back and cried.  She was trying so hard to live yet she knew the odds were against her.  Suddenly Blanche was coughing up salt water.  She must have passed out again.  Her body was in survival mode, waking her when she was near the point of drowning.  But she was so tired and the pain–she prayed for some relief.  Her thoughts kept roaming to that place in her mind where she could easily let herself drown.  A place where the agony would end.  Then Blanche went to that place where near death and uncertainty meet–she bargained with God, making promises she knew she would not keep, in exchange for her life.

Then Blanche felt it.  Her foot touched something.  She began screaming.  She was so terrified that she would be eaten alive by a shark that she didn’t realize her foot had touched bottom.  The surf carried her to shore, where she lay, thanking God.  Her mind began drifting.  She heard distant voices–a woman.  Was that momma coming for her?  Blanche thought how good it would be to see momma again…

It wasn’t Blanche’s dead mother calling her. It was a Detective from Cape Cod’s Police Department, who was waiting for her to regain consciousness after her surgery.  The Detective sat at Blanche’s bedside.  He was amazed that the young woman had survived.   Any other person would be dead from the stabbing.  Blanche had some long medical name for her heart being on the right side of her chest, dextrocardia situs inversus, not where the blade went in.   Then to swim back to shore so badly wounded!   The Detective spoke to Blanche about the person who tried to kill her.  Blanche didn’t want to open her eyes.  She was too tired to remember, but the Detective was persuasive and helped Blanche picture the face of the man who sent her on her odyssey that night.

She opened her eyes and screamed…

Once More with Feeling #17  @ Cognitive Reflection
Photo Prompt:  Credit Unknown Source
Word Count:  715



When I was a kid I wanted to be an "atomic" scientist. Not anything my mother expected of me. Well, I became a scientist, just not an atomic one.

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Posted in fiction, horror, murder, Once More with Feeling
10 comments on “The Odyssey
  1. Doobster418 says:

    Damn. I looked at this picture and all that came to mind was “red sky in the morning, sailors take warning; red sky at night, sailors delight.” I was going to incorporate that into my story, but then I read this post and saw that you beat me to it. Oh well. I think I’ll pass on this one this week.

    Nice story, as usual. And a little weird, too. As usual.

    • Lucy says:

      You can still use the saying, Doobster. I didn’t use it as the title. Come on. Give me a murder or zombie attack or which is what I originally planned, an accident at sea based on the saying. Come on. Don’t give in to the void. Join us. You thought my story was weird? I almost had a French private detective in it who reminded me of Poirot. Lucy

  2. Doobster418 says:

    Well, I’ll see. It’s a pretty picture and I’m sure, if I put my mind to it, I could come up with decent short piece. But I don’t know about a zombie attack.

  3. moi says:

    I was confused initially when you said that death had caught her by surprise and then she was struggling underwater, but then you mentioned the heart thing, a great twist. I wonder if the detective was the “killer” and her scream at the end was because she recognised him.

    • Lucy says:

      I wasn’t going to keep the line in “death had caught her by surprise” because I thought it would be confusing. I can remove the line. What do you think? Yes, I saw the detective as the killer. But, she was a “screamer”. I wanted to leave it up to the reader. I wanted to show a woman who fought to live and then an ironic ending. Lucy

      • moi says:

        Not sure, go with how you feel on it. I found it confusing at the time, but at the end I understood.

  4. Kate Loveton says:

    Terrific twist at the end, Lucy. You always respect the intelligence of the reader in that you don’t beat them over the head with the obvious; even so, you always lead us to the correct conclusion. That takes great skill.

    How chilling that the detective was the would-be killer! Totally surprised me.

    • Lucy says:

      Hey, Kate. Aw, gosh, Kate, you’re too kind to me. It totally surprised me, too, that the killer was the detective. He was initially a she and she didn’t do much in the story.It was too boring so I changed it.. I thank you for the great review. I just finished writing a murder mystery but I’m not sure I like it. I’ll let it sit over night and see how I like it tomorrow.. Or not. Thanks again, Kate. Lucy

  5. […] to those that entered last time. Lucy […]

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© [Lucy Conrad] and [Sapient Chronicles], [2015-2016]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [Lucy Conrad] and [Sapient Chronicles] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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