Thursday, November 6, 2008

Grace (published in Six Sentences)

The sand felt warm, the way it usually was on Saturday afternoons in Seaside Heights; face down on the beach under a hot July sun that burned my back and shoulders while Jenny was getting cheese fries and Cokes from the boardwalk concession stand. Later we would jump the waves, venturing farther from shore until the life guards motioned us back, their shrill whistles straining above the roar of the surf and the cacophony of voices that filled the air - ready to save us if we needed help. As the waves rolled into our bodies she would squeeze her arms around my neck and try to drag me under but I could always kick free, riding the wave to the beach and tumbling out of the water with my stomach red, raw, and bleeding from the shells and pebbles that tore my skin and filled the waistband of my trunks; the water would surge forward over the chairs and towels of people too close to the tide line, sending them in a frantic scramble towards drier ground before pulling back with the empty cans, baggies filled with left-over snacks, and cheap plastic toys that had been left behind. Later Jenny would shiver as she held me close on the blanket, towels wrapped around our shoulders, her lips cold, salty, and wet as they pressed against mine, and the warmth we shared would spread throughout my body and stay with me on the drive home. I could feel that warm sand under my face as I opened my eyes in an unfamiliar expanse of desert, just north of Tikrit - a world away from New Jersey and the cool waves of the ocean; the ground was wet with the blood that poured from the gaping hole in my stomach and the mangled pieces of flesh and bone that had once been my legs. I heard the voices of the soldiers around me, the fear and panic in their screams as they tried to help, and felt the searing wave of heat and pain that swept over me - I closed my eyes and wanted only to be home again.

5 comments:

Flash Fiction Fiend said...

This is wonderful.

taralazar said...

Heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time. Glad to see you in the blogosphere now. Did you enjoy "Bad Haircut?"

Glen Binger said...

Thanks for the fellow NJ shore kind words.

Always good to find someone else who reps the shore.

Anonymous said...

Excellent - hard-hitting stories that really rock.

Anonymous said...

peggy said...
Well done, Kevin.

Sunday, May 11, 2008 3:10:00 PM EDT


Anonymous said...
Kevin - this was a very powerful 6S - what an ending!
Many summer days have I spend feeling the warmth of that sand, from Sandy Hook all the way down to Stone Harbor. You have to live it to know the beauty and smells of the Jersey shore - pure heaven. The juxtaposition of the two beaches is heartbreaking.
caccy46
Caroline Wells

Sunday, May 11, 2008 3:44:00 PM EDT


Anonymous said...
Fantastic 6! Strong and powerful.

Sunday, May 11, 2008 3:56:00 PM EDT


Joe said...
Astounding and a breakthrough in your writing, I think. Not only can I feel everything but I can picture it as well. As good a shocking read at the end as Bierce's An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. Just was not expecting that. Great, wonderful imagery.

Monday, May 12, 2008 12:59:00 AM EDT


Adam J. Whitlatch said...
A phenomenal Six that not only engages, but ENSNARES the senses.

Well done, my friend.

Monday, May 12, 2008 11:04:00 AM EDT


In Search of Hemingway said...
Tough. Visual. Heart-breaking at the end. It belongs with the best on Six Sentences.

Monday, May 12, 2008 11:22:00 AM EDT


Linda said...
This was gorgeous. The ending made me sob. Peace, Linda

Monday, May 12, 2008 1:33:00 PM EDT


Catherine said...
W O W - Amazing Six!

Monday, May 12, 2008 2:11:00 PM EDT


Anonymous said...
An excellent six!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 4:29:00 PM EDT