The Stones on the Shore
A flash fiction inquiry into the unknown
Tendrils of fog crept down the mountain, slid over the chill surface of Ipasha Lake, and penetrated the forest beyond. Sky, water, rock, and foliage grayed at its touch. Crouching on a slip of granite at the water’s edge, Shawna Givens tightened her coat against the fog’s chill fingers. She peered across the lake, imagining shadows breaking its surface.
It was out there.
Before her, two small cairns marked her previous sighting. Just last week she had watched, eased the stones from her pocket, and built the cairns to frame the sleek black form across the water. If she focused one eye dead center between them, she could almost see it again.
Shawna stood and moved on, circling the lake clockwise, passing slow and silent, a mountain lion stalking her prey. More stones weighed down her right coat pocket, just in case. A notebook slumbered in her left, remembering dates, times, locations, and distances, concealing the secret she ached to discover: where and when the creature would next appear.
A quarter of a mile on, she paused on a broken shelf of rimed rock. Thickening fog obscured the shore ahead and behind. Above, an unseen eagle cried while wind stirred the trees. Something clattered along the forest floor. Out in the lake, water splashed.
She willed her eyes to pierce the fog.
Before her, a fountain of black ink erupted from the lake and jetted into the sky.
Shawna Givens looked up in awe as frigid rain pelted her face.
“The Stones on the Shore” originally appeared in the Indies Unlimited flash fiction competition, September 22, 2018. I’ve also written a longer version which you can read at Lit Up.
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