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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Gone Fishing (02/01/07)

TITLE: Just One
By Pat Guy


That’s when she saw him – on her rock, the one that jutted out the furthest into the sea. Her rock.

He turned at the crunch of her sandals, and that’s when she saw the most beautiful Cajun eyes looking her up and down like she … yes she, was the intruder. Of all things! This boy, who couldn’t be more than 10 yrs of age, scowled a kaleidoscope of gold and browns directed at her from under a tattered ball cap. Yeah, you and whose army. I hope you’re wearing sunscreen on that beautiful bronzy brown skin of yours.

She thought she’d try to soften this indignant child with some easygoing island humor, ‘Whatcha doin on my rock mon?’


“Soooo’s that pole. Catchin anything?”


“Ooookay, Baracuda botherin anybody today?”

“Nope.” He turned his attention back to fishing.

Well, that didn’t work.

She stood there like the intruder she was and settled on the rock closest to shore. The salt air never ceased to relax her with that fragrance of life at sea. The gentle laps of frothy ripples were lullabies that could always calm her woes – that’s why she was there … she needed calm. She sat and watched familiar marine life ebbing with the flow creating pools of activity – mesmerized.

But this boy, on her rock, was a distraction – or rather a curiosity. He was thin – too thin she noticed. Sweat glistened down his backbone. At least he has a cooler with him.

“You know, I’ve got some lobster traps I need to check. Wanna help? I really could use some help and I pay good – lobsters and money.”

His body stiffened, and the slope of his shoulders told her something … but she didn’t know what. He just stared out to sea.

“Have you ever been lobster trappin?”

In silence, they both watched a pelican diving to snatch its own fish – warm breezes carried essence of ripe Sea Grapes from bushes close by. Mmmmm … lovely! The boy’s hook began to bob – just pesky Needlefish nibbling a morsel. “Okay – see ya later then.”

“My dad.”

She stopped in mid stride, “What?”

“My dad took me trappin.”

“You said … took, does that mean he’s gone or somethin?”

“In Heaven. Been there since I was eight.”

“I’m sorry. What …”

“He liked the sea. Fishin, lobsterin an everythin. That’s why we’re never gonna move.” He turned and looked up at her, “You know anythin ‘bout Heaven … what’s it like?”

She looked into those curious golden flecks, but could think of nothing that would fit what this child really wanted to know.

“Didn’t think so … you goin there too sometime?”


Now the eyebrows reappeared like she should know what he’s talking about. “Heaven”

“Well … I … um … why you wanna know? I thought you could help me check my traps if you want.”

“My church says we’re suppose ta ask people if they’re goin ta Heaven … are ya? Besides, I left a note for my mom that I’d gone fishin. An anyway, you’re a stranger an I need to get permission – you’d have to meet my mom first.”

“That sounds good, why don’t you go see if she wants to meet me?” Anything to get away from this talk about Heaven! Sheesh! I came here to get AWAY from stress, not to find more!

The boy secured the hook, grabbed the cooler and scampered off – probably with visions of a good meal for that night.

“Tell her my name is Maddy.” She yelled after him.

He turned, flashing a quirky grin, “Okay.”

She maneuvered out to her rock and basked in all that was ‘sea,’ Mmmmm … peace and quiet …at last. Even the screech of sea gulls couldn’t stop the release of tension this place always brought to her.

How can that kid be so sure of himself? I can’t even say that about ME! No! Stop! No thinking! And Heaven …why did I have to …? No! No more thinking Maddy! Stop it! … ‘ You goin there too sometime?’

Shaking her head, she gave up and marveled at how just one child, and just one question could interrupt such luxurious peace.

Well now, I’ve got just one question to ask him and let’s see what Mr. ‘I know I’m going to Heaven but do you?’ will have to say.

She closed her eyes and welcomed a deep cleansing breath … Yes, and our rock will do just fine.


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This article has been read 1125 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Betty Castleberry02/08/07
This is awesome. From out of the mouth of babes, you know. The beach is my favorite vacation spot, and you took me there, easily. Very well done.
Sally Hanan02/08/07
I really liked this - the pace of the story, the setting, the conversation, your writing, the point. Very restful and sweet :)
Leigh MacKelvey02/08/07
If this is from whom I think it is, ( and you know it is!)
it just goes to show you are master of all syles of writing! Great job, once again!
Jan Ackerson 02/09/07
Wonderful characters, and I love the symbolism of the rock. I'm glad you didn't give us Maddy's back story, but just let her spirit reveal itself to us through her words and thoughts. Superb!
william price02/10/07
Excellent writing, super characters with superb dialogue. Your experimenting with fiction is a success, as always, Pat. You have always been veery talented, but this year it seems like your writing has developed even more. Very smooth, confident and polished. God bless.
Venice Kichura02/10/07
This held my attention. Excellent dialogue & characterization...I loved the line...The gentle laps of frothy ripples were lullabies that could always calm her woes
Joanne Malley02/10/07
Well, I'd venture to say you'll be writing more fiction from now on, girl! Very nice storyline, characterization and descriptive language. My favorite line:..."skowled a kaleidescope of gold and browns directed at her from under a tattered baseball cap." Blessings, Jo
Sheri Gordon02/10/07
Your story was so peaceful, calming, and thought-provoking. And your characters were so real. I wanted to follow the little boy home to meet his family.
Laurie Glass 02/11/07
What a great story with a wonderful message. I could picture it all the way through.
Joanney Uthe02/11/07
I like how your MC came to this spot for peace and quiet, and found the real question that would bring her that peace. Great job.
terri tiffany02/12/07
Great writing!! I loved how you put us right there with such unique descriptions - loved the way you described his face. Very good!
Cheri Hardaway 02/13/07
Very engaging... And isn't that how we are supposed to be fishers of men? Just dangle that bait and let them wrestle with it while He reels them in! Blessings, Cheri
T. F. Chezum02/14/07
Excellent work. I liked this story a lot. Great job.
Betty Castleberry06/24/08
Beautiful descriptions. I said it before, but I have to say it again...I love the beach. I could see every detail. Excellent!
Seema Bagai 06/24/08
Beautiful details in this piece. Looks like the start of a friendship. Hope you'll continue the story.
Sherry Castelluccio 06/24/08
Any story about the ocean scores big with me. I liked the innocence in the little boy and the annoyance in Maddie. I'll bet she didn't get much peace at the beach after that conversation. Great story. Now I wish I was there.
Loren T. Lowery06/25/08
Lovely descriptions and I could see/taste/feel the sea air...it's easy to see your love for the ocean! I'm left wondering the question she want to ask of the boy, but your alluding to "our" rock seems to be a hint. And then of course is the great example the boy set for us all...simply ask, "are you going to heaven?" It can change a person's life forever. Just ask Maddie : ) Great job!
Joanne Sher 06/25/08
Great descriptions, darlin' - I was judging the week this was up, and it didn't take me long to "remember" the story - and that, I'm sure you know, is indicative of a strong story. Love this.
Gerald Shuler 06/25/08
I had to dry the sea spray from my face after reading this one. Excellent descriptions. Excellent characters. Excellent writing.
Catrina Bradley 06/25/08
You should do pure fiction more - you're very good! (no surprise there!) I love the characters, and the little pull to know more that this little boy instilled in your MC.
Cassie Memmer06/25/08
Nice characters! And the young shall lead them. You left us intrigued at the end, wondering how she got to that place in life, what she'd experienced, her trying to escape truth. You let the reader finish the story. your writing just flows. Very nice!