tagChain StoriesF3 The Green Flash

F3 The Green Flash


(Author's note: This story is an entry into the third Friendly Anonymous Writing Challenge (FAWC). The true author of this story will be kept secret until Wednesday, November 20, 2013, when the author will be revealed in the comments section following this story. There are no prizes awarded during FAWC; this is simply a friendly competition.)

(Inspiration for this and all FAWC 3 stories was taken from a single picture, which can be found here

(The tags for this story are FAWC, incest, brother /sister, Maldive islands, bungalows, tsunami, swimming, traveling, romantic, green flash)

* * * *

The bright red bathing suit draws my eyes back to my sister, swimming in the crystal clear waters. Looking from the photo to the real thing I can not see that ten years passing as affected her much. Those few passages around the sun have meant little to her beautiful face or body. However, other things than time have taken their toll upon her. In ways that don't show, at least not to those just meeting her. She still smiles and laughs but there is a inner shadow of sorrow that only those who knew her before... before the waves came, can see.

Asleep in the seat next to me, even I don't see the inner damages that years of therapy and pills have patched with emotionally thin plaster. They hide only behind those blue-gray eyes. But even when dreaming, as she is now, I can see that there is an edginess to her. Her eyes snap open when she feels my gaze lingering on her. Patrica, looks at me with uncertainly slowly fading. She swallows, then forces a smile.

"Are we there yet?"

The question heard so often on trips like this one when we were children, makes me smile.


She nods, looks past me out the window for a moment, then begins to fold up her blanket. The stewardess seeing this, comes to take it.

"We'll be landing soon, " she tells us unnecessarily.

"Thank you."

I can hear the nervous tension in my sister voice. Patrica is trying to keep the tears in check, but she's been doing that since I called her three days ago. It's begun to fray her nerves. The emotional explosion I was expecting at the announcement didn't come to pass, but I can see that the brutal memories have turned and turned in her mind, tearing her to shreds. I saw the medications nearly leaking out her eyes when we met at the airport. My sister is just holding it together.

But then... so am I. The empty glass I hand the stewardess still reeks of vodka fumes.

My sister isn't the only one to have undergone psychiatric care to get back into mental balance. She simply had needed a lot more of it than I did. Years more care need to heal, destroyed in moments by a phone call. So simple a thing as a phone call has her falling back into her meds for comfort.

As the passengers around us start getting ready to land I spend my angst by looking out the window. Watching the water turn into small coral surrounded islands. Some hardly big enough to park a boat on. Then the rows of raised bungalows start to appear. I have to look away. That I will soon be staying on one of those again is beyond imagining. Memories both wonderful and terrible come rushing at me as I slide the window shade down. I try to focus on the ones that don't involve running in terror so I find myself thinking of my friend, Eazier.

At first our local guide, while we were first staying here, he became so much more than that... in those horror filled days that followed. Even more so in the years that have followed. He and I have kept in touch by phone and computer over the nine years since my sister and I left the island.

But that tear filled goodby cannot even begin to rival the tears that I shed when I got his phone call three days ago.

"Your mother is alive," he had told me softly. "She is here."

Six words. Just six. Six words that started so mad a dash across the world. My sister and I were on a plane within hours, with hardly a travel bag to our names. Eazier promised us a bungalow to stay in for free. Being the manager of the ClubMed Kani has it privileges.

Unlike being a B-movie actor and failing screen writer. I had to loan the money for the plane tickets from my life insurance. Feeling the plane banking I open my case and drop the old photo into it, the image sliding down my most recent attempt at a screen play.

"Selling anything?" she asks.

"A couple of pieces. Nothing spectacular yet," I shrug. "The acting's paying better."

"Then why continue writing?" she asks as she snaps her seat-belt together. I can see that she's wanting to talk to keep from crying... or screaming... or both.

"It's still a pay check, and sometimes it's a bit more steady."

"I saw your movie. You're looking good," she smiles.

Chuckling I shake my head. "It was a bit part."

"But it was a big movie. Did you get to met some of the famous names?" She giggles, knowing my loathing for the Hollywood names dropping types.

"A few," I hedge with a grin. "I got you a couple of autographs."


"Not telling," I chuckle at the look she gives me. She's about to demand an answer when the pilot comes on announcing the landing we all know were about to be making. It's funny the pilot is probably from India... but sounds like he's from somewhere in Texas. But then I think that must be part of flight training world wide.

Traveling with our dad through out our childhood my sister and I have landed in some strange airports. Some of them down right scary, but the short runway at Malé International Airport on Hulhulé is more than scary. The pilot has to hit full reverse even as his wheels at touching down, then the breaks can only just manage to stop the plane before it reaches the end. All I can say is I'm glad I don't have to watch the water coming at me, like a growing blue line, from the cockpit.

Our small bags in hand we leave the plane and start towards customs. At the end of the concourse I see Eazier. He gives us a huge smile, then throws open his arms. Rushing forward I almost knock us both down as I wrap him in a hard hug. He returns it equally.

"Corbin! Hello, my friend. It does my eyes good to see you," as I turn him loose he turns to Patrica. "but you my beautiful, Tracia. You are a wonder to the heart!"

With her eyes gleaming my sister steps into his hug.

"It is so good to see you, Eazier. And how is Sori?" she asks.

Eazier's smile could make the sun envious.

"She is as ever, the Joy of my life. She would be here to meet you as well but our youngest had to go to the doctor," he waves off the concern. "She is fine. Bumps and bruises like any child will get... but Sori can not help but be a mother and worry."

Patrica nods, but her smile slowly fades.

"Our Mom?" I ask.

Eazier, sighs.

"She is here. She arrived five days ago. She is with a man. A much younger man if my eyes are not being liar." he pauses for a second. "They are both wearing rings."

* * * * * *

The bungalows are as I remember them from before... before the waves came. Beautifully built out on long piers that stretch into the clear waters of the shallow tidal shoal. They run out hundreds of feet from shore, like giants palm fronds. Each 'leaf' capped with a hut built to look like the ones the natives use to live in, but with all the modern conveniences. The waters surrounding them are as crystal clear as memory and photos showed them to be.

I barely notice them.

Patrica is numb. I'm not much better.

Entering the large open room I let my bag drop to the bed. Uncaring, I stumble past the wonderfully crafted furnishings. They could be cheep plastic for all that I see of them.

The Laccadive Sea, stretches out before my eyes a clear, clean, brilliant blue. Like white chunks of ice the other islands stand up from the water. Some topped with a bit of green. Most have the same long 'fronds' of bungalows like this one. Looking down, into the water, I can see fish swimming by. The water is so clear they look almost like birds flying.

I hardly see any of it really.



"What are we going to do?" She steps up next to me, then hugs herself tightly. "I use to love this view."

Reaching over, I wrap Patrica into my arms and pull her close. She turns and buries her head against my chest. I can feel her shivering in fear against me. I wonder just which of the many sources is causing it but decide that doesn't matter. What causes the fear doesn't need to be understood to offer a strong hug to chase it away. After a moment I take a deep breath and try to answer her.

"We are going to go see her," I bury my face in her hair. The vanilla smell of her perfume is at odds with the faint flowery scent of her shampoo. "We'll figure all this out, together."

"What if she doesn't want to see us? She's married again, Corbin." Patrica holds tighter to my chest. I feel her start to shake.

"I don't care. She owes us at least an explanation. Why didn't she come home? Where the hell has she been?" I lean back and lift my sister chin till she looks me in the eyes. "She's our mother. We at least deserve that much."

I hold my sister to my chest as she starts to cry. First gentle sobs, then soul tearing grief filled tears, heavy with a decade of anguish. I don't try to quiet her tears. I even shed a few of my own. Resting my cheek on her head I watch the sparkle of the setting sun on the waves. Old memories, nice ones, of watching the sunsets here come back to me then. Every sunset was more beautiful than the last, to my younger eyes. Watching this one through my tears I have to say that hasn't changed.

When I feel her tears end I kiss the top of her head and loosen my arms a bit. Looking down at her face I see her look over her shoulder to face the sun. I watch her features turn to gold before my eyes in the fading light.

"The sunset is so beautiful," she says softly after a moment.

Patrica turns in my arms and rest her back against my chest. I hold her tighter again me and together we watch the last of the brilliant bands of red and azure turning to deeper purples, and midnight blues. Then as the sun sinks under the waves the sky turns a million shades of color, they glow from the water like it has caught fire from the heat of the sun.

"Did you see that?" she asks suddenly.

"See what?" I ask startled.

"The sky flashed green. Just as the sun disappeared."

Shaking my head, I chuckle. "You've been watching too many Johnny Depp movies."

"Ah! Your one to talk! Who got to act with him?" She moves a bit and I let her go. She turns to look at me in the slowly growing darkness.

"It was a couple of lines and half of them ended up cut out." I take her hands and looking down at her smiling face, grin back. "I'm hungry."

"Hello hungry. I'm sleepy," she tries to smile even as she starts to yawn. "I'm going to go lay down, bring me back something."

She starts to move away, but I catch her and pull her back. Stepping towards her, I hug her again just as hard as before.

"I love you. Get some sleep," I tell her softly.

She looks up at me after a moment.

"I love you too." Leaning back into the hug she kisses the side of my neck. "Enjoy your dinner and don't forget about me something."

* * * * * *

Moving quietly, least I wake her, I walk out to one of the hammock patios. Laying down I let my beer rest on my stomach as I lean back and look up at the stars.

The heavens are alive above me with thousands of clusters of twinkling lights. The massive river of the Milky Way slips the sky from horizon to horizon. The beauty of it dwarfed only by the rising crescent moon. Like a scythe of ice, its rising from out of the waves reaps the light of the stars from the sky. As I watch, my eyes growing heavier with every moment and sip of beer, I start to drift off to sleep.

A gasp and a soft cry startles me awake. Sitting up I look into the dark bungalow. Patrica is sitting up in the bed, the sheet clutched hard in her hands.

"You okay?"

She pauses for a moment then nods.

"Bad dream?" I ask softly.


I pat the soft cushion next to me. "Come here."

Bringing the sheet, wrapped tight around her, my sister makes her way out to join me. As she lays down she spreads the soft white sheet over the two of us. She cuddles in close to my side.

"Just like when we were kids," I say with a smile.

"Mmhum," she wiggles in tighter. "It's what big brothers are for."

Putting my arm around her, I feel the soft skin of her shoulder and the softer silk of her nighty under my hand. She lays her head into my chest and gives me a little hug. After a moment, I see she is looking up at the stars.

"Where is Scorpio?" she asks softly.

"Your sign is to far north to be seen here. These are all southern stars," I tell her.

"Oh yeah, that whole silly round Earth thing." She turns her face into my chest, her hand massaging my chest. "I miss Dad."

"I do too," I say with a sigh. "Being here kind of brings it all back."


Holding tight to each other, we watch the stars as they wheel and dance across the sky above. A few at first then more or them begin to fall. Shooting star, after shooting star flames across the sky. I turn to ask her if she saw them, but see that she has fallen asleep, her head pillowed on my chest.

It's not long before I join her in the land of dreams. With her at my side mine are pleasant for the first time in days.

* * * * * *

A soft shake of my shoulder wakes me. My eyes open then squint as the pale light of the coming dawn hits them. Turning my head I look past my sister to the glorious play of color begins to brighten the sky. As the sun rises above the sea she moves her head and is haloed by it's golden light. When she smiles at me it's like and angel given form.

"Good morning," she says softly.

"What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East and ... Patrica... is the sun," I say with a smile looking at her beautiful eyes. The medicated haze of the previous days is absent from them.

With a blushing smile she reaches up and smooths back my hair. Then she frowns and tries to do it again.

"You, have hammock hair," she tells me with a giggle.

"Well, I know how to fix that." Rolling quickly over the top of her I catch her arms and tumble us both, with her screaming, off the padded cushion and into the warm salty water. The rush of bubbles past my face, the near hot tub level warmth of the water, and the sudden shock of it all wake me fully. Then, as I surface, I get hit in the face with a splash of water.


Laughing, I shake the water out my hair as I tread water. I catch her elbow as she starts to swim away.

"I had to figure some way to get you into the water. You use to love swimming here." I move till I'm swimming right in front of her face. Her eye lashes sparkle with droplets of water, they glow silvery white in the dawns light.

"You mean before we nearly drowned here?" she asks.

"Yeah," I look deep into her eyes. "Doesn't the water feel wonderfully warm?"

She swims silently for several moments then looks up at me. Slowly a smile appears.

"Yeah, it does feel good. I just wish I was in a a bathing suit, not a nighty!"

I laugh till she splashes me again.

"You didn't bring a bathing suit. Come on swim with me." I float up onto my back and backstroke away from her. After a moment she joins me. She slices through the water with far greater ease than I can manage. The years on the swim teams coming back to her as muscles remember their old skills. Skills that saved my life a decade ago. I wonder, as I swim next to her, if she has been in the water even once since that day.

The warm waters of the salty sea both hold us up and help sooth tangles nerves. The change in her is marvelous to see. I see it helping to slowly put to right what therapy and pills could not cure alone. I see a joy returning to her face that has been long missing. From the smile she has when she looks at me I must be undergoing a similar healing.

Slowly, hunger and the long hours of travel begin to wear on us again. We swim to the wooden ladder by our cabin.

"Go up and get us some towels," she says after pausing to hang on the ladder.

"Why me?"

"Because I'm the one in a silk nighty, you ass," she points "Up!"

With a moan for aching muscles I pull myself up the ladder, gallons of water pouring out of the cotton 'board' shorts I layed down to sleep in last night.

"White is see though," she says giggling.

Sousing water off my arms, I shake my head and go to get us some towels. As I come walking back with one around my neck and one for her I see her climb her way up out the water. The pale blue nighty clings to her body like a wet second skin.

"Corbin? Corbin!"

"Oh, sorry. I think you win the wet T-shirt contest." I hold out to her a towel but can't help but look. As she reaches for it I pull it back and look her up and down again. "Damn."

"Humph! Give me the damn towel already!"

Chuckling, I hand it to her. After a second she stops drying herself and looks up at me still looking at her.

"Would you please turn around?" she asks holding the towel in front of her body.

Grinning, I turn.

"Perv," she mutters.

"I can't help it that my sister is beautiful to look at," I say before I can stop myself. There is a moment of silence then I hear a soft whisper.

"Thank you."

* * * * * *

It should take more than a few minutes stroll to reach such a life changing moment, but that was all it took.

Eazier pointed out the hotel where our Mother was staying. He said he had seen her in the restaurant for nearly every meal. Her and the man she was with.

With me holding Patrica's trembling hand we walked the short half mile. The many sights and sounds, that would normally attract the attention of two young tourist, all but went unnoticed by us. I didn't see the beautifully landscaped surround that the hotel must pay a fortune to keep that nice. The passing groups of young ladies, in bikinis, don't even catch my eye.

The hotel's restaurant, like almost everything on the island, faces the sea. We enter from the lobby side entrance.

I know her even though she is looking away from us. There is a youngish looking man at the table with her. He is laughing at something she said. Smiling her reaches across the table to take her hand. The sparkle, from the diamond ring on her finger, catches the light. He looks up as we cross the room with his table our clear intent.

Patrica's fingers tighten on mine.

The man looks at us curiously, but smiles as we come to a stop, just a few feet away. I judge him to be maybe ten years older than me.

Looking at the back of her head I try to find my voice. I want to udder so simple a word. Just three letters. I should be able to say those two M's and an 'O' together so easily, but that word connected to anyone has been lost from my speech for nearly a decade. I can't make my mouth form the word, no matter how hard I try. Looking over, I see Patrica is having the same trouble.

"Can I help you two?" he asks after a moment of us just standing there looking at their table.

She turns to see who he is talking to. Her face blanches white even as her hand drops her glass to spill upon the table. Her hands, trembling, come to her face and cover her mouth.


With a scream she jumps to her feet, knocking her chair over in her hurry to get away from us. The young man, clearly confused, gets to his feet and places himself between us and her. Mom has retreated till her back is against the large glass windows.

"What's going on here?" the man demands of me.

Looking past him I make eye contact with my Mom. Her hands are still covering her mouth holding in the screams she wants to be making. I can see that she is all but hyperventilating.

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