LISP 4th Quarter 2020 Flash Fiction Winner, Georgia Cook by 'All The Ghosts In The Ocean'
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All The Ghosts In The Ocean
“What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen?” I asked him. “Out on the water, late at night. I bet you’ve got some real ghost stories.”
He stared at me through the cigar smoke. He was old by then, but lean and roped with muscle. His face was a mask of wrinkles, his eyes like two misty grey pearls. He’d been a fisherman for over seventy years.
“The seas don’t have ghosts, my lad,” he said. “Too cold. Too deep. They sink to the bottom and get tangled in your nets. Or they drift up on the surface and attract gulls. No, no ghosts. None like what you’re picturing.”
I laughed, because it was late and the beer was good. And because I wasn’t sure whether he was joking or not.
“That’s a good image. You should write that down.”
He shook his head.
“I’ve been on the sea since I was a boy,” he said. “Feels wrong now, being on land. Almost can’t bear it. You lose parts of yourself out there, lad. When the wind chill slices through your oilskin and the night stretches on forever. The sea eats you, piece by piece, until there’s nothing left that wants to come back,” he took a drink. “When I’m gone, you’ll find an entire other Me out there, floating over the waves. Made up of all the parts I lost. And, you know, I couldn’t for the life of me say which one of us is the ghost.”