I came across a site I quite like, and the fellow over there is having a flash fiction writing challenge–a fairy tale upgrade in less than 1,000 words. The site is terribleminds.
The fairy tale upgrade is this.
There are other fish in the sea and June Mintz is a fish that keeps getting reeled in. She tells herself to swim on by, to ignore the bait, but there is a weakness in heart that makes her bite.
Trent O’Connor lives to sail the sea of love and he is not a man who throws fish back. He has a smile that charms, but that is not what catches June the first time. He looks at her and says things like, “Tell me about that.” He says, “That must have been hard for you.” He says, “You’re a strong person to have gone through all your problems and survived.”
June believes the things he says means he cares. She thinks he is interested in where she has been and where she is going. She hopes that she is going into his arms and into his heart. But these are not the places he wants her to go.
Trent sees the harm he causes no more than a fisherman sees the blood on a hook. He notices, but he forgets. He says he remembers the important things.
This summer is long and hot. No breeze stirs the water. June stands on the pier and looks at the shadows of fish darting under the surface. Trent is talking to another girl back on the grass. The girl is pretty and young, shining in the heat.
The water shows the empty blue sky. June sips her wine and tries to remember why she accepted this party invitation. What fish has ever caught a fisherman?
She wonders how the ocean would feel on her skin. The girl’s laughter drifts over the grass and out over the water. The hot air is hard to breathe. June thinks about how there are so many fishermen in the world with nets and hooks. Every breath gets harder standing on the pier.
Trent is watching the shimmer of the girl’s hair, when the hostess taps him on the shoulder. “Have you seen June?” she asks.
“June? Oh. She’s on the pier.”
“No. Her glass is on the pier. And her purse. But I can’t find her anywhere.”
Trent, the girl, and the hostess walk onto the pier. They stare at the water. Something splashes off in the distance. “Look,” says the girl. “Did you see that fish?”
“I didn’t think there were any fish that size this close to shore,” the hostess said.
“Maybe it’s a mermaid,” Trent said. “I’d sell my soul to catch one of those.”