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It Was too Late

Story ID:9703
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Fiction
Location:Caldwell ID USA
Year:2014
Person:Contest Entry
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I entered in the Writer's Weekly 24-Hour Short Story Contest this weekend.

Here is the topic and word count I received. Below that is my entry.

I'm not sure if it is good enough to win, but I'm pretty sure I took it in a direction many others didn't. The judges don't like it when people go with the obvious. There always seems to be several obvious directions to go and many people submit similar stories. I hope I at least went in somewhere different.

It's hard to work with a deadline and limited word count. I like the challenge.

Here's the topic and my entry

TODAY'S TOPIC!

~~~~~

The sailboat was anchored just a few yards away
and the sun had set. With the campfire slowly
dying, and their bellies full of fresh fish, the
lovers decided to go skinny dipping. As they
descended, hand in hand, into the warm water,
he felt something slip around his ankle and
pull...hard.

~~~~~

WORD COUNT: Stories for today's topic must not exceed 900
words.

It Was Too Late

Rob and Bruce were ready for Friday night. They'd been college roommates
in Halifax, Nova Scotia for two years.
Dressed in jeans and the cleanest shirts they could find, they stood outside
a nightclub on Argyle Street – a hip part of the city.

Inside, loud music assaulted their ears. Young adults danced. Others yelled at
each other to be heard over the noise.

Bruce nudged Rob. "There's Rick!"

"What?"

"There's Rick."

Rob saw their friend. He was surrounded by friends they knew and a few they
didn't. The group shared shots of who-knew-what liquor.

Rob and Bruce fought their way through the crowd.

Bruce slapped Rick on the shoulder, "Having fun, buddy?"

Rick turned. "Hey, guys. Glad you're here."

Rob was distracted by a brunette laughing with their friends. Her blue eyes
reflected the lights of the nightclub. Her smile lighted the area.

"Rick, who's she?"

"Who?"

Rob pointed to a young lady laughing and gyrating to the music. "Her."

"Her? She's a transfer from Toronto. Her name is Susan. She finished her degree
there and came here to get her doctorate. Nice girl, but her constant laughter gets on my
nerves."

"I like a girl with sense of humor."

Rick laughed. "Then go for it, buddy."

Rob watched Susan.

The night wore on; the club was less crowded.

The band took a break. Susan was alone for the first time. Rob walked to her,
"Hi!"

She turned to him, a little unsteady on her feet. "Hi back." She giggled. "Do I
know you?"

"I'm with Rick." Rob hesitated. "I like the way you dance."

In spite of the alcohol, she knew this was a man she could like. His curly brown
hair and bright green eyes, full of laughter, attracted her.

The lights flashed to signal the closing of the bar.

Rob looked at Susan. He couldn't take advantage of a woman in her state, but he
did take a risk, "Susan. I know we just met, but could I call you sometime."

She staggered, giggled and said, "Sure!"

Susan scrawled her number on a napkin and handed it to him. "Hope to hear from
you soon."

Knowing her condition Rob waited until Sunday to call. "Susan?"

"Yes?"

"This is Rob. We met Friday night."

"Hey! I hoped you'd call."

"You remember me?"

"Of course I do. Why wouldn't I?"

"Well …you had a few too many drinks. I figured I'd just be a blur."

"Silly man! I didn't have that much to drink. I like to put on an act to see which
men are honorable."

"Really?"

"You didn't know women did that?"

"No."

"You have a lot to learn, Rob."

"OK, you got me." Rob struggled for the next words. "Susan, would you like to
get together?"

She didn't answer immediately. Rob waited …"Susan?"

Susan laughed. "I got ya! Of course I'll go out with you."

Rob sighed. "I have a small sailboat in Saint Margaret's Bay. Maybe we could
go for a sail next weekend?"

"I'd like that, Rob. Call me Friday. We'll plan for Saturday."

Rob smiled as he and Susan pulled away from his parent's pier. It was a sunny
day with a light breeze. He had a beautiful woman holding his arm.

They sailed and fished the bay for several hours. With a bucket full of mackerel,
Rob headed toward a small island.

The sailboat was anchored just a few yards away. The sun had set. With the
campfire slowly dying, and their bellies full of fresh fish and wine, the lovers decided to
go skinny dipping. As they descended, hand in hand, into the warm water, he felt
something slip around his ankle and pull...hard.

Rob fell face first into the water, untangled his feet, gasped for breath and
ran to shore. "Susan, there's something in the water. Get out of there!"

The moonlight reflected off her wet body. "Got ya!" She held up a length of
robe she buried in the sand during low tide.

Rob's heart pounded. "So that's the way it's going to be, is it? I can play pranks
too."

"You were so funny! I'm sorry, but you screamed like a little girl."

"I'll get you back."

"That a challenge?"

He laughed, "You got me this time. My turn next."

Their love bloomed. The pranks continued.

He called her, "Susan, I've been arrested. I need you to come to the police
station."

The police had no idea what she talked about. She returned home to find Rob
sipping a drink and laughing at her.

A week later, she jumped from a corner as he came out of the shower. He faked
a heart attack.

She ran to his side. "Rob …Rob, are you OK?"

He opened his eyes, winked and laughed. "Got ya!"

Susan slapped him. "You're mean!"

The pranks continued. They enjoyed the fun. Many would find them cruel, but
Susan and Rob enjoyed the game.

Rob served a meal of steak and mashed potatoes. Half way through the meal,
Susan tried to cough. Her face turned red. Her eyes widened and stared with panic at Rob..

"I'm not falling for it, Susan. You can stop pretending."

Susan's face went from red to blue.

"How long can you hold your breath, Susan? Good try though."

Susan, her eyes fixed on Rob, fell from her chair.

"Susan!"

It was too late.


Word Count: 893

Michael T. Smith