The Girl Who Surfed Tsunamis

Chuck Wendig had a challenge and while his challenge wasn’t, stop editing and write something new, mine was. The challenge was pick from a list of titles (The Girl Who Surfed Tsunamis) and then go forth and write 1,000 words.

I’ve been editing and working on writing related stuff so much I haven’t done anything just straight up out of whole cloth lately. So I took this challenge with gusto!

I’m posting here before I get all out of gusto and start feeling crummy about my work. Listen to the audio. (And for more audio tune into the podcast!)

Wave painting

Waves

The Girl Who Surfed Tsunamis

I don’t remember when I started, mom said I always loved to go out when we were absolutely not supposed to be outside. I’d sneak past everyone and head down to the water.

My older sisters were supposed to watch me and they’d get in trouble because I’d still sneak out. I didn’t care. I still don’t. I want to be in the water. I know when the water is angry, I can feel it coming.

I never get hurt, and I bring home cool stuff I find in the water. Once, I found a really shiny ring, it was hanging from a tree branch. Mom and dad sold it, they don’t complain about me going out anymore.

The best thing I found, was a surfboard. I didn’t take that home. Mom and dad would sell it. I’d seen people surfing, but they always got out of the water when it was getting angry. They were scared.

I wasn’t scared.

The surfboard was twice as tall as me and it was hard to get it out my hiding spot.

I giggled as I walked down toward the shore with the surfboard on my head, it was too big to carry under my arms. Mom said I shouldn’t laugh when the water got angry. But it was funny just like when grandfather got mad and his face got puffy and red.

I knew the water was bad for some people and for the fields. But mom got to be mad, and dad, and even my brothers and sisters could be angry sometimes. Because I was the littlest everyone just laughed when I got mad.

Most of the people were gone by the time I got all the way to the water. I tried to remember what I’d seen people do on the surfing movies. I laid down on the board in the water and slapped at the water. My arms barely stretched across the board and I couldn’t get them to go very well.

So I got off and pushed it in front of me and swam out as far as I could, kicking my legs behind me.

When I was out far enough that I couldn’t see my house up the hill anymore I pulled myself onto the board. I tried to stand up and fell. I had to try four more times before I managed to stand up and stay up. I looked around. There was no one else on the water. There was no one I could see on the shore.

The water was very angry. I giggled.

I wasn’t sure how to get further out into the water without laying down again, I managed to stand on the middle of the surfboard and kick one foot in the water but I didn’t go anywhere. I decided I’d just stand and wait for the big wave to come to me.

It would be here soon. I did a tiny little shuffle on the board and fell in again. By the time I managed to climb back up on the board and turned to face out, I could see the wave coming toward me.

I could hear the water, it was screaming mad. I screamed with it. It was good to scream sometimes when you were mad. Mom said I had to behave and be a good little girl, but it felt so good to scream. And no one was here to yell at me. I knew the water wouldn’t mind. So I screamed with the water.

It was so much louder than I was, I couldn’t even hear myself. The water under me started to bob up and down.

My feet slipped again and I dropped to my knees. The water was much higher. I thought it would be better maybe to lay down on the board. I slipped as the water moved faster around me and knocked my chin on the board, but I managed to wrap my hands around the sides and my toes hooked under the end just as the first wave pushed me way up into the air.

I screamed and squealed. I felt like the wave was as tall as my house.

The wave kept going but I stayed where I was, I couldn’t see my house or the shore at all. Then another bigger wave lifted me up. I squealed with excitement, I was definitely as tall as my house now.

I stayed on top of this wave. I held onto the board but pushed myself up a little bit more so I was kneeling on top of the giant wave. Shore was racing toward us. The water felt so angry I screamed for it.

The wave got smaller, maybe the water was angry that it got so tiny when it was on land.

I watched the wave eat some of the trees and the little hut that sold candy for kids and drinks for grown ups along the shore. I wondered how far it would climb. I looked behind me and there were no bigger waves.

The water wasn’t so angry any more. It was almost all screamed out. I was too. I wasn’t sure how to get off the wave. I tried to think about the surfing movies.

The water smashed me into a tree. And then it went away. I clung to the top of the tree, and tried to hold onto my board. I had to let the board fall, the water took it away.

I watched the next waves come in, less and less water, less and less angry. All yelled out. Then the water started to leave, go back home.

I climbed down the tree and looked around for the surfboard before everyone else came back out of their houses. It was gone. But I did find a new pair of shoes and a surfboard that was barely taller than me.

Entirely off topic

Searching for a picture to go with this that would be usable with the right license I managed to come up with lots of dudes surfing (even though I specifically searched for girl) and strangest of all…a how to avoid teen pregnancy ad. Not even like water, surfing, or anything related. Just some dude standing there with how to avoid teen pregnancy.

Um. Ok.

8 Comments

  1. Elizabeth

    Love this addition to the Flash Fiction Challenge. The way she screams with the water, feels its anger . . . I wonder if she has a bit of water elf in her 🙂

    Reply
    1. Mariah Avix

      Perhaps! 🙂

      The more I write, the more I think I really like a little ambiguity, especially in flash fiction. I want things to make sense…sort of. But if nothing is spelled out exactly and I have to guess? I like that. Reading and writing it.

      Reply
  2. Yigit Cakar

    I liked your take on the title and especially loved the way she screams. I think the story ended abruptly, I was ready to read more; how the water calmed, how her body ached from all the strain and how she carried the new board even though her arm broke when she hit the tree.

    Maybe the pregnancy ad’s vision was, don’t dive into her, dive into waters. Or maybe, handsome surfers are the number one cause of teenage pregnancy. I don’t know.

    I wish you best of luck with your editing.

    Reply
    1. Mariah Avix

      Endings are always hard, especially at 1K 🙂

      Handsome surfers maybe…it was very odd.
      Thank you!

      Reply
  3. Rebecca Douglass

    Nice story. I think it ends with just about the right ambiguity, and I love the way she finds things after the tsunami. Definitely someone with an atypical relation to water…. 🙂

    Rebecca at The Ninja Librarian

    Reply
    1. Mariah Avix

      Thanks very much. Endings are always hard so thank you!

      Reply
  4. Mike Young

    I like this story, especially the way you captured the excitement of her first big wave. I like the idea of audio files too – I may try that for mine.
    I did the same title too!

    Reply
    1. Mariah Avix

      Thank you! I was hoping others would do the same title so I’ll definitely check yours out.
      I love doing the audio, I have a podcast so I do weekly audio flash fiction pieces.

      Reply

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