Broken Bones

Javier steered his little rowboat around the airplane’s wing. It stuck out of the shallow water like a tall white rock, smoothed by the ocean’s waves. A man sat opposite of him, wrapped in Javier’s thin wool blanket. The man stared between his feet with glazed-over eyes. Javier had pulled him out of the cold waters just moments before.

Suitcases, pillows, and clothing were bobbing on the water all around them. The air smelled of fuel and smoke. A few bold seagulls flew overhead, looking for anything edible amongst the flotsam.

“You know, I had a feeling something bad might happen today,” Javier told the man as he kept rowing through the debris.

The man didn’t react. Javier often talked to himself when he was out here to fish.

“I sometimes have these…” he paused, trying to find the right word, “premonitions.”

A body floated face-down against the side of the boat. It wore a navy-blue suit. Javier winced as he gently pushed it away with one of his oars, dislodging the dead person’s wig in the process. It floated off like a separate, hairy casualty.

“I get this feeling and my left hand tingles.” He held up his hand with the unnaturally bent fingers towards the man. “Dropped a large shipping crate on it. Broke all the bones. Now, when something bad happens, it starts tingling. Like it knows something I don’t. Tingled just before the freak storm we had last summer, the one that toppled my cousin’s boat. He almost drowned.”

“I felt it tingle today, but” Javier scanned the chaos around him, “I didn’t see that coming.”

Copyright 2021 Sven Camrath
Photo ‘floating’ by mhobl

About the story: Based on a writing prompt on Secret Attic that required the use of the sentence “I didn’t see that coming.”

Have you seen my dog?

My husband is of no help. I’ve been looking everywhere for him. My dog, not my husband. He bit him once if you can believe it. My dog did, not my husband. Bit the tip off his little finger right off. Then he ate the damn thing. His finger, not my husband. He just barks at the TV all day. My husband, not the dog. No wonder he’s all stressed out. My dog, not my husband. That’s why he bit him, you see? Always complains that I feed the dog better than him. I told him he has a sensitive stomach. My dog has, not my husband. My husband eats hotdogs by the pack and drinks beer by the keg. Bought him an artisan sausage once. My husband, not the dog. Asked me what an artisan sausage was. Told him I didn’t know. He just gave it to the dog. Then he shit all over the carpet and the couch. My dog, not my husband. Ended up having to throw it out. The carpet, not my dog. People tell me my husband looks like my dog. I think he’s uglier. My husband, not my dog.

Copyright 2021 Sven Camrath
French Bulldog Photo by freepik

My First Published Short Story

These past few weeks, I have started submitting some of my writing to various online magazines. Finding the right fit can be more challenging than I thought, and the research/submission process takes more time than I had expected. It is very enlightening, though! I have collected a handful of rejection letters so far, and the first one is now sitting framed next to me on my wall! 🙂

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Screaming Eagle

The elegant sound of a string quartet reverberated through the imposing ballroom. Priceless paintings were hanging from its walls, and a dazzling crystal chandelier glistened above. The ornate molding reminded her of the family visit last summer when she had toured Independence Hall. Dozens of tables had been set with meticulous attention to detail. The wine glasses and silverware were polished to sparkling perfection, only outdone by the breathtaking evening-gowns and custom-tailored tuxedos of those seated. Sommeliers suggested, waiters waited, and everyone buzzed between tables like busy bees. On one of these insular tables amidst all the glitz and glamour sat she, in the company of hedge fund managers, famous actors, and board directors of companies she had never heard of before.

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People Like Barbara

I admit it. I buy used books. Sometimes they are out of print, so I have to. Sometimes it’s just too good of a deal to pass up. Often they contain notes and highlights, remnants of those who came and read before me. Some of them (curse them!) have covered entire pages in neon-colored highlighter, and some underline entire paragraphs with pens in squiggly, uneven lines. The more sensible of them use pencils. They write with a light touch in the margins, as if not to disturb the words on the page.

Then there are people like Barbara, who stake their claim on their book by writing their name in big, bold letters on the first page. They underline, cross out, draw lines up and down, and all around the paragraphs. Barbara also had a bad habit of writing out her every thought in the margins. For example, next to sentences that she thought funny, she wrote funny. Thank you, Barbara; I might have missed it. But then there was this note: I’ve always wondered about eating yourself. Would you be getting fat, or would you disappear?

I can’t help but wonder if she ever found an answer to her question. I wonder if it kept her awake at night. Did she think about it while doing dishes or drinking coffee? While violating another book? While she was making love to her partner? Or her secret lover?

I wonder how she is doing.

I might never get an answer to that.


Copyright 2021 Sven Camrath

The Wolves And The Blizzard

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In their den under the fallen oak tree, the four young wolves stared out at the ever-moving wall of snow. Their warm breath puffed out their noses, turning into cold little clouds. It had not been their first winter storm, but this blizzard was rolling over the lands for many days and nights. Whenever the winds died down for a moment of reprieve, one could hear their growling stomachs. Laying in the darkness behind them were the elders; they had endured many winters before and knew this wouldn’t be their last.

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Monsters Aren’t Real

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As Emilia drifted into her dreams, she heard a whisper in her room, that did not sound like her father’s familiar voice. Another whisper, this one different. Her eyes quickly shot open. She wasn’t alone. Firmly holding onto her plush cat Morning, she jumped out of bed and spurted towards the door. She reached up, turned the handle, and ran down the hallway towards her father’s study.

“Daddy! Daddy! There is something in my room,” she said, almost stumbling over her own words. “There is a monster in my room!” Setting down his newspaper, her father looked at her through his big, round reading glasses. Cecil, who was purring on his lap, yawned.

“It looks to me, that there is a little monster in my room,” he said with his eyebrows raised.

“No, really, really! I heard it!” she pleaded. For extra emphasis, she added, “I promise.”

“Alright then,” he said as he got up from his chair and Cecil jumped from his lap to the floor.

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