Pauling and Donaway were grilling trout from the morning’s catch over a driftwood campfire, filling the air with the sweet scent of salt and smoke and charred fish. The sun slipped low in the sky.

With the last fish off the grill, Pauling finally spoke.

“I knew we shouldn’t have let Stegner go off by himself this morning. What the hell is keeping him?”

Donaway squinted into the setting sun and heaved a long sigh.

“How were we gonna stop him? When he gets like that, you just gotta let him go and blow off steam. But he should have been back before now. I wonder if he got disoriented? Or he could be on the other side of the island. Hell, he could have gone back to the mainland for all we know. I shouldn’t have let him have the keys to the boat.”

The three men had spent the better part of a week on Flag Island, an uninhabited two hundred acre parcel forty-five miles off the coast. Every November for the past twelve years, they had escaped to the refuge, spending ten days isolated from the pressures of their lives and their wives. This year, the pain of Stegner’s divorce from his wife of twenty years was fresh.

On the other side of the island, Stegner’s corpse baked on the beige sand beach, surrounded by seaweed and tar balls. The narrow cove, crowded with detritus from the sea, was clogged with the stuff; his body and pieces of flotsam common to the shipping lanes.  The engine on the forty-foot yacht at the edge of the cove coughed and then started; the boat Donaway had navigated to the island six days earlier was a hundred yards from shore with two people, a man and a woman, on board.

[I wonder how this happened and where it’s going?]

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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One Response to Flotsam

  1. Joyce says:

    PLEASE continue this saga, John

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