Short Story: The Water's Edge

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About this Short Story

Written by
Nik Eveleigh


A man lying on the beach at sunset reflects on the events that led him to this moment.


  • 501 Words
  • 37 Comments
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My eyes open and my head is thick. Not as thick as my hair must feel now that the twin sisters of sand and salt have done their work, but thick all the same. Tiny grains shift against my scalp as the breeze picks up but I’m too full of slumber to worry overmuch. I push the back of my head into the sand. Close my eyes. I need more rest.

The beach is quiet now. The laughter and shouting, the frenetic madness of noon has dissipated like the heat of the day. I can see the sun dipping over the water if I raise my head just a little. Watch it melt in golden puddles into the horizon. The sky is streaked with red and orange and for a fleeting moment the world is aflame. The twilight is weak and yields without battle to the onset of night.

The sound of the…

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Adam West Guest Editor said "Each time I read this I picture it in a different time and place - today it is Gothic - Cornwall - 16th century - vivid and sensual! - good stuff, many thanks, Adam"
3 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "This was another of those happy accidents I've been lucky enough to have over the last year or so - not sure where this one came from but I remember being really happy with the writing and extremely worried that no one would like it. As you mentioned in another comment, we are all poor judges of our own work it seems. Thanks for the comment and the sense of place and time! Cheers, Nik"
3 years ago
Tobias Haglund said "Very well written. Bookshelfing it right away. Beautiful to personal to sadness to relief within 501 words! I didn't know what was going on but I tagged along in your beautiful imagery hoping it would be a paradise at the end, and you took me there... No but kidding aside, this was very good. Bookshelfing it (yes I know I already mention it, but I'm double bookshelfing it!). All the very best my friend / Dai Shelf"
3 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "I'll take bookshelfing singular or plural any day of the week - thanks! I'm pretty proud of this one - I tend to sell myself short quite a lot when I'm talking about things I've written but this one came out just as I wanted it and I was thrilled to get such positive comments (and to add another one to the list tonight). Thanks for your support and feedback - really means a lot. Cheers, Nik"
3 years ago
Hugh Cron said "Hi Nik, just to let you know that The Time Machine isn't Welshist. It chose this one. I have read over it again and I have just thought that there is many a woman a ruin of many a man...Being a witch is optional!! I hope anyone who reads this realises that my tounge is firmly in my cheek because I really don't want hexed. All the very best my friend."
3 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks Hugh! I'm a little bit scared of the Time Machine now...one question on its allegiance and all of a sudden I pop up in the results box. It's definitely Clive or one of his ballooning friends pulling the strings. Your disclaimer will keep you hex free for now haha :) Thanks for reading and commenting. Cheers, Nik"
3 years ago
Kevin Thomson said "I was very impressed by both the writing and the plot in this piece Nik. Your vivid descriptions made the tale come alive for me and, as Victor said, a lot of depth. Congratulations!"
3 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "The line about the drowning was intentional, and you're on track with the second interpretation. There's a reference just prior to it about them "creating life" - I've heard "get" sometimes used to refer to offspring in animals so I chose it in that line to reflect the derogatory way they would refer to a pregnant, supposed "witch" to drown her and her baby at the same time. There is definitely an element of ambiguity about the piece but it was a happy accident rather than being my specific intent. Very glad it stands up to more than one reading and I really appreciate your kind words about the quality of the writing - this was going out on a limb a bit for me as it differs from much of my other work so it's a real confidence shot to see and hear people enjoying it. Cheers, Nik"
3 years ago
Kevin Thomson replied saying "I did have a wee look pre-paragraph breaks actually. I think it's easier on the eye with the breaks but the quality writing stands out both ways in my humble opinion. I wonder if my interpretation of your story is "right" Nik. I might be being a bit thick here or maybe you deliberately built in an element of ambiguity which I think gives the tale a lot of depth. I had to read "Drown the witch and her get" a few times wondering if it was a mistake but I'm sure it's not. Does this line mean "drown the witch and get her"? Perhaps "her get" is something that belonged to the witch. Does this really matter? Anyway, really enjoyable story which definitely deserves more than one reading."
3 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks very much Kevin - really appreciate the read and the kind comments. You are one of the first to be looking at it in its intended format (the paragraph breaks went missing in action when I first uploaded it - they were put back in this week) so it's good to have had positive feedback both before and after! Cheers, Nik"
3 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor said "The paragraph breaks are exactly where I would have placed them. Pretty much as I thought the story reads the same, although now that the emphasis is precise as opposed to being DIY punctuation it has created a better 'feel' - but it is interesting to note how little impact (in this case) it has had on the story - though my interpretation has shifted (again) if only by a little - which may have nothing to do with the paragraphing! ATB - Adam"
3 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "It's funny - from my perspective the lack of paragraphs really spoiled it because I suppose in my head it always had them and to see it without them just doesn't look right. So to have an unbiased / emotionally detached angle on it helps and it has been a major surprise to me how little influence it seems to have on the appeal of the story. Thanks for the time you've spent on this one Adam - I didn't think there were so many interpretations when I was writing it but it's gratifying to know I've managed to come up with something that keeps your interest after several reads. Cheers, Nik"
3 years ago
Sandy Wardrope said "Hi Nik, Well done sir, you've reached a level that a I couldn't possibly attain, ie a literary masterpiece. Your use of words and phrases and how you strung them together was brilliant. I'm not into the literary side of things myself but can appreciate that style when it isn't over done. great stuff, keep 'em coming. Yours, Sandy W"
3 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "Hi Sandy. Such a lovely comment - thank you. I'm not sure my name belongs in the same sentence as "literary" let alone "masterpiece" but I truly appreciate the sentiment. I had my doubts about this one as I thought it might be too much like "trying to be a writer" so to have had such a positive reception means a lot. Cheers - look forward to reading something new from you soon...?"
3 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor said "I wonder Nik if this WILL read differently with the intended paragraphing? Some writing demands to be read at a steady pace such that you digest what is being said and understand so perhaps the pauses in between sentences are enough. It is 95% clear to me after a third read but there is still an element of doubt about the viewpoint of the MC that will keep me wondering. Will you submit again with the intended breaks? - ATB - Adam"
3 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "Hi Adam. I wasn't sure about submitting again with the intended format as it felt a little self-indulgent...that said it would be good to see what the general consensus is and if nothing else it provides an interesting piece of debate. Might have to give it a slightly different title and synopsis as I don't want to lose this version and the kind comments it has garnered (I may need to fall back on them on a crappy writing day as an ego-booster!). I think I just might do it...Cheers, Nik"
3 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor said "Read this twice through 1/ because you have me pondering the end 9the whole shebang actually) 2/ 'cause it's bloody well written Sir. The similes and the blending of the environment into the story and the characters and their lives is seamlessly done. It goes on creaking virtual shelf for the this is my third read and if it all does not then all click into place no matter because it is as it is and well Shakespeare is a legend and ah cannae understand eh wud the gadge is oan aboot (sorry for slipping into Leith dialect - blame Mester Welsh - not THE Welsh as in the Welsh people but the Scottish writer) - seriously, this is very well done. I take Sam's point the Terry Collett no paragraphing worked a treat here - many thanks, Adam"
4 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "Hi Adam - going on the shelf for a third read sounds pretty good to me, thank you! I'm really happy that this piece has been so well received as it is a departure for me and I hope it marks that I'm progressing and learning. And now...for the BIG REVEAL...I didn't actually write this it was...no wait, that wasn't it...something else. Ah. Yes. I spent several tortured hours agonising over the paragraph structure for this...and finally got it as I wanted. I then made the error of uploading via Chrome for the first time and the paragraphs disappeared. I was gutted when I saw the finished product and was about to ask Rachel to remove it...then I got a couple of good comments and thought what the hell, let's see how it goes. Since then I've had nothing but supportive feedback so I guess the structure was meant to be. Would be curious to get your feedback on the paragraphed version sometime just for interest's sake. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment - always appreciated. Cheers, Nik"
4 years ago
Sam Kandej said "It seems that Mr Terry Collett has had a great influence on you! Good job :-)"
4 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "That's the beauty of this place Sam - lots of great influences you pick up just by being around! Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed it. Cheers, Nik"
4 years ago
Diane Dickson Guest Editor said "Really beautifully done Nik. a story of love, loss, heartbreak, cruelty, bravery, injustice, fear and all on the beach and in 500 words, what more could anyone ask - nothing - this was gorgeous - Diane"
4 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "Wow - what a wonderful comment. Thanks Diane - I was a little unsure about this piece as it's a bit of a departure for me so to receive such positive comments is a real bonus. Thrilled that you enjoyed it so much and thank you for taking the time to read and give me feedback - always appreciated. Cheers, Nik"
4 years ago
Hugh Cron said "Hi Nik, romance isn't something I can do on so many levels!! But sacrifice no matter what is more to my understanding!! You emphasised that so much in this piece of work. All the very best my friend. Hugh"
4 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks Hugh! Appreciate the comments as always. Funnily enough romance was never part of the plan it just sort of happened after I started writing about some bloke on a beach. My subconscious is getting soft in my 40's clearly! Cheers, Nik"
4 years ago
This comment has been removed; this user is no longer a member of Shortbread.
This comment has been removed; this user is no longer a member of Shortbread.
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "I will try to correctly rip off a Stephen King quote from On Writing - "The road to hell is paved with adverbs". It's something that has stuck with me and I'm convinced that cutting down on them has improved my writing."
4 years ago
Beel Neale said "Beautiful and very sad!"
4 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks so much for the kind comment Beel - this story is a bit of a departure for me and I'm very excited at how well it's been received! Cheers, Nik"
4 years ago
Victor Smith said "Great work, Nik. There's depth bere, and the picture that you draw is very real. I liked this a lot. -Vic."
4 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks Vic - appreciate you taking the time to read it and comment and I'm thrilled you enjoyed it so much. Cheers, Nik"
4 years ago
Anthony Wobbe said "Alright, I give up writing. You win. This was very powerful and a complete romantc tradgedy in 500 words...Unbelievable and outstanding Nik. You should know I'm making a home made Valentines card for my wife this year. I'm probably going to steal all the romantic bits in this...well, I would if that wouldn't set the bar so stinkin' high:0) Thanks for this one."
4 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "And to think I was a little bit unsure about even submitting this one...funny how it goes sometimes huh? Thanks for such a wonderful comment Anthony - has officially made my evening. I'd avoid a half chewed oyster on the card but anything else you are welcome to take hehe :o) I shall ignore you threats of retirement and look forward to reading more of yours! Cheers, Nik"
4 years ago
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Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks Jeff - I'm sure there are more than a reasonable amount that sneak into my writing but I try my best to kill them before they have a chance to annoy. Glad you enjoyed it and appreciate the comments! Cheers, Nik"
4 years ago
This comment has been removed; this user is no longer a member of Shortbread.
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks Robert - appreciate you reading and commenting as always. Cheers, Nik"
4 years ago

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