Flash fiction inspired by this gif.
Memory of the sea
A door slammed, and the wind screamed in the chimney. Petra didn’t flinch at the noise but picked at the ice on the inside of the window, her mind elsewhere, in the past.
The floor creaked, a door upstairs opened and closed, bringing her back from her thoughts.
“I’d like to go out.”
The whistling draft answered.
Petra paid no attention to the rotting, swollen wood of the windows or the cracked panes. She didn’t notice the empty rooms, or that spiders and beetles resided in the hall as she walked through the desolate house.
Standing before the locked front door, and without her keys, the desire to be free of her prison swept her.
“Let me go.”
The house went quiet.
“Let me go, please.” Her weary voice and spirit were desperate. The silence thick.
The creeping at her back began as a cold caress. Her lips trembled, and tears fell. She remembered his warmth and hold; the sweet love of what was lost.
Fear prickled; the feeling of someone standing close behind her, and she felt his touch. She tried to fight and resist the allure but couldn’t.
The atmosphere crackled, tension in the air made her skin goose, and she felt his frozen lips on her neck.
Sobbing, her head fell back to his shoulder, and surrendered.
Pulled close, Petra spun to face what she couldn’t look at.
She shuddered, mouth lax, and found herself walking. Compelled to move forward, steps painful and filled with dread.
On the landing, she held the smooth round newel post, knuckles white, and breath misted in the cold.
“Petra.” Her name was an echo; it came from the walls and the wind. Compelled onward to her bedroom, she struggled. She would not submit to the madness again.
The pull and promise of the past, full of memories flooded her mind.
She screamed so loud, it echoed through the house, and the groaning quietened. Taking the opportunity, she fled down the landing to a disused room that had once been her sanctuary.
She slammed the door and turned the key in the lock, thankful it was there and slid down to the door. Feeling the cold for the first time, her tears were icy on her face, and she tucked her hands under her arms.
Faded linseed oil and paint scented the air, bringing her to her senses.
Her gaze landed on a large unfinished painting. The past came forward, one of summer and wild youth.
Down the dune, she ran with paint box in one hand and easel in the other. Her hat blew away in the rush, and dumping her things on the pebbles, she set up to catch the sight of two tall ships sailing out to sea.
The proud vessels moved slowly on the water, which undulated and sparkled in the sun.
The smell of salt on the wind and sound of gulls in the distance were happiness, and she worked madly to capture the ships before they grew small. Paint flecked her dress, a smudge on her cheek, and her hair blew all about her.
She didn’t hear footsteps crunching towards her as she frantically worked.
She looked at the man, startled from her work.
“Sebastian,” caution shone in her eyes. A wave pulled her, the tide coming in.
“Let me help you.” The rich son from the big estate grinned his sharp grin. Petra was afraid and fascinated by the way he looked at her.
He carried her easel, held her hand as her dress dripped everywhere, making him laugh. He reached out and wiped at the paint on her face, a glint in his eye.
Petra shivered as she opened her eyes. Behind her, the door groaned, pressure pushed at it.
The whistling stopped, the door stilled, and the key slowly turned in the lock. Petra no longer cared if it was madness or damnation. All she wanted was her beloved.
It was time, and Petra looked at the painting again, remembering the majesty of those two ships, appearing like lovers exploring the seas.
Eternal cold and madness were hers, but Sebastian had come back from the dead, and she would join him.