The Thirteenth Day

Great Barrier Reef, Australia

By the thirteenth day, the ancient face of the sea turtle seemed like a friend. She’d been following his capsized vessel for the better part of a week. She’d surface, her cloissone cheeks gleaming in this sun, her almond eyes seeming almost human. She’d blink wisely, then vanish into the depths for hours. Then, just as he’d give up all hope to see her, she’d reappear at the edge of his craft, like a cheerful neighbor bearing a gift.

When she was gone, he’d stare hard at all horizons, searching for land. Was he too far east? he wondered. Or perhaps west. Impossible to say.

Just then she appeared, her head breaking the calm. An instant later—gone, but back again further east next time. Then further still. As if she was trying to tell him something. As if she knew. He reached for his oar and began to paddle.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.

15 Comments

  1. Excellent story! I love the idea that the sea turtle is rescuing him. I guess Nemo’s dad isn’t the only one who benefits from their good graces.

    1. Righteous, eh? 😉

  2. In such a situation, I’d be inclined to follow the animal too. They know the environment better than we do after all. I loved the characterization, “like a cheerful neighbor bearing a gift.” Brilliant story!

  3. Sometimes I think animals do try to rescue hapless humans. Why? I’m not sure. Most excellent story.

    1. Thanks Alicia 🙂

  4. Glad his companion was that sea turtle and not a great white shark. Good job.

    1. That would make for a completely different ending for sure! Thanks for reading James.

  5. Dear Karen,

    Picturesque piece. I loved cloisonne cheeks. I can hear waves lapping his boat in this one. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle.

    PS I made it this week. 😉

    1. Hooray! So glad you made it. Off to read it now 🙂

  6. Hey Karen, Beautifully scenic and poignant piece. I’ve commented on Josh’s piece twice but keep getting errors. Error 403 to be precise. I love the calmness in this piece. The calmness being offer by the the sea turtle and received by our nameless explorer? Really enjoyable to read. Thanks for posting.

    1. Kelvin, thanks for your very kind words! I let Josh know about the error.

      Would love to have you join us for Pegman some week. Please consider it!

      1. Thank you, Karen, I shall. I am. 🙂

  7. Hey Karen, thanks for reading and commenting on my piece/\. I loved this beautiful calm as still waters story to the hilt. Cloissone cheeks. I love this. Absolutely well done with this one.

    1. Thanks Neel. So glad you liked it 🙂

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