Wind Whales

This is a story about two children watching the clouds go by, and witnessing a miraculous feat. This was inspired by Hendrik Boom, who, in a mutual writing class on brainstorming introduce the idea of wind whales. It was months and months ago, but it was one of those ideas that stuck with me, and resulted in this!

Sarah and Connor were laying in the long grass of the park, looking at the clouds when they first saw it.

“Oh, that one, that one looks like a whale.” Sarah gesticulated wildly.

Unlike the other 15 time she did this, Connor actually saw it. “Whoa, ya, it really does look like a whale. Its’s really detailed actually.” And he squinted a bit, it was too detailed.

The both watched for a moment, and the whale cloud opened its mouth and swallowed down a smaller cloud.

Sarah and Connor exchanged a look, was this really happening?

The longer they watched the more fantastical it became, the whale continued on swallowing up smaller clouds and then it did the impossible, it changed direction.

The whale started slowing down, and then turned and looped backwards, and then it just stayed still with its mouth open, with clouds flowing right into it.

They watched in astonishment as the whale ate more and more clouds, and in grew and grew, and then, then while they were so busy watching the first whale they didn’t even notice the second until it was almost on top of the first. They circled each other, appearing to play, and it was a spectacle to behold.

They continued eating the other clouds, becoming larger and larger and Connor and Sarah watch is silent fascination as it seemed they were going to grow until they took up the entire sky.

How was no one else seeing this?

They watched for three whole hours, the whales eating, playing, dominating the sky, and it was the most magical thing they had ever seen.

Just when they thought it had reached its peak, a parts of the first whale seemed to start to break off. Was this it, was it ending here and now.

“Connor.” Sarah asked plaintively, and Connor grabbed her hand.

The piece broke off and Sarah let out a wail but Connor shushed her. It didn’t look like a random cloud, it looked more like a, a,.

“It’s a calf!” Sarah shrieked with excitement, and Connor saw it then too. It was a baby whale. There were three of them now.

They were pretty stationary for a little after that, and then the calf began to move. Not slowly like the adults, but quick and darting in a way that was completely unnatural for a cloud. It too grew, but when it was not twice the size it started at, the elder whales grew restless.

The moved, trapping the calf between them and seemed to move as a triad, they rolled, until it was as if they were facing away and all Sarah and Connor could see were they great tails moving up and down in great strokes.

It was Sarah that noticed it first. “Where are they going?” She asked.

“Hmmm?” He muttered in reply.

“They are getting smaller, don’t you think?” She asked, and Connor realized that she was right. They were getting smaller, every stroke of their epic tales was making them just a little bit smaller.

“Where could they be going?” Connor asked, and wondered for the first time where exactly they had come from. Was there a part of the world where wind whales were the norm, or had they come here from somewhere much further away.

Sarah didn’t answer, and they laid there for another hour watching them get smaller and smaller, until they were just a small dot.

They headed home after that, regular cloud watching had lost its appeal after the magnificence of the wind whales that had graced their lives.

They told the entire story to their mother when they got home, but instead of being intrigued, she was just all Mom about it.

She smiled broadly when they finished their tale, “I am glad you two had such a fun day playing together at the park. I made some cookies while you were gone, would you like some?”

Sarah and Connor exchanged glances, it had really happened, hadn’t it?

They both reluctantly took a few cookies and a glass of milk and Connor, being the older of them, at 10, decided it was his duty to write it all down. After all, who know when it might happen again, and he wanted to be sure he remembered every detail.


No idea where this one came from, just another unhappy child moving away to become who they are. I honestly believe you can’t quite make that transition into the person you are meant to be until you leave your childhood home. This is the story of Sam, who left home and became their own person.

She looked down at the pictures of the child dressed up as as the all American little boy, in blue jeans and a red flannel shirt, and it made her squirm. There was a smile on the child’s face, and it wasn’t from happiness, it was from relief that they were allowed to go home.

An entire summer trapped on Uncle Jeb’s farm, and there wasn’t a single moment of it that the kid didn’t hate. It was all about the act of “toughening” the boy up, as though at ten years old, the threshold for masculinity was not being met. That there was some thickness of skin that hadn’t been achieved, and the act of crying at the injustice of it all was taken as the proof that the entire exercise was required. That picture was the day that a countdown was made, and while college was always a long shot, it was a freedom that couldn’t be passed by.

Teachers marveled at the new found studious nature, never before had a student made such a change in a single summer, not without some sort of accident of tragedy occurring, but they knew of no such event. A single summer on a farm should not have been such a thing, but in this case it was everything, it was the last straw in a pile of sticks, and it was too much to bear.

High school came and went, and in the end, the grades were enough. There were better schools, closer schools, if education had been the aim, but it wasn’t. The goal was the city, the goal was somewhere big enough to disappear, the goal was being far enough away that this place would be a memory buried deep enough that no one would ever know that it was a place of origin in the story being told.

There were a lot of cities to chose from, and the one the now teenager chose was so liberal that someone like Uncle Jeb would shudder to step foot in it, and it was perfect. It was a place where dreams came true, and no one was forced to toughen up, or be a man. That was where Samuel started to be known as Sam, and graduated as Samantha.

Her parents never called her, followed up, even though she kept the old beat-up flip phone for 12 years, paying a phone bill long after she replaced it, just in case. She didn’t call them either, but it was the principle of the thing. Four years in sociology had taught her a lot about people, and she knew that unless she reached out with a wife and a son, or fulfilled the promise to take over the family farm, they wouldn’t want to have anything to do with her. That was just the way some people were, and there was nothing she could do that would change that.

She became a social worker, and eventually, she did get that wife, and even the son, but she wouldn’t be taking on the farm. Even if she did show up with her new family, they wouldn’t understand this, her, as she was, it just wasn’t their way. She had made a good life for herself, and when the flip phone broke, she had the line rerouted to her phone, just in case.

Her son was 11 when she got the call. Her family of three spent five hours on a plane, and three hours in a rented SUV to get to the house her parents had called home. It should have been a few years further out, but car crashes happen, especially with drunk drivers and missed red lights.

So here she sat, still in her back suit, looking at the picture of a child, who looked so much like her own, and yet was so much sadder. She walked out the door, her wife and son following, and they got in the car, not stopping till they hit the airport. No one broke the silence until the return tickets were paid for, and it was her wife who asked.

“What about the house?”

“Sell it” She whispered, voice hoarse.

“But the things, the memori-” Her wife tried again.

“Sell it all. There isn’t one thing in that house, that I want to remember” She half yelled, and then wanted to cry. Her wife didn’t look angry, just sad. Helena pulled out her phone, and called a friend, who would get a hold of someone local and take care of it.

Samantha was going home, for good this time.

Not All Those Who Wander…

Ok, I have to admit, that this one was a bit of a wild ride for me. The prompt was “You are an explorer searching for the lost city of Atlantis. Tell us about your search in the form of a log or diary”. I started out with the idea of the end of the search, they haven’t found the city, but are running out of time. Then I just went with it. Pretty happy with what I came up with

Day 856

This is it.  The final month of the expedition.

I thought we were over when out grant ran out, or the first benefactor threw in the towel, but we persevered. 

Now we are 856 days into a 120-day search for the lost city and I finally have to admit it’s over.

The money has dried up, and our rations won’t stretch any further.

In 23 days we will have to head home….

Day 858

I guess I always thought this would flop quick, and then when we got the extensions, that we would find the city.

It never occurred to me I was going to be going back home and explain a 2 year and change gap on my resume.

Oh, yes, I double majored in history of ancient civilization, and languages, with a minor in geography 3 years ago.  What have I been doing since then?  Well that’s an interesting question, ever heard of Atlantis, because I definitely didn’t find it!

Day 863

We found something. 

It’s official, Atlantis existed, and we are on the right trail.  Now, all I need to do is find it in the next 16 days, and we are golden…

Day 870

We found another artefact.

We are so close now, I can almost feel it. 

I sent word to all our previous sponsors, but it seems like they lost interest.

I can’t believe we are going to have to turn back after coming so far.

Day 875

6 days left, and the artefacts we have found…

We didn’t find the city, but these alone will change the face of history. 

I just wish we had more time.

Day 877

We are turning around tomorrow, a couple of days early, because….we are lost.

Apparently navigation is fried, and according to our navigator we have probably been following unreliable signals for days, if not weeks.  Which means it may take a while to get back, and  when we go, there will be no way of knowing where we were.

Day 877…Later

The crew doesn’t want to turn back.

We put it to a vote, it’s unanimous, we are continuing, we might not have the supplies to get back, but we will find Atlantis.

Day 888

We found it.

Oh my god we found it, and it’s… indescribable. 

This changes everything.

** These pages from the log of Dr. Clara Savannah were recovered by the crew of the Divergent, a science vessel studying currents in the Southern Ocean.  It appears that this was the Doctor’s last entry, the rest of the log is too badly damaged to be sure, though the date it was written corresponds to the that of the last recorded GPS signal for the ship.  Recovery efforts have yielded no results, likely due to the navigation error referred to by Dr. Savannah in her log.

Sixteen subsequent expeditions have been launched to discover the lost city, and so far only three have returned safely.  The lost city of Atlantis remains lost.  

Consumed by the Chesterfield

I remember that I was listening to the soundtrack for the movie Across the Universe, when I had the idea to write a depressing story based on a song about a warm gun. I don’t recall writing this truly depressing short story where the main character is suicidal, depressed, and unable to get off the couch. Reader be warned, this is horribly depressing.

The couch had eaten her, or so she texted, to explain why she wasn’t going to the movies. Claiming exhaustion after a hard week was easy, her messages light, and funny, but she wasn’t.

For all intents and purposes the couch had eaten her, her will do anything but lay there was gone. Colors flashed on the TV, but she couldn’t focus, just laying with it on, so that the excuse of watching TV would be there. A song came on, and the words of joy expressed over a still warm gun sent chills through her. She knew where she would be right now had the option been available, and she was glad for lack of ownership in these situations.

The only thing that kept her going, was not going on would take action to achieve, and she didn’t have the energy to so much as get up off the couch. She was still there when her roommate came home, bringing her something to eat.

She had a love/hate relationship with the roommate, who she had never wanted, but had gotten on the recommendation of a therapist long since dismissed. She didn’t need someone to pay half the bills, didn’t need someone taking half her space, and the first one had only lasted days. She lowered the rent, and found someone who would stay, but she had lowered it enough, that they were determined to stay no matter how terrible she often was. Given their tenacity in staying, it would take more spoons than she had available on any given week to try and get rid of them.

They liked her well enough, or maybe they just realized that if she died they wouldn’t get to keep the rent situation, so water was brought to her on the couch, food, and she was checked on regularly when she was in this state, of laying. If she laid there long enough, roommate would make her go take a shower, as roommate drew the line at a certain smell. Roommate who apparently didn’t draw the line at being known as roommate because she could never find the wherewithal to remember roommate’s name.

It would pass though, and she knew it would pass, it always passed, and for a time things would be better, she would be better, and she would do things and see people, and be happy for a bit. What kept her lying here at the moment was the other knowledge, and that was that she would always end up back here again too, maybe in a day, or a week, maybe if she was lucky it would be months, but she would end up here, on the couch, not wanting to be, and for now she just let it overwhelm her, let herself feel what she was feeling, and hope that soon, soon it would pass and she would be her again.