After a career first as a lecturer in English literature and Media Studies then as a Business Communications consultant, Mary Bevan has begun to write as she always promised herself she would one day. Over the past two years she has written short stories and flash fiction and has won prizes in a number of competitions, including the University of Winchester Writers’ Festival and story slams in London and her home county of Dorset. She feels that flash fiction is particularly relevant to today’s readers and offers exciting possibilities for exploring new forms and styles. Her other hobbies are playing the piano accordion and traveling widely.
Going to the Beach – Blue Pig’s Story
by Mary Bevan
I am blue pig. I am sitting on this wooden bench, staring out over the great yellow flatness of the sands to the sea. We come here most days, Man and I. Always the same trip from the house, along the footpath at the back of the houses, across the road, and down the steps to the beach—unless it’s raining, and even then we come sometimes.
The sea is grey today. The beach is quiet—so quiet I can hear Man chewing at his sandwich. It’s not a happy noise like the one Baby makes when he sucks his thumb or when he pulls at my ears and laughs and shouts ‘Ig,ig.’ Man doesn’t talk to me. He just brings me here, takes me out and sits me on the bench beside him. Then he eats his sandwich and stares out to sea. Sometimes he takes out his handkerchief and blows his nose very hard; then he goes back to staring.
It wasn’t always like this. When there were four of us—Man and Woman and Baby and Me—it was quite different. You never knew what was going to happen in those days. Sometimes Baby would drop me out of the pushchair and I’d be covered in sand. Sometimes I’d be left down by the sea, and once the tide came in and I stayed wet and cold for ages. But they were good times: there were lots of happy noises and colours then.
Everything changed the day Big Dog came. It was a blue and white day and the sun was warm. He came galloping across the sands straight towards us, Baby and me. He was taller than the pushchair. He stopped and looked at me, and then he picked me up in his horrible, pointy, yellow teeth and shook me so hard I thought my seams would burst. Baby didn’t like that – he started crying and tried to pull me away from Big Dog. But Big Dog wouldn’t let go and started making angry noises, and all of a sudden Baby was screaming, and Man and Woman were rushing around and shouting, and all sorts of things were happening and everything got mixed up. I was very frightened; there was a lot of red all over the yellow sand and all over me. I waited for days before someone washed the red off me.
It’s getting cold now. The sea is no-colour and there’s no one left here but us and a woman walking across the beach. She seems to be walking towards us. I think…yes, yes, it’s Woman! She’s come back! Woman’s come back! She comes over and stands in front of us, just looking at Man. I think Man is crying. Then she puts out her hand and touches his shoulder, and he gets up and puts his arms right round her.
Perhaps tomorrow Baby will come back, too, and we can all go to the beach together again.
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