Short story Second Runner Up (i.e. third place) in the Microcosms Flash Fiction competition – Microcosms 157 – on 11/01/2019. The rules required a story in no more than 300 words in response to the following prompts.
Character – Old Sea-dog/ Location – Tibetan Monastery/ Genre – Drama
The story had to be written and submitted within a one day deadline. ‘In Transit’ was the Judge’s choice as second Runner Up..
The old sea-dog sat at the quayside waiting. The liner berthed and its passengers filed down the ramp in front of him. They had a quiet acceptance about them. Out of the sea behind him rose the tip of a single, bare mountaintop. On its facing slope stood a Tibetan monastery. Around the mountain top the calm sea stretched away into the distance on all sides, filled with thousands of empty sailing vessels of every type, from every age, gently riding at anchor.
‘Welcome to the second stage. There are many similar places like this. You may have questions but I will explain it all anyway. Forget luggage or possessions. If you stay then you must enter the monastery. If not then return to your ship. You can take time to decide as you wish. You can come here again whenever you’re ready. It makes no difference if you go back on board as your ship will never sail.
You may recognise many of the vessels from history – the Titanic, the Lusitania, HMS Hood etc. Their imprint rests here but all passengers and crew move on eventually. My own vessel was that small fishing smack over there.’
The last passenger to disembark was an old man in a wheelchair. The sea-dog rose to greet him.
‘You’re the eldest. You’ll replace me. I’ll go with them. The awareness will pass to you as soon as I enter the monastery gates. You’ll greet the next boatload and select your replacement.’
‘What happens inside the monastery?’
‘The third stage – rebirth – depending upon what sort of life you’ve led. There are many forms. The more blameless and compassionate the life you have led the more likely your soul will be reborn as a human.’
‘Only you know that.’
©David Lewis Pogson 2019