Every hoofbeat churned the smooth-washed beach. Here along the inlet was the only place to spy incoming ships. Lee and Finn had raced them to the harbor since they were young.
But there’d been no ships. Not lately. And the men were no longer young. Still Lee noticed Finn pushed faster along this stretch. No longer a race. A retreat.
Lee pulled up. Water swelled over his horse’s ankles. Finn was forced to turn back for them.
“I think a ship’s come in,” Lee blurted before Finn could grumble. “Let’s race it.”
Lee took off again. Finn balked, but relented. Sand became pebbles, and then the familiar path. They emerged again at the docks’ edge. Finn panted heavier than his horse.
“Dammit, Lee. There hasn’t been a ship here since-” but the harbor bell struck Finn silent. Distant still, he saw the outline of sails.
“I wonder who it is,” said Lee.
Their eyes twinkled. Here, now, was the ship. And they were no longer so old.
This is a response to this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers challenge. (My first response, actually!)
The photo prompt/header image is by Iain Kelly.