Trifecta: Leave-Taking

“You’re sure this is the path you want to take.”

She surveyed the crumbling goat-track down to the harbor cheerfully.  “It looks solid enough.”  The crisp salt air ruffled her hair and made her want to twirl.

“That is not what I meant.”  She looked up.  The disapproval had flattened him out like a toad.  He was comically glum, as if he might melt into a puddle of sheer concentrated obloquy.  She resisted the urge to pat him affectionately on the head.

“I’ll be back.  You know I will.”

“I didn’t think you’d have to leave in the first place.”  He folded his arms grouchily.

“You knew what she was when you slept with her,” she pointed out.

“She was –” he paused, visibly considered his audience, glared at her, and stopped.  Beautiful?  she supplied mentally.  Charming?  Naked?  She snickered, then hastily wiped the laughter off her face and laid a hand on his arm.

“I’m not turning into a seal and swimming out to sea, I’m just hitching a ride on a ship for a while.  I’m half hers, you can’t expect me to just sit around communing with the mountain for the rest of my life.”

The look on his brown face said that he could.  He absolutely could expect that.  His frown intensified and he became fractionally squatter.  “It’s in our blood.”

She let out a sound that was half laugh and half sigh and put her arms around him.  “I know it is, Dad.  But the mountain will still be here when I get back.”  The horn-hard hands reluctantly crossed her back to return the embrace.

He pulled back, gave her one final glare, and went stumping off, muttering incomprehensibly under his breath.  She smiled at his retreating back before turning down the narrow track, scattering little rocks before her.  “Love you too.”  A seal’s head bobbed in the water below, following her with dark eyes.  She winked at it and went tripping on down the path.


This week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge prompt asked for 33 to 333 words on the third definition of the word PATH (noun): 

3a : course, route
b : a way of life, conduct, or thought

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Jennifer says:

    Ooo. This reminded me of the Selkie myths! Lovely. I loved to gruff love of her mountain father and the contrast to her teasing love. She was someone I’d like to go to drinks with.

  2. Bee says:

    Oohh! I want to know what the mother was when the dad slept with her.

  3. JannaTWrites says:

    I thought it was a lover’s quarrel at first…nice twist that it was father/daughter. I like their interaction/conversation.

  4. Michael says:

    Obloquy. Now there’s a nice word that should be used more often.

  5. Ohhhhhhhhhh, a Selkie fairytale. Awesomesauce!

  6. deana says:

    This is really good!

  7. yerpirate says:

    Yes,,,Selkie tale brought back! Very interesting, and mysterious…

  8. Jennifer says:

    This was a great coming of age story. The parents always want to keep their children safe and hope the path they think best is chosen, while the children want to carve their own way (as they should). Great job capturing all of that in so few words.

  9. Steph says:

    I love this. Very well-written. I love the crisp salt air made her want to twirl. And the twist where she’s speaking with her father. The whole thing is charming.

  10. Christine says:

    This story is *totally* up my alley – I would read more in a heartbeat. Seriously. I just reread it hoping I’d missed a paragraph or two. 🙂 My only tiny criticism – and this may just be a matter of personal taste – is that there are an awful lot of adverbs that I think you could leave out – let the characters’ actions imply the intent of the adverb. But “obloquy” – that may be my new favorite word.

  11. Katie says:

    This tale has legs, so to speak. It was lovely.

  12. Nicely rustic scene! I love paths to the sea.
    I thought she was leaving a lover. Got confused over who the other “she” was, then weirded out when she turned out to be talking to her father. Unless this is your intention, I’d make it more clear it’s her father, much earlier. You can reread it to “get” it, but the creepiness hangs on.

  13. Draug (@Draug419) says:

    A selkie! Oh wow I haven’t seen peeps write about one of those in a while (: Awesome piece!

  14. kz says:

    i really enjoyed reading this.. fascinating characters, such a delight!

  15. Libby says:

    I love these characters. SHE seems more like the parent…able to see her mom and dad as people with flaws and love them anyway. Very nice…

  16. Dawn says:

    Okay, I’ll admit it – I had to look up obloquy 😉

    Interesting story! Totally didn’t see it going where it went – enjoyed it, and the character’s voice was great 😀

  17. kgwaite says:

    A lovely read, full of terrific dialogue.

  18. Trifecta says:

    Nice job with the prompt!

  19. Lance says:

    Really good work with descriptive and sensory words taking me to the setting. I really liked how you opened it with the prompt.

  20. Atreyee says:

    Loved this -such cheekiness from the girl but so adorable.Great father daughter relationship.Loved so many things but most loved lines,”The disapproval had flattened him out like a toad. He was comically glum, as if he might melt into a puddle of sheer concentrated obloquy. She resisted the urge to pat him affectionately on the head.”lol,too good!

  21. lumdog says:

    A beautiful story with great descriptive words. I could see them standing there on the mountain. Nice one!

  22. Linda Vernon says:

    I really loved the details you put in this. Especially how the seals eyes followed her. Excellent writerly touches that made this a pleasure to read.

  23. sonya says:

    Excellent job chickee!

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