Hello everyone and a warm welcome to Part 6) of the entries for my weekly: “Fiction in A Flash Challenge 2021” Week #38.
Today I’m featuring contribution Part 6) By Kirsten Nairn
Last week I set the following Challenge:
Hello everyone and welcome to my new “Fiction in A Flash Challenge!” Each week I’ll be featuring an image and inviting you to write a Flash Fiction or Non-Fiction piece inspired by that image in any format and genre of your choosing. Maximum word count: 750 words.
Here is the image prompt and Kirsten’s contribution.
Nerida looked out over the bay, the calm, still water a direct contrast to her own inner turmoil. It was her life’s ambition to find somewhere to set up a marine sanctuary and research centre, and now, having found it, she had the unenviable task of persuading local councillors and investors to approve her proposal. It grated on her, that to have the remotest chance of capturing their interest, it had to generate income, which meant opening it up to the public. It was a bitter pill to swallow. She wanted nothing to do with the public and resented their intrusion into her sanctuary.
But there was a more pressing problem. So far, there hadn’t been a single sighting of anything of interest. She had no doubt that this was the perfect habitat for dolphins, seals, and even whales, and she knew with absolute certainty they were out there, but to her frustration they hadn’t made an appearance.
‘You ready?’ Mark’s voice behind her made her jump.
‘As I’ll ever be.’
‘You’ll be fine. You’ll have them eating out of your hands in no time. You look great by the way,’ he smiled at her.
‘It shouldn’t be about how I look, but what I say.’
Mark held his hands up in protest. ‘I know. Sorry, that’s not what I meant. It was just a compliment.’
‘No, it’s me who should be sorry. I shouldn’t have snapped. Just feeling the pressure that’s all.’ She had reluctantly made more of an effort than usual. Some lipstick and mascara, which in itself irritated her.
She and Mark walked in silence to the glass fronted meeting room which boasted stunning views out over the bay, reminding her of why she was here.
‘Gentlemen,’ she nodded, scanning the room, making eye contact with everyone before she began her well-rehearsed presentation.
Mark looked on with pride. The panel members were clearly captivated and, although he knew better than to say to Nerida, he was pretty sure it wasn’t just her passion and knowledge which had them enraptured. With her natural grace, her long blonde hair and azure blue eyes, she looked like some sort of exquisite sea herself. Unfortunately, she could also be as unpredictable as a wild animal, particularly if provoked by idiots. And right now, she was surrounded by them.
She faltered when she came to the commercial side of the proposal.
‘And what about the obvious elephant in the room?’ Councillor Adams interrupted.
Oh, here we go, Mark tensed.
‘We have never seen so much as single dolphin in the bay. True, they may be much further out, but, and I think we can all agree,’ he paused, looking around the room for effect, ‘if we were to do boat trips, we’re far more likely to see them, maybe even have them swim alongside the boats, which would be a much more viable proposal.’
‘No! Absolutely not. They’re not playthings.’
‘Well, it appears we have reached a stale mate. However, might I remind you of who holds the purse strings here.’ Councillor Adams rose to his feet and gathered his papers.
Nerida scanned the audience, appraising them with her cool blue eyes. She was on the precipice of realising her dream, or losing it, unless she took drastic action. It galled her, but she had no choice.
‘Okay. I cannot stress enough the impact of increased activity, such as boats and humans, on the natural marine life and ultimately the whole research project, which will have a knock-on effect on any future research grants. But if I can guarantee you’d see dolphins and seals in the bay, that would be enough to forget this idea of organised boat trips, right?’
No one wanted to speak first.
Nerida kicked off her shoes and began undressing. ‘Don’t get too excited gentlemen, I have a wetsuit on underneath. Just give me a few more minutes of your time.’
‘Trust me,’ she mouthed at Mark. ‘Keep your eyes focused on the bay,’ she called, as she raced out of the room, leaving her audience in stunned silence.
They heard a high pitched, trilling sound below, followed by a flash of gold, streaking through the water.
Within moments a school of dolphins swam towards them, straight into the bay below, leaping, diving, and chattering playfully.
‘What the?…. Well, I’ll be damned.’
‘Like what you see gentleman?’ Councillor Adams spun around, his gaze darting between Nerida and the sea. ‘Quite a sight isn’t it? Now, where were we?’
Follow Kirsten Nairn on
my website https://kirstennairn.wordpress.com/
Find me at …