Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it.
Balthazar was the fisherman who never taught his children his trade. If anything, he sought to direct his sons and daughters away from the water and what it held; an impossible task, for they lived on an island.
Most of the townspeople were fishermen or fishermen’s wives. Some worked in the rarified industries of the giant mammals: ambergris, scrimshaw, et al. A disreputable few pulled antiquated cannonballs from the sea, and sold them – either for surplus metal or to collectors. The weighty cannonballs often smashed through the flimsy wooden bottoms of the cheap skiffs, escaping back into the darkness, and drowning those who had disturbed them.
Since his childhood, Balthazar had grown to despise the sea. Mysterious events occurring in youth had developed this disposition in him, with his father and brothers being absorbed, one at a time, over the course of many years, into the fog, never to return.
Of all his children, Balthazar’s son, Van Johnson, had the most distinct relationship with the water. He had never set foot in the ocean. In conversation, he sometimes found it difficult to describe what ‘deep’ was. He had never been submerged below his chest, and that was only in the family’s bathtub.
On an island where all found employ and sustenance from the sea, Van Johnson looked to the skies. The stars and their configurations seemed to draw him into a trance. Balthazar would often be required to fetch his son, in the early morning, what with his charge having fallen asleep in a light drizzle.
On that peculiar night, Van Johnson sat out on the lawn. Looking past the rows of clapboard houses that separated his family’s brick home from the shore, he saw a strange disc in the sky. It was seamless in its construction, and possibly devised of some whirling silver liquid.
It bobbed just over the waves, like a hovering insect struggling against the wind. Van assumed it was causing some sort of disturbance on the water, but the scene was eerily quiet, as if the effect of one of the participants (the disk, the sea,) had been magically edited from the senses.
Instantly, from behind him, from the rows of plants that decorated the brick walkway to his home, Van Johnson could perceive three men in black cloaks. Despite the unforgiving lack of light, it was plain that their garments were woven from a very modern material. Simultaneously darker than the surrounding night, yet alarmingly easily perceived by the human eye. Like flickers of silver in the air.
One of the men in black cupped his hands to his own mouth.
“All praise! He’s found the awful truth, Balthazar! He’s found the saucer news!”