Friday Fictioneers – In the Depths

Madison Woods’ Friday Fictioneers has an interesting photo prompt this week. The clouds look almost like waves; they remind me of one of those ambiguous pictures where you don’t know which perspective is the right one – so I wrote a story assuming that the rolling white breakers are the top of the water…

In the Depths

Everybody loves riding the waves. But you have to learn not to look down. It’s all right when the water is choppy and foamy, but sometimes things grow calm – and then you see them. The ghost cities, drowned and empty.

Children weep when they first notice the underwater towers. Parents soothe them by saying it’s only a trick of light and water on ordinary reefs. I believed that when I was little, and then my friends and I dared each other to swim down and touch the coral.

It’s not coral.

People lived down there under the water, once. How? Why? When? I don’t know. But we don’t look down any more.

22 responses to “Friday Fictioneers – In the Depths

  1. “ghost cities, drowned and empty” — that’s really great.

  2. brill description with imagination! gives me shivers!

  3. This is a truly spectacular story! I understood it to mean sea levels had risen decades, perhaps centuries ago, and whole cities had ended up below sea level. The clouds in the photo do look like the underside of ocean waves. Very clever, well written, and apocalyptic (my favorite genre).

    • Thank you! It really did start from the strange appearance of the clouds – but as often happens, once I wrote it I started thinking about what it might “really” mean – it could be a global warming story, or a more general story about historical disasters, or just about the way we tend to hide from and pretty up uncomfortable truths about the past. “Apocalyptic” is a pretty good description, anyway.

  4. A really original take on the prompt. I like the fact you’ve focused on the reaction of the children – it draws us in to the sadness of the drowned city.

  5. A really original take on the prompt. I had to look again at the picture, and I could see it all through the eyes of the narrator. Nice work.

    • Thank you! I’ll admit the photo doesn’t look exactly like ocean waves, but it doesn’t look like typical clouds either – I suppose that’s what makes it an interesting image.

  6. I liked this. Shades of Atlantis. We live on a fragile planet – each age taking their environment for granted. Your piece exposes that. Well written.

    • Thanks! Yes – there are whole sunken coastal areas in northern Europe that people lived in once, and around the eastern end of the Mediterranean there are a couple of Roman towns just offshore, underwater. (Probably similar things in other parts of the world, but those are the examples I’ve read about.) Glad you like it!

  7. I love your stories,always a surprise 🙂

  8. Quite an imaginative piece, Sharon. I found myself wanting to dive into the water and explore the sunken city.
    I’m #18 on the list.

  9. My first thought was a modern day Atlantis. But as you say, there are so many remnants of life under the waters (risen or not), that your story is in good company! Very nice!

  10. Wow, my mind went in so many directions after I read this. Could be a lost atlantis, could be post-apocalyptic. Whatever it is, I love it! Great story!

    • Thanks 😀 😀 !

      I haven’t decided myself whether it’s a lost Atlantis (or real-life Atlantis analogue), or post-apocalypse, or even another world – so your mind is welcome to any explanation of the situation you like.

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