Sail Forth – Bronwyn Hughes

Bronwyn Hughes is a certified public accountant who recently completed her MFA in creative writing from Randolph College. She enjoys filmmaking, beekeeping, and boating on the many creeks and rivers feeding the Chesapeake Bay. Bronwyn lives in Tidewater, VA, with her partner and a Maine coon cat. Her writing works has appeared in Atherton Review, Clackamas Literary Review, Evening Street Review, Isele Magazine, Hawaii Pacific Review, and Sinister Wisdom.

Wide awake, watching the strawberry moon rise and set over the tidal creek outside my bedroom window, I replayed the scene from yesterday in my mind. I couldn’t blame my insomnia on my ex-husband’s snoring anymore. Nor could I blame it on waiting for my daughter to return from a faraway sailing regatta. Both had moved out last fall, leaving me alone in the oversized house. 

A harrowing screech tore open the night. Gunshots and a string of profanity followed the gruesome sounds of a fox attack on my neighbor’s chickens. They must have forgotten to lock the coop again. I rose to slam my window closed.

Giving up on sleep, I wrapped myself in my terry cloth robe and slipped downstairs to make a mug of instant. I couldn’t be bothered to brew the perfect cup at home. Not since I started managing my father-in-law’s gourmet coffee shop in town. 

I caught my breath. 

Just my own reflection in the glass doors. During the day, those doors framed a perfect view of the Chesapeake Bay, but at night I wondered who might be out there. I turned off the light and watched the blue flames flicker on the stovetop. When the kettle hissed, I flinched again. My heart raced, reminding me how Coach Kent had whistled a cocky little tune as he followed too close behind me on the stairs to my father-in-law’s conference room. 

It began last fall, shortly after he chose my daughter, Amber, to be on the varsity sailing team. He knew I wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize her chance at a college sailing scholarship. Late one night, on the way home from a regatta I was chaperoning, he stopped the van at a Krispy Kreme. As the teens spilled out to run inside, he slid his hand up my blouse. I froze, trapped by the fear of making a scene in front of my daughter and her friends. Once they had all disappeared inside the store, I clamped my hand on his and wriggled out, telling him firmly to stop. When the kids returned, he reached for me again, knowing I would stay quiet. Sometimes he sent dick pics afterward with the note, “Thinking of you.” 

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

  1. Shelley Napier says:

    Great short story. Feels all too real to me.
    Thanks for writing it

Leave a Reply