Sunday Photo Fiction: Scull and Crossed Bones

Every week a photo is used as a prompt for a piece of fiction of around 200 words. If you want to have a go, then take a look here.

If you want to see what others have written, then click on the little blue ribbit monster.

63 06 June 8th 2014

I look out at the sea as my partner brings the blades down to the water’s edge. My heart is racing as I turn around and smile at her. She nods to me and holds her hands up to show they are shaking. We have trained for this moment for two years. We have told no one, not even our families, our loved ones, our friends. I have not even told my dog.

I give my partner a hug and kiss her on the forehead. I wipe a tear from her cheek at the same time as she does the same to me. We climb aboard with me at the front and her behind, and set our feet on the bars.

The sunrise is barely kissing the horizon as we set off as quietly as possible. As we move further out, we start rowing in earnest, knowing what depends on us.

Five hours later, the tears are streaming down my face as my body screams for me to stop, and I hear my partner sobbing behind me, knowing she is going through the same thing. I look behind me and see the beach.

Three soldiers come out waist deep and pull us to shore. Hands lift us out of the scull and I look over to see my partner’s lifeless eyes staring up. The strain burst her heart. I try to take the message from my breast pocket, but my arms will not move. I try to speak, but am unable to. I hear a kind voice from behind me; “It’s alright son. You done well”. I feel darkness start to overcome me; the last thing I hear is “These two gave their lives to give us confirmation of German numbers. Prepare your men for tomorrow, June 6th. D-Day”


This story shattered the 200 word mark, and went into the 300s. I did not want to cut anything though, as I wanted to write something to honour those that fought, and died, on the beaches of Normandy 70 years ago this weekend.

34 thoughts on “Sunday Photo Fiction: Scull and Crossed Bones

  1. So many unsung heroes. And time appropriate. I visited the Normandy beaches a short while ago and have recently read Antony Beevor’s ‘D-Day: The Battle for Normandy” (I rarely read non-fiction so it was a bit of a slog). All very moving as is your short piece.

    • Thank you Patrick. The people behind the scenes are rarely mentioned and some of them were the ones that made it possible.

  2. Beautiful story…interesting enough I started reading a book by Daniel Silva called The Unlikely Spy and it talks about espionage and the invasion at Normandy. I had no clue what it was about when I decided to read the book. Perfect timing…. 🙂

    • There was a bit on the news yesterday, it was about some people who were retracing the “steps” of people in the second world war who travelled 90 miles in five days in canoes to bomb a shipyard.

      • This book gives an awesome accounting of the “invisible army” and how they tried to make the Germans believe there were 1 million men about the invade Calais. I had no clue about any of that. I am getting a history lesson! 🙂

        • Wow. It seems that my fictional story may have had a ring of truth to it. I never knew that at all. They must have left from here. As I look out of my window, I can see Calais.

          • I don’t know if you like books of espionage but this one is good if you ever get around to reading it. It is the first in a series…. (a first for me, I am still trying to decide if I am going to go on to the next one)

            • I will look into it. I like serials. One series I read (reed not red) has over 200 books in it. There are standalones in that series and serials in it. One serial in that series has 15 books. Then immediately after has a serial of 3, then 9 then a standalone, then 9

            • At the moment I am reading Love in the Time of Cholera, but the series and serials are all Star Wars books. Which is why I know I am going to be seriously disappointed with the new film. It has Chewbacca in it, and he dies in one of the books.

            • Oh no…. I have seen all of the movies. But I haven’t read any of the Star Wars books. I would be very upset if Chewbacca died 😦 I don’t think I will see any more movies….
              Swimming is a very physical exercise that uses all of the muscles of the body. I’m sure your Dr knows what is best, but it must be difficult to have those limitations.
              I have been in water all of my life and even took a Life Saving course in college. That is how I know how long it took me to swim a mile. I think I had to do it in under 20 min to pass my final. HA! Not now…..

            • 22 miles. It is the closest point between the two land masses. It’s also where the channel swimmers go from. One person swum the channel in under 7 hours. It’s amazing the strength they have

            • Well that’s cool…. I had heard of Calais but didn’t know where it was. I can’t imagine swimming across a pool anymore and I used to do a mile in about 22 min when I was young. OMG! I’m old 😦

            • I have never been a strong swimmer, I didn’t learn until I was 13, and now the specialist has said I am not to swim anyway as it will do more damage than good on my back

  3. Their act was a noble sacrifice. This is a fitting tribute to the men and women who assisted the war effort in so many ways. It’s heartening to see that so many people still care so passionately about a key moment in our history.

    • I have been amazed at the amount of stories that have come out of this scull to do with it, and like you, I find it uplifting.

  4. Very touching. I like the warmth the couple have for each other. It made her death that much more painful. This is a wonderful tribute Al. You did a lot of folks a great honor.

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