Wednesday 5 August 2009

STRANDWOLF - by Susan Eames

Another debutant: Susan...


Gela trudged seawards, weaving her way through a moonscape of boulders laced with lichen. Camera bags dragged her arms.

The unpredictable Atlantic lay subdued under fog; a glittering fog that frequently shrouded the ocean along this stretch of the Skeleton Coast .

A rotting Cape fur seal was splayed in grisly abandon. Nostrils quivering, Gela skirted the seal and crunched across a thousand shells to the shoreline. Bleached, salt-stung whale bones lay scattered and forlorn.

Glutinous brown kelp thrived in the shallows. The kelp bunched so thickly, the sludge-green waves struggled to lap the shore. Gela set up her tripod and began shooting in the watery-grey light.

The torpid slip-slop of the waves deepened subtly; fog was almost tickling her toes.

A strandwolf loped along the beach, scenting the seal. Gela turned towards the carcass thinking to photograph the hyena scavenging on the carrion.

She heard its excited yip and bent to adjust her lens. The fog rolled in. Damn! Damp tendrils caressed and chilled. Gela ’s equipment was too precious to risk in the moisture laden air. It was time to go.

She picked her way around the boulders and tangles of salty shrubs, straining to see her way in the pearly light.

A familiar stench assaulted her like a slap. She heard a shuffling sound. The dead seal coalesced out of the fog. Christ, she had walked a circle!

The strandwolf yipped. Gela halted. Shadows flickered in the muffled light. She spun about. The strandwolf yipped again but the fog distorted the sound so effectively she couldn’t tell its location. She forced herself to relax. The bad light was making her paranoid. Lone hyenas weren’t dangerous; they only attacked live prey that was either hurt or vulnerable.

The strandwolf giggled softly as the glittering fog blinded her.

Susan Eames is primarily a freelance travel writer. She has written travel and dive features for publications in Spain , Fiji , New Zealand , Australia and Papua New Guinea. With only one short story published by Writing Magazine in 2005, she has never considered herself to be a fiction writer. However she has recently discovered a passion for flash fiction.


  1. Well written, atmospheric, tasty debut!

  2. Great piece, if your travel pieces are half as atmospheric you'll be making people reach for the suitcases!

  3. Atmospheric's the word...

    I could smell the brine, taste the salt, feel the damp air in my bones. A very good read.

  4. Thank you! Vivid description alongside gripping prose is always my aim, whether I'm writing fiction or travel pieces. Glad you liked it.