The Lure | Short Story

And cast…

Wind it in, wind it in, wind it in…

The line lands noiselessly between the waves. Arthur hasn’t got long – a great grandfather’s absence at a christening for any length of time is bound to cause concern. He has not gone far – the music is still faintly audible down here on the darkling pier.

And cast…

Wind, wind…

Arthur’s fingers never used to hurt when he spun for mackerel. His hands didn’t used to look like this, either – thick-knuckled and eel-veined.

And cast…

Here is where the old man feels most at ease. He prefers the relentless chundering of wave over rock to the thump, thump of the music the young ones like today. He chooses the soft winking lights up the coast to the strobes and coloured bulbs they have on Top of the Pops.

Arthur is not understood by his family, not really. How could he be? His life overlaps with most of theirs only at the frayed edges. There is not much to talk about. All those who knew him best lie behind him or as he would have it, in front of him. The wind smells of Atlantic salt.


Under that timorous swell slumber Arthur’s true friends, weightless in their rusting iron caskets. Cruisers, destroyers, and subs all sail on darkened seas beneath him, awaiting his boarding. Soon. His spinning lure, shining in the rising moon, is a promise to his shipmates that there is one more yet to come aboard. Sink down, my beauty.

There is a heightened blare of music and a voice calls for Arthur. His granddaughter, worried that he has wandered and got lost. This lass who only passed her driving test last year looking out for a man who had ridden fifty-foot waves before her mother was born.

Wind it in, wind it in…

Arthur calls up to the girl so that she doesn’t worry. His watch is not yet at an end. To the party he must return. The tip of Arthur’s fishing rod bows over the water as something, perhaps seaweed, perhaps not, catches the lure. His friends will wait, heads tipped back towards the surface.

*Thanks for reading, folks. Pictures courtesy of Wallpaperflare and ebay. My recent flash fiction includes ‘Wire’ and ‘Method in the Madness’.

Matthew Richardson is a writer of short stories. His work has featured in Gold Dust magazine, Literally Stories, Near to the Knuckle, McStorytellers, Penny Shorts, Soft Cartel, Whatever Keeps the Lights On, and Shooter magazine. He is a doctoral student at the University of Dundee, a lucky husband, and a proud father.

Not necessarily in that order

15 thoughts on “The Lure | Short Story

  1. Beautiful tribute to war veterans, Matthew! Love that disconnect the MC feels between his current duties as a family man during peacetime and his wistful longing for his old brothers-in-arms.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The narrative floats so gently over the dark depths of the older man’s experience and your words conjure up a myriad of images: the gentle pull of the fishing rod and the faces of the dead floating beneath the waves. Beautifully done, Matthew.

    Liked by 2 people

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