Saturday 1st November

Good morning! It’s so good to be back, and we hope you feel the same and are flexing your writing muscles in readiness for this, the first of 30 daily prompts. And remember, your response, or responses (!), need to be 30 or 300 words exactly. Click on ‘comments’ and post as soon as you’re inspired.


Scientific studies show that women can hold their breath underwater for longer than men. Don’t challenge any man to a competition though. Men underwater are far more dangerous than women.


  1. This missive’s sent with haste from West
    Cornwall – how strong the Celtic thirst
    To “message” (verb). It will not be the best
    You get. I bet it is the first.

  2. I am fire, he is water. Imposible mix, an astrologist once cautioned, sucking in her breath in sympathy.Yet here we are after thirty years sibilantly smouldering and steaming. Respectively.

  3. Little faces are floating at the water’s edge. They multiply by division, some overlap, others turn blank and wash up on the beach as jellyfish. Rain falls on the sea.

  4. The water softens their carapaces. Hanging in space, limbs curled, cheeks breath fat and hair a-drift, they appear vulnerable and in need of your love. You don't stand a chance.

  5. Underwater underwear is what they wear Down Under. Dangerous are just the sharks that care bubbles about the gender of the wearer and the ability thereof to hold his/her breath.

  6. Man overboard! We count our family, friends, pets. We number our neighbours, the community, school days. All the people we send Christmas cards to. Then we look the other way.

  7. Thanks, everyone, for a great start. 30 words isn't long, is it? But our brains like patterns - give yourselves 10 days and everything will arrive in 30 word bursts!

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  9. She watched his predatory gliding, finally deciding to take the plunge. Reaching into the depths she pulled the plug.
    Listening to the water gurgling, she turned away.
    Leaving him floundering.

  10. Margaret Daly screamed.

    A burst of bubbles popping on the surface were the only indication that she was in mortal peril. The daughter of an Olympic-standard swimmer, she could hold her breath longer than anyone she’d ever met, but she’d ignored the resort’s advice about not swimming alone in the scintillating azure of the Aegean Sea.

    Warm salt water seared her throat and set her lungs aflame as it replaced the air. Margaret thrashed, trying to free herself from the long fronds of the box jellyfish which shouldn’t have been present in this part of the world – not in November. Her legs were tingling with pain, the blood flow reducing as her pores swelled and her arteries closed. She could see the surface only a few feet above her, sunlight sparkling like diamonds over the calm surface.

    Blood clouded the water as she scraped her arm across the reef, razor-sharp coral lacerating her pale skin and peeling the flesh away as efficiently as a filleting knife leaving the muscle exposed. A part of her mind, detached from the horror of her death, wondered why it didn’t hurt more and why there was so little blood.

    Her muscles jerked again as the last of the air was displaced from her lungs, oxygen-starved blood bursting vessels in her head. Sight faded as her body relaxed, the fight replaced by a peace and a movement that was almost balletic in grace as she pirouetted in the warm current, spiraling into the depths.

    She watched her corpse sink, her spirit freed in the struggle and left behind in the shallows. They wouldn’t declare her missing for hours – probably not until after lunch when Jeff, her husband of four days, rose from his drunken slumber and wondered why she wasn’t there to bring him coffee.

  11. One negative comment and before long the drip trickles into a stream, a river, a waterfall. So I build defences but the downpour leaves me drowning in my own tears.


  12. Have you ever watched fat men in the water? They remind me of ‘Floating Islands’ – bellies of meringue above the surface of a custard sea. They make me feel hungry.

  13. I give birth best under water; in his waxy skin, like a fisherman’s catch, he searched the light, my water baby. It has taken him 15 years to become dangerous.

  14. Studies show that men have no hearts. Instead they have something altogether different: A capsule of emotion underneath the skin that dictates who they are. Men are driven by emotion.

  15. Below the waves, they smile closed mouthed. Out of focus, hindered by the bright colours of flimsy beachwear, had the dare gone too far? Too late, no time to judge, her legs entwine and grip, her hand reaches around to free him from his shorts - warm and rigid. She needs to hold, to claw, to press her mouth against his.

    His hands enclose, squeeze and fumble. His urge to thrust is dominated by her weightless clinging. Thwarted, he surrenders and she takes control.

    The beach front bar where their hips had pressed against each other flashes into her mind. The joking about better ways to work up a sweat than on a sunbed echoes repeatedly. Her mind is full. Her fingers grip his hair and pull his face close.

    Her neck snaps back and the silver surface ripples above. His back now arched in private ecstasy, his final shudder releases and he pushes away to break the shimmering mirror.

    Aroused and tortured, unfulfilled and longing she kicks for the surface. She straightens her briefs and swims for the shore. The first act is over and her legs shake - now for the main production.

    Somewhere close by, a tanned body and red shorts, rolls onto its back and luxuriates in the lapping of the sea. Unknown and unknowing his interest and arousal has done more than he would ever believe.

    She makes her way back to the poolside and strokes her husband’s arm.

    “Good dip darling?” He murmurs, not lifting his head from his book.

    She smiles and towels her hair. Eager, heart pounding, she straddles him to rub sun cream onto his chest. “I need something. I need something from you. Let’s go to the room for a time.”

    He smiles and rises, he knows her so well.

  16. Yay, when Your Messages 2008 burst
    Mike May was first!
    And with a word-count of thirty,
    There’s no room to play dirty,
    So welcome all
    Let’s have ourselves a ball!

  17. I chose him for danger. The way he choked on seaweed and made the bubbles sink. He spelt out my name, slowly. And I breathed in time with the moon.

  18. It takes us longer to die
    down here, as others fizz
    danger like shark teeth.
    Long enough to see the shimmering beauty
    of the sky through a surface of water.

    Sophie F Baker

  19. Sri Lankan women are famous for their beautiful long hair. Farmers use barbed wire fences. The Tsunami drove one into the other. They didn't drown, entangled they were scalped alive.

  20. Women dive,dignified,into the sea of life struggle and surface even underwater,
    men , egoistic suppress, choking your breadth underwater. Women display prowess,
    courageous emerge,successful from being submerged, lost.
    Radhamani sarma

  21. Forgiving

    "Come up for air, love," he said
    as she envied his sun-kissed skin.

    Green-gilled she swam
    to untangle their feet
    from nets caught in
    lipstick-red coral.

  22. Empirical evidence suggests that women lie about their number of sexual partners. Men merely exaggerate. To decipher a woman’s true number, times their answer by three. Better still, don’t ask.

  23. On 31st January her stomach churned. In their utilitarian hotel room six floors up, wailing sirens wove their route through the gaps in the window. She went to look but the height, the bustle and driving rain were too confusing. She raised her gaze to the building opposite, a silhouette obscuring the London skyline. She grew accustomed to the black view, tried to see what was inside but all she could make out were ghostly remnants of material flapping through the broken window panes and rows of pigeons on the sills. She shivered.

    At 4pm she called her son's mobile. He wished her luck. She was to be on first. She'd be alright, he said. It was to be their last contact before the event. When she'd pressed the red button, she lay on the bed and practised breathing as if reading her work out to an audience was the biggest thing anyone could do.

    It really was a big event, you see. Talented people. Proper writers. Brilliant writers. Writers from all over the place, there to celebrate. It did go OK, after all. She hoped that they didn't notice her nerves.

    At 4pm a young man had been driving along a country road in torrential rain when inexplicably, his car took off and hit two trees. His parents held their breath for thirteen days, waiting for him to regain consciousness, breathe and speak. He never did.

    She stood in the crematorium her stomach churning. She'd never been to a teenager's funeral. She tried to hold her breath, think of something else. What if she cried?

    A child's first breath of life comes with a scream, the last is always someone else's. Some things are bigger than you. Like his parents when they stood up to speak at the service.

  24. “Row, row, row your boat… ” Oh, yes, we rowed, our brother and me. Down the stream and onto the great wide oceans, where maelstroms opened up on every side; outside, inside. Having added half a bottle of cheap pink syrup to the tempered water, we then proceeded to sink our boat with fluffy foam, strawberry scented. We whirled our hands like turboprops, singing loudly through the tempest. Then the flight stopped, as we admired a job well done and the changing landscape. The arctic. Dividing the foam into two pillows we let our bodies sink down into soft armchairs and shrieked as the skin on our back touched the freezing enamel. We lengthened our legs, slowly, the rippling of the surface hidden by mist. Our feet touched knees, invaded a centimeter of the thigh, then another, into foreign territory, forbidden territory. We attacked. We made white pirate hats and bunny ears, and launched cannonballs that stopped midair, falling down like white doves. Ammunition dwindled, though we kicked some more. But I could hold my breath under water. For a very long time. Show time. I turned around, sat on my knees, threw back my head to fill my lungs and plunged like a giant white whale. Captain Ahab awoke, grabbed his harpoon. Spotting a crust on my lower back he quickly approached to inspect. First a trying poke, a test. Then, with his sharp fingernail, he expertly separated crust from skin, drawing a drop of blood, bringing the beast roaring out of the abyss. I howled, splashed, bellowed with fury and wounded pride, scaring Ahab into my little brother, into his corner, his back touching the dripping tap. No words coming to his rescue, he launched a final deadly attack, as a spurt of liquid heated our rapidly cooling bathwater.

  25. Would of course love to have "our brother" changed into "my brother", "oceans" into "ocean" and this post deleted... Sorry!

  26. The water swooshes around our ankles, hands clasped like a shell. Staring across the ocean we wish closeness yet feel ourselves part like the murmuring waves sliding from the beach.

  27. He rests his hand on the wall--just above my head--and leans closer, his lips spreading to reveal a shark's smile. The game is over. He has won. Again.

  28. Down, down, down into the deep,
    Shiny irridescent pearls the prize.
    Only she could reach them
    With one breath.
    He watched for her return,
    So cunningly he could take them.

  29. 'Penny for your thoughts.'


    'Penny for your thoughts,' repeated Husband. 'You've been staring out to sea for ages.'

    I looked down and drew a wavy pattern in the sand with my toes. 'I was just wondering whether to go for a paddle,' I said.

    I wasn't. I don't like the sea.

    The mention of pennies reminded me of my swimming lessons. We were made to duck under the water to pick up pennies from the bottom of the pool. I hated it. I didn't go again.

    'I'll teach you to swim,' said Husband last year as we sat on a beach similar to this one.

    I eventually managed five strokes without breathing then I had to stop and gasp for air.

    'Come on, you're doing fine,' said Husband. 'Swim out to me.'

    I did, and he moved back. Two extra strokes and he moved back further. I tried to put my feet down by I was out of my depth. I panicked. I lunged towards him and grabbed hold of his shoulders. A person drowning is stronger than a person treading water no matter how muscular they are.

    I pulled him down with me. My lungs ached. I couldn't reach the surface.

    Strong, powerful arms pushed Husband away and grabbed hold of me. A hand lifted me above the water and I felt the air on my face. Sweet, beautiful air.

    I was carried ashore.

    He was a hunk. A dark, Italian hunk.

    Husband arrived a few minutes later red faced and panting, but I hardly noticed. I was watching hunk's butt as he swaggered across the beach.

    A penny for my thoughts? You must be joking. They're worth far more than that.

    Perhaps I will go for that paddle after all. I think I need to cool down.

  30. Men everywhere are more dangerous than women. Ask anyone. Ask Marjorie, tossed overboard, left for dead, bullet hole streaming ribbons of red throughout the sea, his laugh echoing above her.

  31. The danger was there, real not imagined. She had been swimming since she was kneehigh to a tadpole. She’d heard tales about them but there was never any sign that the dangerous manfish lurked in these waters. Truth be told, as a young girl the manfish stories had seemed even less real than those of the mermaids, and sea monsters, but leaving childish things behind the story of the manfish grew more real.
    She sat on the shore watching the waves rolling in. It was the summer of her 17th year. She had come almost every single day to play on the beach with her girlfriends. Together they would wander down the beach in a pack laughing a bit too loudly as they neared the boys playing beach volleyball. Pretending to be indifferent to the catcalls from the surfer dudes that they passed.
    She believed she might still be resistant to the manfish, none of the other girls in her group had succumbed. Of course, not one of them had entered the water, not all summer. Oh sure, they had walked along the edge, even wandered in up to their knees but no further. Pretending they were disinterested in getting wet. But today was different. It was 102 in the shade, too hot to sit and bake on the sand.
    Making her way down to the water, glancing up and down seeing nothing but the children playing on their boogie boards, older men and women bobbing up and down in the water and the surfers off in the distance, she felt she was safe enough and ran on in.
    She dove below a rising wave and came up on the otherside. He was there of course, looking harmless but she knew he was about to drag her into dangerous waters.


  32. The deep, boundless, oceanic bed opened my soul for an outpour of verbosity where 75% is matter and the rest, mineral.

    5% of the population would probably imbibe this well.

  33. Just posted my response as CollB

    Below are my name/email address details:


  34. Entwined with seaweed, her limbs weak from undertow,
    he swims – he will have her – ecstasy – she prays
    to Circe – howling sea vomits. Ambulance sirens
    retrieve him – she exhales.

  35. Time will tell, I have patience. Bubbles rise to reveal your presence and like love, I strike. I lust for your music, flashing scales draw me to the waters edge.


  36. Sia can hold her breath underwater for longer than Samuel, Samuel can hold his breath underwater for longer than Fynn, Fynn for longer than Ney. But Ney does it open-eyed.


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