The red and white boat bobbed slowly down the river, past stone house after stone house, wandering from one bank to the other. Other boat captains shouted, swore, and people in the streets laughed, making jokes about the captain having a bit too much to drink. It was a while before anyone took it seriously.

The small police motorboat latched onto it like a parasite onto a shark, two officers scaling the side. They walked over the empty deck and pulled open a door, looking inside. Seat after seat sat empty. Coats, shoes, and bags lay all around. Packets of crisps and cold coffee spilt over the floor. There wasn’t a soul to be seen.

Thirty-six people were reported missing that day, all vanished without a trace. The only clue as to where they’d gone was a word scrawled on the deck in black ink.


Word Count: 146

This is for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. Thanks to Priceless Joy for running the challenge and Louise for providing the prompt photo!

  1. Where did all the people go? Chilling! Great story, J.A.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Iain Kelly says:

    Brilliant last wors sent shivers down the spine. Terrifying. Expertly done.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Terrific last line. Sent a chill down my spine.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mandibelle16 says:

    What happened to all those people? I really want to know, is it like the rapture in Revelations? But if it was, I think more people than on the boat would be gone. Plus the word ‘underneath’ — were their souls/bodies stolen? What’s your theory? Great write!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brilliant story. Great suspense and just enough creep.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. yarnspinnerr says:

    Great opening …. hope you follow it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. swritings says:

    Great suspense! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. milliethom says:

    Excellent story! By the second paragraph I was interpreting it as a suspenseful piece of sci-fi – until I read that great last line. That one word makes it anyone’s guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. afairymind says:

    A wonderfully intriguing story, J.A.! What is ‘underneath’? It brings to my mind the ‘upsidedown’ of Stranger Things. o_O

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ameena k.g says:

    I like that you left the ending to our imagination 😄. Haha, to think everyone thought the sailor was just drunk! Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

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