Monday, 31 August 2015

Flash Fiction - The Boat

It was not such a typical day on the island.

The people gathered along the sand, as the children frolicked in the clear waves. The boat was heading right for shore, the water parting at it's bow and throwing froth into the air.

One lady stood and sighed. She leant towards the woman standing aside her, 'What do you think will happen?' she asked.

The woman stayed stood up right, watching the children laughing and playing at the waters edge. 'I think that the children will squabble far more than before...' She laughed.

'You know what I mean Saraswati.' She said, smiling a little at the old lady's charm. 'Do you think this will change the way the children think?'

Saraswati smiled. The wrinkles around her eyes accentuated her gentleness and love of happiness. 'Yes Aini, I do believe it will change the children.'

'For the better?' Aini's voice was brimming with anxiety.

Saraswati hugged Aini close to her and kissed her atop the head. 'Perhaps...' she answered. 'Each of our children are individuals, each will react and grow in their own way. With this we will be able to stay connected to the world. You've no need to be apprehensive, the world is changing, we will do well not to be forgotten.'

Aini sighed once more. 'You are right Saraswati.' She looked back out to the sea. The boat was getting closer, no longer a speck on the horizon the sound of the engine was coming clear.

'They say it's all the worlds knowledge gathered in a single place Aini. Vast pages of information waiting to be read.'

'Like a library?' Aini's innocence was clear and crisp.

'Yes, I suppose it is like a library. A library with more books in it than you can imagine, but it is small enough for you to carry.'

'Small enough to carry...' Aini furrowed her brow. 

'What concerns you so child?' questioned Saraswati.

'I must admit that I am worried. I have a feeling that the children will do nothing more than obsess over this. I fear we will lose them in this technology. What if they are exposed to how the world sees us?'

'And how do you think the world sees us?'


"How do you know of such a word?"

"From books. I heard it on the radio once."

'Do you think that we are underdeveloped?'


'Then why do you concern yourself with what others think? As long as you know who you are no-one can take that away from you.'

'Yes Saraswati, but what people say can influence the way we see ourselves and the people that we become. I don't want this to bring negativity to our village.'

'Oh Aini, you sound like my grandmother. When they first proposed to bring electricity to our island she was completely against the idea. 'It will cause nothing but trouble' she had said, 'just another way to become disconnected from the Earth'. Now, would you like to live without the convenience of electricity?'


'That is fair. Do you think that we as a community have become less connected with the Earth and our rituals?'

'No Saraswati.'

'Aini... I am not saying that you are wrong to feel this way, just that we must live in hope to see how best to utilise the tools that life gives to us.'

The roar of the engine engulfed Saraswati's voice. The children began squealing and throwing themselves around in the water, grabbing at the rope and pulling it to shore. This prized possession in the belly of the boat, this machine was a link to a world beyond the villagers knowledge. Some were inquisitive, some indifferent, some apprehensive.

'Ibu! Ibu! It has arrived! The computer is here!' 

Aini's child pulled at her skirt. 'I know Garuda. Go and join your friends and welcome the men from the boat.' She stroked Garuda's hair before he dashed across the sand. She watched the joy in the face of her son and she shed a tear.

Saraswati was right, she must live in hope.

© 2015 AJG 

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