We have been overwhelmed this year by the quality of short stories we were sent, so much so it was hard to choose a winner! Thank you to everyone that entered, we really enjoyed reading your stories and all the tales of Midnight. This story By Siân Cann really transported us to this mysterious seascape and we were hooked..
She shivered, pulling her robe tightly around her and moving closer to the dying embers of the fire. Her eyes flickered up to look at the clock hanging on the wall, every tiny movement of the second hand bringing her closer and closer to midnight. The night was charged with anticipation in its breath-held second before the hour struck, and as it finally exhaled, she leapt up with whimsical resolve, heading through the cabin door and into the veiled outside.
Her tiptoe run across the bay was as poetic and purposeful as the wind whispering to the ginkgo leaves, their night-time voices leading her to magic where the land meets the sea. She paused at the edge of the jetty, teetering gracefully, and savoured the moment as she slinked out of her silken robe and shimmied out of her delicates, watching their inky splendour melt into the palette of the night.
Only then did she allow herself to look down into the water, and she thrilled with pleasure to see that she had chosen the right time, the right place; for there, below her feet, was the phosphorescence of the sea. The disturbed algae, dancing in the changing tides, emitted a brilliant blue, creating a brief glimpse into another realm. The phenomenon had stirred her soul since she stood on these shores as a young woman, when she was just discovering the fires that could bloom within her soul.
She dove from the edge of the jetty, an elegant brushstroke suspended for a moment, and then the phosphorescence surrounded her in a sea of stars, lighting her way to the surface. Treading water on the edge of this strange kingdom, the ripples became fireworks spreading out from her fingers, and she felt flickers of bioluminescent blue within her too. She smiled, tracing patterns of tulle on the glowing surface, and storing the majesty of the moment and the wonder of the world.
After a time, she returned to the land, brimming to share the secrets the sea had shown her. Sleeking back along the jetty, she pulled the robe once more around her, wearing the midnight hour like a spell; a mysterious sweet strength stored inside her, a blushing aura of alchemy emanating from her. A vessel of the night, she slipped back into the cabin and poured herself into the tangled sheets, swirling into her lover like shivers of light on the ocean’s surface.