Short story: Morbid obsession


Rex still walked the beach early each morning with Charlie, before the nudists arrived with their sun cream and sandwiches. Rex told himself it was because the dog needed walking; he didn’t acknowledge, even to himself, that it had become a morbid obsession. As soon as Rex let Charlie off the lead, the dog raced across the shingle, scattering the gulls like sheets of newsprint into the wind. Rex kicked through the debris of the night’s high tide, looking for the remnants of other people’s lives – items lost, or discarded, or like Freya’s clothes, left in a tidy pile on the sand.


I’m currently working on my second book, playing around with ideas and characters, and this is one proto-scene. There’s definitely a character who lives beside the sea, so this was a perfect picture for me, provided by E.A Wicklund for this week’s Friday Fictioneers writing group – where writers from all over the world write about 100 words using a photo as inspiration. Click here to read other people’s and to join in. And please comment below with any suggestions for improvement on mine.

26 thoughts on “Short story: Morbid obsession

  1. Dear Claire,

    One man’s morbid obsession is another man’s yearning for lost love. I very much enjoyed your story this week. As others have mentioned, the writing is wonderful and evocative. The gulls scattering likes sheets of newsprint still lingers in my mind, as does the image of Freya’s neatly piled clothes. Very well done.




  2. Fantastic details in here to hint of so much more. I wonder if Freya’s clothes in a tidy pile mean she’s a nudist, rather than being murdered as another commenter mentioned. If so, she’s a patient nudist to leave a tidy pile and not scattering her clothes like those gulls like newsprint — a wonderful comparison that fits so nicely.


  3. Wonderful!Totally pulls me into the scene… I can imagine this as a very compelling opening to a novel. I immediately want to know more about Freya, and what part of this ritual has become an obsession, for Rex. There is something that gives me a chill here, making me anticipate something more sinister. Really great writing! Good luck on your 2nd novel. I too am struggling with that….


  4. I have no idea what is happening, but maybe I do. Maybe Freya left her clothes on the beach and went for one of those midnight swims one never returns from. I loved the seagulls scattering like newspapers. You write very well. Keep it up.


  5. I love the turns of phrase you use, “scattering the gulls like sheets of newsprint into the wind.” … “items lost, or discarded, or like Freya’s clothes, left in a tidy pile on the sand.” great use of words.


  6. You made good use of your YouTube research, that’s a great description. It will be interesting to see whether Freya shows up, or washes up…


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