The Red Tide by Ian Moore

I knew the red tide would gradually creep in. That the lethargic lull of muddied waves would slowly collect the shoreline to take away with the season. That's when I noticed my aunt was disappearing. Each piece of her becoming a different color, each piece blending into the grey of city streets she wandered for days. Written like the outline of the tides, so it was in the timeline of her skin; gutters, cracks in the concrete, broken pores soaking up the run-off of liquor and heroin.

I was sixteen or so then. Lost on my own vessel, pretending my teenage sails had faltered and torn. Yet, buoyed on shore were four young cousins. Never noticing the anchor at their feet, or the worn planks exhausted from the tides fight, or when my family came to visit, how the air, dense an thick like the current, filled our lungs full of cotton.

Later then, when the bathroom light tested me to piss blindly, slivers of moonlight shone scarce. I pattered barefoot through the hallway, tracing the tips of my right hand as a brace and direction along the wall.

The door sat open to the room of my youngest cousin; a spotlight from the moon at its base. Passing by, corners of her room were lit up. My uncle, bare-chested, fearful, holding her tight with his bear-like arms, keeping them from the riptides of the world. It was then I remembered the picture of my uncle as a young body builder. He posed as solid and tense as a tree. His legs immovable; rooted by the sunlight, rooted in the glisten of curves and ripples.

I studied him, my pupils adjusting to the darkness, never before noticing how strong he actually was.

Ian Moore is 27 years of age, somewhat employable and currently a Journalist, but only by accident. His first story, Bedroom Conversations, will appear online next month through Underground Voices.