The scorching sun pressed into Linda’s skin and left blotchy white patches before her eyes and she tried to focus her vision. She looked under the rim of her sunglasses and watched as her toes dangled lightly in the clear waters, sometimes appearing bloated under the warm ocean currents, sometimes resurfacing to reflect the afternoon rays. Her painted toenails danced orange amongst the blueness of the sea, little setting suns, bouncing up and down over the expanse of water on the horizon, seemingly undecided on settling in for the night.


Linda pushed her head back, face raised in surrender to the hot sun, arms stretched out behind to support her lean body.




Linda turned around to see a little brown boy standing shyly a few steps away from her, hands clasped together on his chest, eyes wide and big in his bony face. There were so many brown boys of his type here. All skinny, little, with big bulging eyes, the whites tinged with a sickly yellow; the hazel or dark brown, sometimes almost black, rimming the pupils in an oddly beautiful manner.


She had wanted to relax today without the need to deal with these little beggars. But she supposed one had to deal with such things when vacationing in a remote location in the less developed part of the world. It’s all part of the deal, the receptionist at the backpacker hostel had informed her rather pointedly when Linda had complained about the numbers of locals hurrying after her everywhere she went. The little spa off the corner of the little town was perhaps the only location she could get away to and be marvellously undisturbed.


“Lydia, darling, where have you been? I’ve been searching all over this Godforsaken place for you. I’ve been up since eight this morning and there hasn’t been a single staff member who could comprehensively tell me where you’d gone! I said: the girl with the red flower in her hair – she always wears it that way – where is she? None of them, not one could tell me-”


Linda turned her her cheek against the brilliance of the sun, angling her gaze towards the verbal storm coming her way, and was not surprised to see Sylvia Crawford ambling towards her, her big frame emphasised by the light, colourful Balinese tunic she had acquired two days ago at the street market on the other side of town. She had tagged along with Linda for a “cultural excursion”, as she had expressed it. It had unsurprisingly turned into an uncontrollable shopping spree, leaving Sylvia utterly exhausted and whining for a glass of wine back at the resort instead of the cultural attractions she’d promised to accompany Linda on.


“It’s Linda, darling, and I do see what you mean,” Linda crossed one lean leg over the other, observing the tan lines that had formed on her feet from the sandals she always wore. Tiny lines, but she would have to right that. More walking barefoot on the beach, she decided.


“Yes, well, it’s already two o’clock, and I still haven’t had anything to eat. Been searching for you forever!” The older woman plumped her figure down ungracefully beside Linda, and plopped her swollen feet into the perfectly cooling and, at the same time, deeply warming water.


Linda sighed. She had succeeded to avoid Sylvia for a good part of the day. Perhaps it was only fair she gave the lonely divorcee some attention. After all, it wasn’t like she wanted to chat to the brown boys mulling excitedly at the corners of the beach under the shade of the trees, probably planning another strategic attack on the unsuspecting visitors.

Next chapter


This is a very good story, Anna. I hope others comment as I may have missed a point that might be helpful. Your character description and location description left me thinking, "that sound's like a fabulous holiday." That is except foe the beggar boys. I would  like to have seen an intereaction between Linda and a brown boy that revealed her feelings about him. You've done it well with Sylvia but the real story is that of the brown boys and Linda. For example, why are their berggars? We get a light description of her feeling towards them. I'd like to see her body language and and hear her voice as she encounters the boy. This could lead into an engaging story. Give the boy some back story and Linda. Maybe Sylvia if she is also plays a part in the story's direction. Great stuff. I can see your writing really developing.