Login   Sign Up 


Their Throwing Arms

by Ian Smith 100 

Posted: 22 October 2005
Word Count: 481
Summary: He ran back to where he’d left the car with some idea of looking at the sea. He was breathing hard.

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

He leaned on the railings, and looked at the beach. A woman was ranting at a dog on the beach. He could hear her over the waves. She was ranting at everything round her, like there were imaginary people all round her. He wondered how she became that.

Something hit the railing. He turned round. Across the road, he saw a kid’s head come up over a wall. It wasn’t smart. The kid threw another rock. The rock was meant for him. He moved out of the way of the rock. He could tell the kid a thing or two about throwing rocks.

He set off after the kid.

The wall was too high to climb. He ran to a gate, and went into a graveyard. At the top of the graveyard, was the kid. He ran towards the kid, but he saw there were four others. He stopped. He wasn’t going to push it. He shouted at them.

“Thanks very much.”

That made them mad. They came after him. He turned round, and ran. He ran back to where he’d left the car with some idea of looking at the sea. He was breathing hard. He looked up. The kid was crossing the car park. He unlocked the car, and climbed in. He started the engine, and reversed the car. The kid stood behind the car. He had no choice. He wasn’t running the kid down. He braked, and lowered the window.

“What do you want?”

The kid stuck his head in the opening.

“It wasn’t me. I saw who did it, and it wasn’t me.”


“So I can take you to him. I know who he is.”

The kid wasn’t scared of anything. The kid looked round the car.

“I can take you. I was once like that, but not any more.”

“Sure, you’re a good kid now.”

“I am. I’ll take you to the beach. I know him. He’s my friend. You tell him.”

The man thought about it. He wasn’t going to let a kid scare him.

He put the window up, and climbed out of the car. He slammed the door, and followed the kid to the edge of the car park. He walked down steps to the beach. He followed the kid across the sand. The kid stopped at the deck chairs. He stopped too, and looked round. There was no one there. No kid. Nothing.

“You said he’d be here.”

But the kid was looking back. The man turned round. The kid was looking back at the car park. The kids from the graveyard formed a circle round the car. They raised their arms.

He was stuck. The sand sucked his feet. It sucked him into the earth. He was going nowhere. He watched the kids. It was their throwing arms, the cultivated arc of their throwing arms, and then what? Then what?

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

Jumbo at 16:05 on 22 October 2005  Report this post

This has some real tension in it. The situation of the guy at the end stuck in the sand - and the feeling of fear as to what is going to happen next.

A small point - I would edit out some of the repetitions of the word 'kid' (or kids). I think they slow the read down.

Nice flash

All the best


Jim Beard at 17:48 on 22 October 2005  Report this post
Hi Ian

Like Bill I found the repetitions took something out of what is a good flash. I had the feeling that the man may have been a tearaway in his time and was reaping his just desserts. All kids love it when some stupid bugger runs after them. At least we did many years ago.




Sorry Jumbo, getting you mixed up with Bill

crowspark at 18:08 on 22 October 2005  Report this post
Hi Ian, this is a very interesting flash. I love the overall effect and the ending is excellent.
I found the repetition of words and phrases a little distracting but at the same time they seemed to contributing to the air of wonder. A good mix of varied length sentences although you might want to revisit the section starting, "That made him mad" and run some of those sentences together? Just a thought.

An excellent debut.


di2 at 02:25 on 23 October 2005  Report this post
When I was a kid we used to scream "look behind you" when we were watching some monster creep up behind the unknowing hero at the circus. As I read your piece I kept on thinking "don't believe him, don't believe him" directed at your character, the victim.

Thanks for the good read.


Prospero at 06:26 on 23 October 2005  Report this post
Nice one Ian.

I liked the 'pick your own ending' was the car going to get a stoning or was he? Or perhaps something else entirely. Very intriguing


Dee at 11:21 on 23 October 2005  Report this post
Ian, great idea; the phantom kid drawing him into the quicksand. Like the others, I found the repetitions a bit distracting. Try reading your work aloud or, better still, get someone else to read it to you. You’ll soon hear them.


SamMorris at 17:05 on 24 October 2005  Report this post
Hi Ian, yes this is a really strong idea for a story. Other 'Flashers' have mentioned the repetitions. One thing that confused me a little was the old lady at the start. She felt a bit of a spare part to the story.

Other than that, good flash.

All the best


choille at 22:13 on 25 October 2005  Report this post
I liked the bit about the ranting woman and the bit'I wonder how she became that.' and then the action. It reminded of an old film about these evil kids on an island I think, whi seem to move as a pack.
The repetition of the word 'beach in the 2nd sentence was a little halting.
I enjoyed this.

Ian Smith 100 at 10:33 on 26 October 2005  Report this post
Many thanks for these comments. Jumbo, a sense of fear with the what next? question is everything I hoped for. Jim, yes, the man's still a tearaway at heart. He goes after the kid. It's madness. He knows the kid loves it. He's just mixing it. He should grow up. Bill, thanks for the 'air of wonder'. That's good. Di, the 'look behind you' idea is great, and 'don't believe him' combines with Bill's 'air of wonder'. I'm pleased about this, a possibility it's all in his head, set off kilter by the disturbing sight of the woman ranting to herself on the beach. John, I can't do endings, so I'm very pleased about this one. Glad you're intrigued. Thanks. Dee, the 'phantom kids' from the graveyard endows them with the creepiness I hoped for. It's trick or treat time now! Sam, I wanted to bring her back in some way, because she is indeed a spare part. I admit she's another story not written. Caroline, the evil kids on the island. You have uncovered my Swallows and Amazons influence. Thanks to all. I would like to say, I find British resorts creepy at the best of times, but St. Ives in Feb. is full of surprises. Now, time to repay the reviews (and take out my repetitions). - Ian

Cornelia at 14:09 on 26 October 2005  Report this post
Yes, I was carried away with the powerful storyline, too, and couldn't believe the man would be so naive, wanting to shout out to him. I was not too bothered about 'kids' because the repetiton seemed to draw attention to the children as a threatening, lawless gang, with a graveyard and a 'care in the community' case in the backdrop for good measure: a nightmare world. I agree with Choille about the echo of 'Lord of the Flies'. One somehow knows these are boys.

One thing I would change is a sentence at the start. Instead of 'like there were' I'd write ' as if there were' but it's a minor grammatical point and you may have meant to echo the man's thoughts.

Also, a typo 'He wondered how she became that' - you have missed out 'like' or maybe you mean 'how she became that way.'


To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .