The Wave (Sean Cunningham)

The wave is not coming. The wave is not coming. The wave is not com― no, the wave is never coming. I have to get this into my head.

I am walking through town desperate to scream about the wave, but it is not coming, so I can’t.

I am convinced that the wave is coming because of three distinct and separate reasons. The first being that every river I come across looks shallower and siltier than usual – the wave is gathering supplies, see. The second is due to the wind, it has been too long since I have found myself frozen, mid-step, by a gust. And the third is – well, a bit out there – three birds looked at me funny, on three different occasions. That can’t be a coincidence. It can’t. Can it?

Of course it can! I need to stop this. I’m not losing it, I’m just observant. Confused. Confused and observant. Yes, too observant – perhaps what I need is some blinders. Perhaps the wave is― no, come on. No wave, no waves.

Where is she? I hear asked, somewhere far behind me. The person keeps asking but is getting nowhere.

Where is the wave? I whisper to myself. A smoking man hears and looks at me like he knows, he knows the answer – or maybe he is terrified, I never could tell between the two.

The wave. Is not. Coming. Isn’t. Isn’t.

I stay away from the seaside because if the wave sees me, it might strike early. It knows that I know, but it also knows I will never tell anybody who could do something about it. I can’t face the wave because of this. But maybe I should, since the wave isn’t coming.

The wave is never coming. For my lunch, I bought a ham sandwich, a scotch egg, a muffin, and a reduced-price milkshake, all dated two days from now.

The wave is not coming. Birds do not look at people funny. The wave is not coming. I should learn to fish.

I have to get this into my head. I have to. I have to.

I stopped paying attention to all the rivers and all the rivers stopped. I try to fish in the mud that’s left behind but all I catch are bicycle frames, tarot cards, and lost friends.

The wave will be benevolent in its cruelty.

The birds. They’re all leering. They’re all bloody leering!

Breaking News says― Breaking News says― Breaking News says that the wave is coming.

The wave is coming. The wave is coming! The wave is com― no, the wave is not coming. I have to get this into my head.


Sean Cunningham is a writer of flash and poetry, from Liverpool. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Splonk, Into the Void, Ellipsis Zine, Briefly Zine, and Dwelling Literary, among others. He can be found on Twitter: @sssseanjc


image: Peter Gutierrez