Deleware beach

Photo © James Voss via Google Photosphere

I cast the illusion spell to conjure you here, where you are not. As your face coalesces, I consider what I want you to do. Smile sweetly, like you once did? Apologize, promising to return? Cower while I vent my rage on you?

I don’t get the chance to decide: the image won’t solidify. As though I picture not the far shore, but its reflection: the shapes and colors distorted, rippled.

My mentor always praised my spell arts. So creative, she said.

Indeed. I sculpted a mirage of loyalty from your watery words, painted rainbows using gray shadows, concocted a future out of pure air.

My mentor taught me to shape the illusion with truth, with sincere feeling, so anyone seeing it believed in it as I did.

That’s the problem, then. My belief, once solid as a tree, now wavers in the waves, and disappears with the fading light.

Word count: 150. Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw prompt. Thanks as always to Josh and Karen for hosting this fun flash challenge! This week, Pegman takes us to Tolchester Beach in Delaware (although the image I found is a ways up the shoreline, so I ended up at Lloyd’s Creek in Upper Chesapeake Bay Maryland, so technically not Delaware (which I just now realized, after writing the story, oops). Well, Delaware is so danged small! Click the link to see the images the other writers found (presumably actually in Delaware) and the stories they were inspired to write. And feel free to join in, the water’s warm!  (Okay, that’s an illusion. In real life, the water is pretty cold, I’m sure.)


14 thoughts on “Disillusioned

    • Thanks Josh, glad you think the story works! I’m not sure it’s really second person POV though. It’s a weird gray area, as far as I can tell. From what I can tell, 2nd person is typically where the MC is “you” and the text describes what “you” do over the course of the story. This feels more like 1st person, maybe closer to epistolary: the MC is talking out loud to (or at least thinking to) another character, who isn’t you-the-reader (which is the “you” that you get in some classic omniscient narrator stories). Talking in her head, I guess. Which sounds weird, but then, who are all those other 1st person narrators talking to? All that said, a lot of people seem to think that any story that has “you” in it is 2nd person, so it’s hard to get a clear answer.


  1. This is so cleverly done, Joy. The easy your work caster is struggling is form the image of a lost love as their own belief in them fades. You describe their love as a fleeting, ethereal thing with less substance than the works themselves and less effective in the long run. Gorgeous and tragic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a creative metaphor for illusory romantic love, where the lover projects all their own desires onto the beloved! It’s a terrific piece of flash fiction. While the concept is familiar and can be rendered in other genres, the fantasy genre you’ve used gives you immediacy, nuance and vividness. Kudos!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the way you put that, Penny, thank you! I’m so glad that all of that came across. It’s always a crapshoot, wondering how much will be conveyed with so few words to work with.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.