She had always felt drawn to the ocean.
It beat against the rocks supporting her house, day and night, and she could sit for hours
listening to its call.
It almost sounded like words to her. Beckoning her to come and join it. The hypnotic
motion of the water slithering back and forth like a snake over a tree branch, a great snake that
surrounded her as far as her eyes could see.
She had always felt drawn to the ocean.
But she could never step a foot in it, never leave the house of stone she was buried alive
Buried alive with a lifetime supply of food, water, and air to breathe but buried alive
nevertheless, with no escape. Not even the ability to plummet into the depths that she was so
entranced by.
She was alone now, with nothing but her birds to keep her company. They talked to her
all hours of the day and night, filling her head with their conversation and mockery. Their
nonsensical words and meaningless garble.
Sometimes she wished she still had her mother with her. It would be lovely to have
another human voice to talk to. But her birds would suffice for now. There was no use wishing
for the dead.
They were talking to her now, mocking her forlorn expression as she stared at the grey
waters seductively moving back and forth. Their chatters grew louder and louder, and she
thought about strangling them all, one by one.
Her mother didn’t ever know about those fantasies. Not ever, she had fallen in not

There were a lot of things she did not know.
In her mind, their heads all popped off, one by one by one.
In her ears, they gabbed on and on and on and on.
She turned away from them, smiling faintly at the grave of her mother, the murky depths
of the ocean beneath her house of stone.
She missed her sometimes. Regretted her never.
Remembered the feeling of her body struggling, hearing her voice screaming over and
The ocean was so calm and welcoming, and the birds didn’t realize this. Her mother did,
Thunder rumbled in the distance, but the clouds were too dark to see any lightening.
She smiled faintly. She was alone now, but she did not regret the day she pushed her
mother in.
The birds cried on.


Biographical Note: Hannah Dudleson is attending the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma where she is studying English Education and Creative Writing. She enjoys using her writing to confront and challenge the issues she faces in real life. Poetry and flash fiction are her favorite forms of writing, although she hopes to publish a novel (or two). In her spare time Hannah enjoys playing piano, spending time with her friends, family, and cat, and studying the Bible. She received a Gold Key from the Scholastic Academic Awards in 2020 for a short story she wrote.