Cast Ashore — a novelette in 15 chapters

Cast Ashore: Chapter 9

Taking the Plunge

Steve Fendt
3 min readOct 29, 2023


Black-and-white photo: vertiginous drop to rocks and surf below.
‘On the Brink’ — author image

‘We should eat something. Leftover quiche Lorraine okay? With home-made coleslaw?’

‘Sounds great.’

After dinner, we broach a second bottle of red.

‘You’ve got a reputation around here as a solitary man, Les. A bit of an eccentric.’

‘Guilty as charged.’

‘I don’t think so. I think you’re just a lonely man, one who has been hurt. One who doesn’t know where to turn or how to ask for what he needs.’

‘Which is?’

‘Tenderness. Warmth. Affection. What we all need …’

I am about to say something flippant, but the words die on my lips. I just nod. Try to swallow the lump in my throat. Look down at the table.

She adds, softly, almost inaudibly:

‘What I need.’

I look up and I feel myself swimming, drowning in Kaja’s eyes. Her cheeks are slightly flushed, her moist lips parted. I ache to round that table, wrap her in my arms.

No, no, no. This won’t do. You’ve got to break the spell.

‘Well, I’d better be getting back, Kaja. I’m expecting a Skype call from Sam,’ I lie…



Steve Fendt Short stories, serial fiction, memoirs of a possibly quasi-true nature. Stories of the Australian beach and bush.