Flash Fiction

Journey to the Bottom of the Sea

An ill-fated trip tests the bond of father and daughter

Mindi Boston
2 min readFeb 12, 2024
A diver explores the ocean floor.
Photo by NEOM on Unsplash

The red balloon drifted down like a bumblebee seeking something sweet. Curtis laughed, imagining his daughter, Brittany, her chubby toddler hands grasping at balloon strings before letting them fly skyward.

“Toward Mama and God,” she’d exclaimed.

Curtis hadn’t the heart to explain that her mama wasn’t with God. She’d left them for an ounce of heroin and her junkie friends. “Toward God and Heaven,” he’d gently suggested.

He swore then he’d never leave Brittany. She’d experienced enough loss for a lifetime. It was why he’d said yes to this trip, against his better judgment. He wanted enough memories to get them through her years at college.

The remote drone he’d mistaken for a balloon captured Curtis’ vacant-eyed stare. The images beamed to a Coast Guard ship two miles above.

Are you up there, Brittany?

Diving the reef for her 18th birthday had been Brittany’s idea. She and the group swam with dolphins while Curtis strayed off, following a grouper deep into the trenches. A rookie mistake he realized as he spied a cantaloupe-sized octopus emerging from the hole where his stomach had been.

Damn this trip. He should have stayed with the group. He should have taken her to Disneyland.

The red drone zeroed in on Curtis. He smiled with a friendly wave. The smile faded as he realized his hand was missing — hell, his whole arm was missing. Damn. He’d forgotten. Not a grouper, dummy. A shark. A big, hungry shark.

Curtis blinked away the sea of salty tears. Sorry, Brittany. Daddy didn’t mean to leave you.

The camera recorded the dead man waving to and fro in the current, a macabre grin on his half-eaten face. There was little of the missing diver to retrieve. Sad deal — father and daughter both lost to shark attacks on the same day.

As she took his hand, Brittany saw her father finally accept the tragedy she’d realized only moments after their deaths. “Toward God and Heaven, Daddy?” she suggested.

Curtis gazed at her. Everything he’d ever loved lived on in her smile. Together, they’d face whatever came next, just as they always had. “Toward God and Heaven,” he agreed.



Mindi Boston

Mindi Boston is a novelist and freelance writer out of the Midwest. For more information, visit www.mindiboston.com