Special Scene for Cottage in the Mist

Author's Note

In June of 2016 I had the opportunity to write a flash fiction piece for the wonderful blog GraveTells. I was to use the characters from Cottage in the Mist and write a scene with the following prompts:

  • length: 400-700 words
  • setting: a deserted beach
  • item to include: an old Sony Walkman tape player with just one song on it. (choose anything from the 1980’s)
  • goal: the character is running to or from something
  • tone: whimsical and/or inspirational

I have to admit that at first the idea really scared me, but the more I thought about Lily and her part of the story, the more the ideas began to crystalize. It was a great experience. And I so love Sue for giving me the challenge. You can see the original post here. If this scene were to appear in Cottage in the Mist, it would be between Chapters 1 and 2. So without further ado, thanks to GraveTells, a special scene from Cottage in the Mist!

Cottage in the Mist

Greenwich, CT

Lily Chastain stepped through the french doors onto the terrace overlooking the Long Island Sound. This stretch of beach was private, and, at this time of night, deserted. Above her head stars flickered and a pale sliver of moon cast its light across the water.

She could hear the waves as they crashed to shore, the sound at once melancholy and comforting. There was rain in the air and the cool tang of the salty breeze. Despite her parents’ penchant for moving around, Lily had spent most of her summers here, playing by the water. Alone and yet in the company of so many creatures. Crabs and seagulls, pipers and cranes, turtles and dolphins, and even the occasional whale.

Still, despite her solitude, she’d always known her parents were out there somewhere. In the city or across the ocean, they’d been part of this world. Her world. And now…now they were gone. Forever. She touched the cool silver of her father’s wedding ring as it hung from its chain between her breasts.

In moonlit kissed shadows a wave broke, a flash of green breaking across the crest. Fairy lights, her mother had always called it. Lily knew that it was nothing more than biolumination. Plankton or algae or some such. But she’d always loved the wonder of her mother’s words. As if anything were possible. As if there truly were magic in the world.

A bitter laugh bubbled up from deep inside her. Magic was for other people. Not for her. Not here. Not now. Maybe Valerie had it right. Her mother’s friend had insisted earlier that Lily needed to go away. To escape the pain of not only her parents’ untimely deaths, but the news that their money was gone, and with it her supposedly devoted fiancé.

Suddenly the plane ticket to Scotland seemed a Godsend.

Lily moved toward the beach and the little statue of Peter Pan that sat at the opening to the terrace. A copy of the statue in Carl Schurz park in Manhattan, her father had given it to her mother on their eighth wedding anniversary. The bronze one. Her mother had grown up near the park. On 86th street. And she loved the statue and the memories it invoked. So her father, in his usual grandiose way, had commissioned a copy to be made.

She stroked Pan’s pointed hat, the metal cool against her palm. Carefully she reached beneath the brim and pulled the lever that sent the hat upward, revealing a hidden compartment. A special feature her father had added for no reason other than the fact that it had amused him.

Over the years it had become the resting place of all kinds of family trivia. Their memory box, her mother had called it.

Tears welled, and Lily reached inside, her hand closing over the hard plastic body of her mother’s Walkman. Bright yellow, it had been a crucial part of her mother’s morning walk along the shore. Until her father had produced the newer, cooler iPod, and then the Walkman had become a discarded relic, left behind—forgotten.

She lifted it out of the statue and slipped on the earphones. Not much chance of it working, but still it was a connection to her mother, and just at the moment that mattered. More than she could say. For a moment the machine wheezed, and then suddenly the sound of George Michael’s voice filled her ears.

Lily smiled. Her mother had been insane about this particular song. So much so that her father had made a mix tape with nothing but Father Figure on it. It played over and over in an endless loop.

“If you are the desert, I am the sea…”

She closed her eyes, seeing her mother and father laughing and dancing, here on the sand, their love so powerful it almost seemed to glow. She’d stood there watching them. Loving them. Yet knowing also, even at that young age, that their world wasn’t quite big enough for her. That the two of them belonged together. Forever.

And now they had their wish.

She glanced up at the sky, her heart twisting with pain. Across the sand, the waves broke again, another ripple of green.


Tears fell as George sang on, the words almost taunting.

“I will be the one who loves you—‘til the end of time…”

The music died, and she ripped the earphones away before the song could begin again. There was no going back. Nothing to do that would recreate her life again. Everything had gone. And yet, she was still here. Still standing. Still breathing.

And tomorrow she’d go to Scotland. To the inn at Duncreag. And maybe, just maybe, she’d find that the magic was out there waiting for her.

©2016 by Dee Davis. All rights reserved. Reprint only with permission of the author. dee@deedavis.com