Alice K. Boatwright

Short Stories

Sea, Sky, Islands by Alice Boatwright

Short story of the month: “Life Sentences”

Jack Hillyer waited on the deck while the Masons made a last tour of the house. He studied the scene below him: Easton, tucked against its curving harbor with a ferry standing at the dock, the pale green landing strip carved between dark woods and golden meadows, and, beyond, other islands floating like green hummocks on the shining water.

The cove where he and Patti lived was down to the left, hidden from this vantage point, but he knew exactly where it was and could picture everything in its place: The woods, the cabin, the patch of garden, and Patti. He set Patti on the porch, reading in the butterfly chair, her legs folded up, long red hair pulled back with a rubber band. Not that she was a big reader, but he had seen her that way one afternoon and liked the image. He carried it in his memory like the faded photograph of his two children that he kept in his wallet. He would call it up and say to himself, “This is Patti, the woman I love.”

He glanced at his watch and took out his cell phone to let her know he’d be home soon, but the muffled sound of a door closing made him put away the phone and turn back to the house instead.

Through the large kitchen windows, he could see Gina Mason opening cupboard doors and examining appliances. Bill Mason was talking, his hands turned palm up beating the air emphatically. Finally she stopped and leaned against the dishwasher, her arms crossed. Something about the set of her cheeks told Jack that they would not make an offer on this house. Read more. . . 

Life Sentences is one of three stories set in the San Juan Islands included in the chapbook, Sea, Sky, Islands. Now only 99-cents as an ebook, $5.99 as a paperback.

About Alice’s stories

Alice began writing stories as a child, and she has never stopped. She is the author of the story chapbook, Sea, Sky, Islands (Noontime Books, 2019), as well as dozens of short stories published in literary journals and anthologies. She was a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and the Glimmer Train Fiction Prize and has received grants from UC Berkeley and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts to devote time to writing fiction.

Published stories

“Look Both Ways”: Amarillo Bay, Issue 23:1, April 29, 2021

“Yesterday’s Muse”: Bull, November 19, 2020

“Mr. Who Passes Through”: Crime Readers Association, Halloween 2020

“No Prince”: The Blood Pudding, September 2020

Risky Business“: fresh.ink, July 14, 2020

“J’arrive”: Calyx, Vol. 31, No. 1, (Winter/Spring 2019)

The Purple Bowl“: Parentheses Journal, Issue No. 5  (January 2019)

Life Sentences“: Amarillo Bay, Vol. 20, No. 2 (October 2018)

What Comes to Hand Must Be Faced“: Open Journal of Arts and Letters, 2017

“After Giselle“: Amarillo Bay, Vol. 17, No. 4 (November 2015)

The First Meeting of Babyman and Mother“: Sleetmagazine, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Spring 2014)

“And the Part of Me Will Be Played by Marilyn Monroe”: Amarillo Bay, Vol. 14, No. 1 (February 2012)

Asta at the Market“: Marco Polo Arts, 9 January 2012

“A Burning House”: Stone Canoe, No. 5, January 2011

“Risky Business”: Upstairs at Duroc, No. 11, January 2010

“Dreams of a Runner”: Stone Canoe, No. 3, January 2009

Night Washing“: Storyglossia, No. 32, 4 December 2008

“Chrissy on Earth”: Amarillo Bay, Vol. 10, No. 4 (November 2008)

“Behavior Modification”: Amarillo Bay, Vol. 9, No. 4 (November 2007)

Survivors“: Mississippi Review Online, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Fall 2007)

“Divas”: America West, Vol. 18, No. 4, June 2003

“Reading Raymond Carver”: Enterzone, Episode 14, November 1998

Man Leaving” (illustrated by the author): Enterzone, Episode 14, November 1998

“What I Have”: Paterson Literary Review, Issue No. 26, March 1997

“Divas”: Beloit Fiction Journal, Vol. IX, Issues No. 1 and 2 (Spring 1994)

“Golden Chances”: in Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, edited by Amber Coverdale Sumrall, (Crossing Press, 1994)

“Sheila Martin’s Last Egg”: San Jose Studies, Vol. XIX, No. 2 (Spring 1993)

“Conflicting Testimony”: in Love’s Shadow, edited by Amber Coverdale Sumrall (Crossing Press, 1993)

“Jonas”: Cricket, Vol. 19, No. 6, February 1992