Posted by: Author | April 3, 2023

Tuesday Tales- April 4, 2023- Tough

This week, the writers of Tuesday Tales are writing to the word prompt Tough. I am working on my short story set on the Thames River in London.

Check out the other tales here.

Gliding farther downriver, more swans were hefted out of the water and inspected. A group of seven floated by. It appeared to Clark they were the same little family he’d seen the day before as he made his way to the pub. A set of parents and five cygnets. Of course, they probably weren’t the same. There were a lot of baby swans at the moment it seemed but he liked to think these were the same group. He’d taken the ones he’d seen as a good omen for his first time in the lead boat, so he chose to believe they were those.

They moved along at a slow pace for the next few minutes. Once in a while, Clark would spy the little family from the corner of his eye. No one had gotten close enough to tag them yet. Hoping his boat would be the one to reach them first, Clark kept his steady pace of tagging, assessing and releasing, calling out information to Mavis as he went.

A loud squawking startled him.

“What was that?” Mavis darted a glance around.

Clark also searched for the source of the sound.

It came again. This time louder and longer. And more like a chorus than one voice.

Mavis let out a screech and pointed to the edge of the river.

As soon as Clark saw what was happening, he didn’t stop to think or consider anything other than the safety of the two swans who were trapped at the edge of the water in a thicket.

He dove in without any hesitation and swam toward the group of swans.

Five swans were frantically calling for the two who were in the grasses.

When Clark reached them, he realized what the problem was. They had become entangled, not in merely grass and reeds, but in some kind of plastic netting. How did that get in the water?

Furious that the birds had been put in such danger by someone’s carelessness, Clark treaded water while he tried to dig his small knife out of his pocket. It would be tough to cut off the plastic with the birds so upset and flailing to try to get free but he had to try.

He was vaguely aware of people calling out to him but he tuned them out as he tried to focus.

As he moved closer to the two swans in distress, he realized the other five were closing in on him. He couldn’t let that bother him. These two were in danger of drowning if they didn’t get free.

He was finally able to get hold of the leg of the one closest to him.

As he grabbed hold, someone yelled, “Watch out, Clark.”



  1. Great scene, showing the danger of tossing trash into the water. If swans are as cross as geese, he could be in trouble.

    • They def are! And yes, I hate people who throw things in rivers and the ocean. Sad how creatures can get tied up in them.

  2. OMG!! You leave us there? What a cliffhanger. Swans can be mean and vicious. I hope he’s going to be okay. Such bravery. Set my mood in a positive vein this morning. Great snippet. Full of tension and suspense.

    • thanks so much. What a lovely compliment. And Swans can def be vicious – One near the pond by my granddad’s house was particularly mean. Long ago, but I never forgot that devil. LOL

  3. I adore how he jumps right in to free the swans. I hope he can save them and doesn’t get attacked for his efforts.

    • 🙂 He’s def going to bleed. LOL!

  4. Yikes! Clark! It was very brave of him to leap in to help.

    • thanks. 🙂

  5. Yikes! For the swans and for Clark. And for us – who you left hanging right there at that moment in time. You bad girl, you!
    Great snippet!

    • Hah. Yep. Poor Clark with his soggy underwear. 😀

  6. Oh no! Poor swans and poor Clark! I hope they figure out the source of the net. Great job!

    • thanks Tricia!

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