Erosion

In Fiction on July 29, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Waves crashing on a beach

Erosion

The rain made a sound like the drumming of fingers, as if a host of demons had climbed the cabin to probe for weaknesses, shrouded in water and darkness. The storm spit down the chimney and the fire hissed and flickered.

“It’s getting worse,” Kendrick decreed, a sour look on his face. There were fifteen of them gathered around the hearth—a family of five from the house next door, three college students from the opposite cabin, a single mother with two kids from further down the beach, and Kendrick’s own wife and children. This was the most any of them had spoken in hours.

They had thought it wise to band together for company and warmth, but that was three days ago. Now the firewood had nearly run out, and the rain showed no signs of stopping.

“It’s getting worse,” Kendrick repeated dully.

“We heard you,” his daughter shot back.

Kendrick had noted the erosion when they’d arrived. The locals made japes: The sea is reclaiming the island, they said. The island is shrugging the summer families from its shoulders and drowning them like puppies. Now Kendrick shuddered. The road was washed out, the cars were stuck, and the steep shoreline was creeping closer.

The storm spit on the flames, and the flames shivered.

“We’re going to die,” Kendrick said. His wife hissed.

The fire went dark on the fourth day. By the fifth, most of the food was gone. On the sixth, the roof began to rot and the water pattered to the floor in gobs. Kendrick could hear the surf crashing as if it were breaking against the door.

“You have to go for help,” his wife said at last, and reluctantly Kendrick crept outside.

He’d gone no more than ten steps when the house broke free with a great sucking sound and slid into the sea. It disappeared without so much as a scream from inside.

Sinking in the mire, Kendrick wondered how long ago the erosion had begun.


This is my story for this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge: Band. I’ve been on vacation for a week, so forgive me if I’m a little slow getting back into form.

Let me know what you think below!

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  1. Intense write. Nicely built suspense. Will poor Kendrick suffer survivor’s guilt? This land of ours is definitely seeing more natural disasters. Good reminder that we need to be protecting our earth.

  2. An incredible story, filled with suspense. I wrote about storms too, maybe it’s the season for it.

  3. This was intense! I live in a summer spot so I could picture this whole scene perfectly! What a thing to live with in the aftermath. Very, very well done!

  4. Excellent writing! Your descriptions were taut, nothing forced or overwrought. You provided just enough information for us to understand the dire circumstances and why the people in the house had come together. Wonderful suspense building.

    Comments, constructive criticism, destructive praise?? My only note (because this is so exceptional I know you will consider it) might be that the last line could be a touch stronger. The image of the house sliding off into the sea is such a punch to the senses, such a visceral image to follow. He may have been thinking about other things as he sunk into the mire.

    • Thanks Jo-Anne, I agree with you on that last line. Originally, this story was a little longer, and there was more of a double meaning coming across in what he says, but it’s definitely been lost a bit with all I had to cut :/

      Glad you liked it!

  5. This story makes me glad I live in a land-locked state 🙂 I like the suspense and the tension in the story. I really like this line: ” The island is shrugging the summer families from its shoulders and drowning them like puppies.” Sometimes we can be a burden on our resources and they have to say “enough!”

  6. Oh. Oh wow. This was good and had my heart thumping. I love when a piece has two meanings, where you subtly ease us into a word and a place and you did that to me here.
    The erosion is happening to more than the earth beneath them and it hits you mid chest as you read.

    I really liked this, I sat back in my chair and sighed after it, just taking it all in as the water took the house and your character away.

    thank you (so much) for linking up.

  7. Great story, I really enjoyed it. I like how you built in human interaction into the tautness of the moment.

  8. Beautiful craft and intense writing.
    The opening line – The rain made a sound like the drumming of fingers, as if a host of demons had climbed the cabin to probe for weaknesses, shrouded in water and darkness. The storm spit down the chimney and the fire hissed and flickered – has such a vivid imagery.
    Great entry for the challenge!

  9. Wow.
    I really felt the awkwardness and the tension that was in that room.
    Well done!

  10. Having grown up a townie in a beach town, I have to admit this sounds like such poetic justice (those summer people!) that I got a bit of an evil thrill.
    Then environmental me kicked in and gave you a grave nod.
    Great post!

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