Wednesday 28 February 2018

Mid-Week Flash Challenge - Week 44

This weeks photo was taken by Mark Pillsbury, of the famous Serendipity Inn in Rodanthe, North Carolina. It was used in the film Nights at Rodanthe, with Richard Gere & Diane Lane. And you can learn more about how it ended up abandoned here.  This photo was taken back in 2008 but in 2009/2010 it was rescued and moved and can now be rented out!

I ummed and arhhed over an original idea for this story, and then a voice arrived and a point of view, and I let him tell his tale.

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Fake News

I was having none of it. They were talking rubbish. The sea wasn’t about to rise and take over the land, what nonsense! It was a ploy to get my house. They all wanted it; it was in a fabulous location, right along the sea front, fantastic views. And land round here was at a premium.

I wasn’t stupid; I’d snatched this up the second it came on the market. I’d had the money back then, made it big in some start up companies that had rocked the world. They’ve fallen since, as many have in that industry, but I managed to sell up and get out while the going was good.  But this place has always been desirable, even been used in a movie. It has a real charm about it: traditional wooden beach house, several floors. They don’t make them like this anymore.

Anyway, people started saying that being by the sea wasn’t a good thing. Claimed something called climate change, that it was all going to get cold soon or something. I mean, people really believed it too: houses along the strip started going up for sale. Me? I wasn’t that foolish. Colder my arse, it was getting hotter, summers better than we’d ever known them. Sweltering. Even more reason to have a beach house. You always have a breeze, no matter what. And the balcony was perfect, shade all afternoon. I’d sit out there for hours.

I listened to the radio, heard the debate. Couldn’t decide whose opinion was real and whose wasn’t. People always want to go round saying the sky is falling in, that knee jerk fear reaction, I’ve seen it all over. Mostly it was to back a profit – keep the people in fear, keeps them buying, but with climate change I wasn’t sure of the motive, the whole thing sounded hokey. No one seemed to be able to prove diddly squat either side, seemed like a lot of speculation on both sides. I’m not one to back a pessimist – oh no. I’ll believe it when I see it. That’s what I said. And that’s what I did – I saw it.

It was subtle, tide lines got higher. Then there was talk of it being caused by a change at a beach further along, where they’d built some breakers. I was confident it would settle. It was only a couple of feet. But then the hurricane hit. It was a mother of a storm. I really did wonder if the house might get washed away that night, but she didn’t; she remained solid as ever.

But then another came, and another, and I began to read about how many of them politicians saying there was no such thing as climate change were backed by those profiting from it – Big Oil in particular. It was getting hard to tell which way was up, unless you looked out at the water, and I could see it with my own eyes.

And by that time I knew I wouldn’t find a buyer. I thought I was done for. And then Burton, my old friend from the billiard club, came up with an idea: “You got to winch her up, Jared, you’ve got to tie her up tight so that if she does work loose, she can’t slip out to sea.”

I thought he was crazy. What the hell would I winch it to? But he had a plan in mind, a stone building owned by a mutual friend across the highway, and it worked out pretty good. It felt safer at least, until the night her moorings came away.

It was a doozey of a squall, whipped up all of a sudden as they sometimes do, and I heard them break, lying in my bed, felt like the house was going to start flapping in the wind like a loose board, flick-flack back and forth. Thank heavens for Burton’s winch.

The next day we wasted no time in reeling her in. It took most of the day, but we pulled her right up, almost to the highway. But she couldn’t stay there. No planning permission. So then I had to find somewhere to resettle her. Never seen anything funnier than a house being transported on a flatbed; we had to close a few roads to get her through, but now she is safe and dry up on the hill, sporting seaviews. The only way you’re getting me out of here now is in a coffin. 


  1. “How are you feeling?” Deli lifted the cold pack off her head as she opened her eyes.

    “Like I ran my head into a steering wheel.”

    He chuckled. “Good thing. Otherwise I’d have questioned your memory.” She didn’t laugh and he sobered. “Seems like we’re both using our heads a lot more than we should. How about we use them for thinking now instead?”

    She grimaced. “Head hurts too much. Can’t do much useful thinking.”

    He nodded. “All right. Then why don’t you tell me a story? Something easy to remember.”

    Caroline frowned. “What kind of story?”

    “I dunno. Something from your past, maybe. Did you always live up here in the mountains?”

    “No.” She settled back on the couch, her eyes barely open. “When I was a kid, my family had a place in Malibu, near the beach. This was before it got ridiculously expensive and a regular family could afford to live there.”

    “Wait, regular people could afford to live in California near the beach? I didn’t think that existed.” He rose and settled beside her on the couch. “You sure you’re remembering right?”

    “Shut up.” She grinned a little and thumped him on the thigh. It didn’t hurt, and he grinned with more than just humor. He wanted the connection with her. “Down the beach a ways was this house, built on the beach itself. I mean, it was literally out into the waves. The high tide mark was above the house by at least twenty feet. This thing was on stilts and would become an island when the tide was in.”

    “It had a natural moat?”

    “Yeah. It was the craziest thing. I mean, can you imagine when a typhoon or some of the heavy spring storms came in? This thing was all wood and it would have to withstand the pounding of not only the waves, but the weather.”

    He shivered, remembering the rough seas he’d had to battle in BUD/S. The waves had dragged at him, and being the smallest guy in the crew, his legs had always gone out from under him first. He couldn’t imagine living in a house that depending on the stilts’ foundations remaining solid.

    “My brothers and sister and I would walk by it all summer long, wondering when it would wash out to sea, and my dad who was a geologist said anyone who built on the bluffs, berm, or beach were either crazy or stupid, or both, because nothing was ever permanent on the California coastline.” She gave him a nostalgic smile. “It was a crazy house, but it was magnificent in its own way, using nature to protect the residents. The surf was loud there, too, so it wouldn’t ever have been quiet. But I admired the people crazy enough to live there. I guess that’s why when my uncle offered me this place I was all too happy to take it. It’s quiet and people pretty much leave me alone.” She sighed. “Until now.”

    497 words #TeamDeli

    1. Love it! Great to have you here! Thanks for joining in!

  2. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire had been rowing for hours, baby Beatrice sitting between the three of them. Long ago the boat’s sails had been torn by terrible winds, hence they were forced to use the last of their strength to paddle.

    But they weren’t thinking of how their arms ached, or even of how they’d love a good meal out inside their stomachs.

    No. All they could see was the house before them.

    Baby Beatrice toddled up to Violet. “What?”

    Sunny understood the baby the best, having just recently exited babyhood herself.

    “It looks like Aunt Josephine’s house,” Klaus whispered, adjusting his glasses.

    “But... we saw it destroyed.” Violet whispered.

    The boat hit against the shore. All four children jumped to the sand, and began to walk slowly.

    As they neared the house they heard voices.

    Familiar voices.

    Uncle Monty. Aunt Josephine. The Quagmire Triplets. Jerome Squalor. cCharles. Hector and Hal. Fiona and Fernald. Captain Widdershins. And there were more people, too.

    One mad had the children’s full focus: a mysterious man, half hid in the shadows of the others. But his coat and hat made him look suspiciously important.

    “But you all are dead or missing,” Sunny said loudly.

    All the adults saw the children.

    The mysterious man stepped out of the shadows. “Hello, children. My name in Lemony. You are safe now... I have just published your last memoir.”

    “Published our memoir?” Klaus questioned

    “We aren’t dead,” Violet said.

    The man called Lemony smiled, “But the world believes you are. You are safe.”

    But they barely heard what he said, for at that moment two more people stepped out of the house. Bertrand and Beatrice Baudelaire.

    279 words: A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS fan fiction. @KeturahAbigail

    1. Curiouser and curiouser. Now I want to know more! thank you for joining! Great to have you here.

  3. Where the heck did my brain cells get this one from? No. Don't tell me. It's best if I never understand.

    My House

    1. Another excellent entry. I love this - I'd love to do this!! Thanks for joining.