This used to be an island, you know. Yep. Less than 24 hours ago. About ninety miles off the coast of Florida. I know. This is my home. You look at it now, and you can’t believe anything was ever here. Houses, roads, boats, piers, and even two restaurants, and a small hotel.
This used to be an island. My house used to be here, where I’m standing. Next to this damn chair. The clothes I’m wearing, and the chair are all I have left. I don’t know where anything else is. Where it went. Other than eastward somewhere.
What happened? The wave. That’s what happened. The wave. The whacko scientist types, they warned us about the wave. “If the side of the La Palma island breaks away and slides into the ocean, it’s gonna be bad!” That’s what they said. “A disaster for the entire East Coast of the United States, and for Europe.” That’s what they said.
So we kept building along the east coast, and on the islands. Because. Insane scientists. Mad scientists. Hell, we even ran computer simulations of the collapse, to see what would happen, and all the simulations said was, “rough surf on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.” So, we all ignored the insane warning.
Until a wall of water 150 feet high crossed the island. Damn thing was over three times as tall as my house. Three times!
Washed everything away. I mean everything. Even the hills, and the dunes, and the trees. All of it, gone. If I stand here, next to my chair and carefully look around, I can see a few things sticking out of the water. Like the top of a mast from Julians sailboat. About three feet of it. Sticking up out of the water.
Who knew a freaking wave could wash away an entire island?
I’ve been looking around a lot. Trying to see if anyone’s left. If anything’s left. I can remember it was about 3:30 in the morning. Still pitch black dark outside. No one on the island ran lights at night. We didn’t need them. 3:30 is when Julian banged on my room window. He punched right through it, actually. Made a hell of a mess, and woke me up. “Julian! What the fuck?”
“It’s happened, Tom! It’s happened!”
I remember I stared at him like he’d lost his mind. “What’s happened.”
“The side of La Palma. It came off.”
“You want me to join you on the beach, to watch the waves?”
Julian held up his cell phone, and turned the volume to max. “…tional Weather Service emergency bulletin! Ocean sensors off the East Coast all indicate a tidal wave is heading inland. The wave is moving at approximately 460 knots, with a twenty foot swell. When it reaches land, it’s expected to crest at 135 feet. If at all possible, get to high ground, get to a boat, or get inland. The wave is expected to reach the coastline at 04:01 this morning. I repeat…”
Julian was shaking like a leaf, “Tom! We’re 90 miles off the coast! That wave will be here in a few minutes!”
I remember standing there. Empty. Unable to think of anything. Except, perhaps, “Oh, God! Oh, God! We’re all gonna die!”
“Get to the pier! Get your boat. Get to the open water! Now, Tom! Now!”
The swell wasn’t so bad. My little boat, with it’s little motor, went right over it. It was dark as hell. I couldn’t see anything. Except an arch of white where the island was. I didn’t hear anything, but a roar, like water in a big pipe. Then, dead silence.
After the sun came up, I decided to head back to the pier.
I never did find it. I had to drop anchor. Left my boat a couple hundred feet from here.
I have no idea why the only thing left is that damn chair. Sticking up out of the water. Everything else is gone. All of it. Gone.
Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 38th week. You can read about her small fiction challenge here. As usual, when I started writing, I had no idea what would happen next. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.
This is brilliant. I love it. I didn’t even think of that when I looked at this. It is so interesting how we all see different things. I love this story though. Great stuff. Thanks for joining.