Carenza Hayhoe

Short stories

Short Stories

The Wave is a story based on an actual event. Some years ago on a windless April morning when the sea was flat calm three great rollers came up the Channel, the first one was so big that it over topped the Chesil Beach and flooded the Cove Inn through the third floor windows.

The Wave

Bringing kids up in a pub isn’t easy. You’re trying to be a mum and to keep the customers happy at the same time. Of course the kids get a bit neglected, but The Sailors Rest was right on top of the beach so there were compensations, fishing and swimming, that sort of thing. We got used to the gales and were always well prepared with sandbags and shutters before the wind started screeching in the chimneys and the waves began to pound the top of the beach, but the sea will always surprise you.

I had given up trying to get Mike out of bed in the mornings. ‘Teenagers are all like that’ said my mother ‘You were just the same. He’ll grow out of it and then one day you’ll go in and find another head on the pillow beside him and nothing will ever be the same again.’

It was a day none of us will ever forget; a warm sunny April morning, sea flat calm and not a breath of wind. I had opened all the windows to air the bedrooms, even the attic where Mike lay with his eyes screwed tight shut against the light. I was round the back in the kitchen so I didn’t see it coming. Seems there had been a big storm in the Atlantic. Three great rollers came up the channel, absolutely silent, getting higher and higher until they reached our beach when the first reared up, a huge wave so high it over topped the pub and flooded the house through the attic window. I raced upstairs, my feet squelching on every step, slipping and sliding on the seaweed that had come in with the wave, to find our Mike still in bed, just as my mother had said, with another head on the pillow beside him. She never said it would be a fish!

Ant hills are amazing well ordered communities that fascinated me when I was a child but when they threaten to take over your house something has to be done. From an ant's point of view it must seem like the end of the world.

Armageddon

We have been in this refugee camp for a month now. It is a terrible place, mud ankle deep, full of the sound of crying children, no one has enough to eat and there is only one stand pipe for every hundred families. They have come from all over. Some have primitive tents; some have dug themselves tunnels into the banks around the camp. We’ve tried to dig latrines but many just squat and relieve themselves where they are and the stench is appalling. At least we are alive and we can dream and work for a better future once we have found the others.

It wasn’t always like this. We used to live in a fine city with wide clean streets. It was a well ordered society where each one of us had a purpose, everyone had enough to eat, everyone was employed. Central Control saw to everything and we were happy. Life was good and we were confident that it always would be, until the day of the earthquake. The maternity unit was at the top of the city near the warmth of the sun and felt the first tremor. Suddenly the walls fell in and the floor cracked. Midwives were running everywhere carrying newborns to safety. The top section of our citadel was destroyed but Central Control took charge and we rebuilt deeper into the earth. I and some of my term mates had just been trained to fly so when the order came to scramble a squadron we were detailed off to join the unit. We were above ground when the hot rain came. Steam and scalding water from on high destroyed all we had known.There was a great silence and then we heard a voice like thunder high above us.

‘I’ve always hated ants. One more kettle of water should put paid to this lot.’