After The Storm

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A short story about a walk ont the beach following a storm.

Submitted: June 24, 2016

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Submitted: June 24, 2016

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After The Storm.

 

The storm had raged and battered the coast for hours. Joe Connors spent the night on a chair by his stove. If the power went out he would not be plunged in to darkness at least; even if it burnt down to the embers the fire would provide some sort of glowing light.

 

The wind whistled down the chimney. It drove the rain against his window panes. Joe found himself unable to sleep for any length of time. He would doze for a while then get up to add some more coal to the fire. It was not a cold night but the sounds of the raging storm made him crave the warmth and safety of this stove.

 

By morning it had blown itself out. The black thunder clouds were nowhere to be seen but the path of the wind was all too clear. Leaves were strewn all around his door, fresh green ones that had been torn from their branches before their time. Branches lay on the lawns, on the path, on the drive.

 

Joe took a few steps back from his house and walked around it. He was looking for slates that the wind might have dislodged. He was looking for windows that may have been cracked by a wind-blown branch. Joe was looking for any visible damage to his house and was relieved when he found no sign of any.

 

The out-houses were most at risk, having roofs that were covered by corrugated sheeting. There were two of them. The roofs looked to have stayed intact but one of the doors had blown open and was left swinging too and fro. There were puddles on the floor but nothing important had been damaged by the rain that had blown inside. Joe propped the door open. The gentle breeze that was now blowing would soon dry the dampness out.

 

His damage assessment inspection over, Joe headed back inside to pull on old boots and a sweater. He would head off down the path, down the dunes and head off along the beach. Living by the coast meant that he had to endure the worst of the weather but there was nowhere better to wander after a storm.

 

Even from the top of the dunes, Joe could clearly see that the pebbly beach was strewn with things brought in by the tide. Most of it would be rubbish that would be returned to the sea by the tide, but very occasionally there would be something different. Very occasionally his search would be rewarded.

 

The things he found weren't valuable. He used to believe that he might stumble across some sort of treasure chest filled with jewels or valuable coins but so far he has had no such luck. He has found pieces of wood with names painted on them, from boats that have been wrecked at sea, he presumes.

 

Once he found a figurehead, damaged but modifiable. It was in the shape of a seahorse. He had painstakingly replaced the missing section with plaster and then when it was thoroughly dried out, he had painted it and fixed it with concrete to a post at the bottom of his drive. This had given the house it's name of 'Seahorse Cottage'.

 

Joe trudged along the beach, letting his gaze drift from side to side in search of anything that looked promising. Seaweed by the ton, and quite a few bodies of gulls. Once the heat from the sun got to it this place would stink for a while.

 

There always seemed to be plenty of odd boots. Joe had never understood why there were so many, but also why they never arrived in pairs. And why always boots? There were rarely any other types of shoe washed up. Clothing sometimes appeared, normally so ripped and stained that it was impossible to recognise what it had originally been. Clothing pulled off before entering the sea only to be left behind, Joe guessed.

 

Bottles and beer cans are plentiful. Food tins too. Maybe it was silly but he always checks the bottles just in case of messages, even though he has never yet found one. Too many childhood tales of shipwrecks and rescues prevent him from just casually walking past.

 

There are shells of every conceivable kind but Joe has hundreds of them. He is no longer interested in these, even the large undamaged ones. Crabs and shellfish, stranded jellyfish; all these things are common finds on his post-storm walks. Joe is wary of the jellyfish. Some can give a nasty sting even when they are dead.

 

Almost at the far end of the beach Joe can't help but feel a tiny bit disappointed. The storm had been so intense he had felt quite optimistic of making an impressive find. But not this day, it would seem.

 

Joe turned and slowly made his way back home. He was looking forward to his breakfast and a strong cup of coffee. There would be plenty more storms and plenty more chances to make an incredible find,

 

 


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