A war between Seagulls and Rats is put on hold by a hurricane __561words
|Short Story 10/03/15
(10/4-In response to reviews I'm adding the prompt here).
Contest PROMPT: This weekend, a hurricane (dubbed Joaquin by whoever's job it is to dub hurricanes) is heading up the east coast of the USA. The Eastern Seaboard is no stranger to hurricanes, but for tomorrow, I want you to write a story or poem about a hurricane that makes landfall in a place that never gets hurricanes. Concentrate on one resident of this place and what he, she or it does.
In a squeak, Captain Ratking ordered starboard guns run out. The crew of the SeaBuffalo threw open the ports, loaded silver ball-bearing shot and yanked the ropes on the 10 ouncers until their barrels pointed out of the ship. A cables length away, the small boats of her landing party reached the thrashing waves of the shore.
Horrified beachgoers were preemptively abandoning their blankets and umbrellas, leaving unguarded food and wares and screaming “Rats!” and “Is anyone getting this on Youtube?”
Seagulls were quick to bully in. One made off directly with a bag of potato chips, and another, younger and clearly less experienced, swiped a sandal before hitting the sky. The rest of the towering birds, four in all, amassed to fight off the dozen or so rats leaping from the water, brandishing neon, plastic swords, the kinds which typically adorn fancy sandwiches.
“Caw-Caw,” said the seagulls.
“Fire,” said the Captain.
The first volley of the five guns scattered the winged clowns, but tenacious birds that they are, twenty more took their place, flocking over the hats and coolers, each more insistent on snack foods than the last. One of them unearthed a delicious looking blueberry pie, and was pecking the plastic lid.
“Reload,” said the Captain, thumping his thick tail on the deck for emphasis, as his ship rolled from recoil. A pie that size was worth a war, and one can of beer from any of one those coolers would be enough for double spirit rations the rest of the voyage. He could be drunk and plump, the envy of any rat. “And again, fire,” he said.
In response, more seagulls fluttered into the masses ca-ca-caw-cawing, some capering around in obscene food-lust with cracker bags on their heads.
A strange sound filled the air. Far less annoying than the seagulls, it sounded like a forest of rustling leaves.
Captain Ratking was taken off guard by the swarm of dragonflies which came next. Millions upon millions of them, rushed from the sea to the shore, skimming him with their iridescent wings, brushing the water and the sand in their feverish attempt to get far away. This was a spectacular performance of nature.
Even the seagulls shut up for a moment in awe. One or two with their mouths full of dragonflies. Nothing had been seen like this before.
As beautiful as this site was, it had a darker meaning. A frightful wind picked up as the sky turned seaglass gray. The long rolling waves switched abruptly into choppy uneven hills.
Before Captain Ratking could shorten the sail, his ship was plunging down into creamy water and laboring up again with frightful list. He set his crew about, cutting the sails with their teeth to stop the SeaBuffalo from bucking wildly to its ruin.
A Northern Hurricane. That was as bizarre as a retiree opting for frosty Maine instead of balmy Florida.
On shore, umbrellas, seagulls, towels, and chips all tumbled down the beach. Most regrettable was the sand sodden fate of the pie.
The crew of the SeaBuffalo was also treated to a dish washing machine experience, before the wind picked them right out of the Atlantic and deposited them roughly in the sand amid a massive wall of rocks, snapping every mast and busting the hull irreparably.
Captain Ratking could sense divine intervention when it slapped him in the face thus. And could not fail to see the irony of sheltering from the storm in the rocks amid welcoming gray chicks, who ca-caw-caw-cawed optimistically for snacks.