Well Hi! I don't remember the last time I posted, I just remember lying to you about how I was going to tell you all the things I'm crazy about. Anyway, I wrote this piece a while ago. We were told to write 'a horror story', and I didn't feel like writing about blood, so I took a different spin on the term 'horror story'. I tried to make it really sentimental, and it's actually really close to my heart because the story of the flood behind it is true. I have also been to the place where this happened countless times, and the local people still seem to be reeling from it, and are happy to tell you all about it. It's a small, seaside town in England called Lynmouth, in Devon.
The rain started an hour ago. I can hear the river rising, and from my chair, I can almost see the top of it. There are reports on the news that we’ve so far had about a months-worth of rain, and it is showing no signs of stopping. This seems so unreal. I look at the calendar, checking the date. 15th of August, 1952. How can it rain so heavily in the middle of the summer?
There is no-one outside, understandably. The atmosphere is dark; I don’t just mean the mood, I mean the actual air. I think if you caught some air from outside in a jar, and held it under a lamps, you’d see dark blue and grey swirling around inside.
The sound of the water hitting the roof and the windows is deafening. I can’t hear the television anymore; I’m not sure I want to.
I can hear something louder than the rain coming; a roaring, angry sound and it’s coming for all of us. I can hear what sounds like walls falling – almost exploding – I want to look out of my window and make sure the village is still intact, but I can’t move from my seat.
In seconds, I’m glad I didn’t move from my seat; the river has fought its way out of it banks, and is raging through the village, pillaging. My front wall moved away from its foundations and exposes me to the elements. The wind punches me in the gut and throws my photos from the walls. Memories lay scattered on the floor, a flurry of rain is also brought in and speckles the broken glass.
A tear rolls down my cheek. I look to my wife who is sitting in the armchair beside me, she places her hand in mine and squeezes her eyes shut, letting a tear roll down her wrinkled cheek, mirroring mine. I look at our hands, seeing in every wrinkle and little brown spot, all of the times we laughed, cried, sang. I notice how her wedding ring is still in pristine condition; it’s so true of her character.
The water level is rising across our living room and I can hear another onslaught coming, from further upstream. I look to my wife again; her eyes are still closed and I think she’s praying. I raise her hand to my lips and kiss is gently, one last time.
The river rushes into what is left of our home, taking the television, the coffee table, my wife and I. It feels like a betrayal; the river we have lived next to for the last thirty years, and have loved all of our lives is ruining us. It saw our love blossom, saw our children born, raised, married. It’s taking away everything we ever had. It can take whatever it likes; I won’t let go of Mary.
The next morning, when the rain had stopped, the clean-up began. Thirty-nine buildings had been destroyed, leaving thirty-four people dead. A single policeman had driven for miles in the night to get to the nearest phone, calling in reinforcements. The people who survived came out of the buildings which still stood, and began to pick up the people and buildings who didn’t. It was thought that the little seaside town had experienced over three months of rain during the night, causing devastation which would be talked about, fearfully and speculatively, for over sixty years after the event. The damage can still be seen along parts of the river, with small front walls, and steps up the side of the bank; preserving the memory of the people who were lost in the flood.
Drop me a comment if you liked it, or if you didn't - I changed the settings a while ago so that anyone can post comments - not just people with google+ accounts, and I'd love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading, Laura!