Sunday, June 14, 2015

Seashell City

 When I was 14 I was given an assignment by my English teacher to write a short story. This is the story I came up with. I am blogging it as part of my personal progress.

   There was once a small kingdom ruled by a lazy King and Queen. The kingdom was shaped like a bowl. Beige walls rose up on all sides to envelope the city in safety from the outside world. The people of the city had grown rebellious. They were tired of being mistreated and under appreciated. They waited in vain for a leader to rise up and help them take control of the kingdom.

     Sarah looked out her bedroom window. The waves crashed against the sand and the sun glinted off the water. It was a calm day but the night was sure to be stormy. Sarah gazed at the distant clouds and wondered what the sea would be like that night. Living nearly in the ocean was amazing but it had drawbacks. Even with a tall storm wall, there had been times when the ocean had come alarmingly close. Sarah loved the ocean but she feared the waves that inevitably came with a storm.
     Knowing what nightfall would bring she decided to visit the sea while it was calm. Leaving her bedroom she grabbed a snack and exited her house toward the water. Eating her grapes, she skipped through the very last remnants of each wave as it was swept back into the mass. One grape got lost as she went.

       In the city, panic spread as a huge purple mass came hurtling toward the castle. However, it never made impact. Instead, it hit the curved edges of the city causing the whole place to vibrate. City vibrations, caused by one thing or another, were not uncommon. This time, however, the people had had enough. What were there leaders doing if not protecting them? The sky darkened as the people of the city plotted.

     Hours later, Sarah ran in the direction of her house. Having lost track of time, she had walked along the beach much longer and further than she should have. It was raining lightly and getting worse Watching her feet as she jogged Sarah saw the most beautiful seashell sitting just out of reach of the high tide. Unable to look away, Sarah stopped to examine the beige masterpiece. She picked it up and put it next to her ear. Instead of hearing the ocean, she heard very distant shouts.

       A huge crowd of citizens had gathered at the gate of the castle. They were ready for change with our without a leader. They shouted at the gates, demanding that the King and Queen come out. This did little and the people began to tire. When, without warning, the city jerked violently and began to ascend. The rain that had been pelting the people abated and the sky was replaced with a gaping hole. The people continued to shout but it was now from fear rather than rage. The scenery then changed from a hole to what looked like a giant eye.

       Sarah gazed into the seashell trying hard to see what was making the noises she thought she heard. There were indentations in the shell and various colors and what looked like sand. Nothing that should be shouting. Turning her ear back to the shell to check her sanity, she began to hear words rather than screams.

       The people of the city had found their leader. Surely this giant was here to free them and lead them to victory. Almost with one accord, the people began to shout a single word. Help.

      Sarah listened quietly as she heard the word help repeated numerous times. She looked around and realized that her exploration had caused her to lose precious time. The rain was pouring hard now and the tide was much higher than was normal. She felt it brush against her toes, a spot on the beach previously untouched by the water. She was still a long way from home and she didn't have many options. She knew her parents would worry. They were probably looking for her. Then she looked back at the seashell.

     After pleading for help for several minutes, the people of the city sat back and watched. The rain had started up again in droves and they could see both the sky and the outline of a giant person's upper body. What would this person do? Would she change the tide for them? They waited in anticipation for their freedom.

   Sarah thought about her options. She could still hear the pleas for help echoing in her memory. She had heard so many voices. How could she deny them the help that they sought and so desperately needed. Had she not picked the seashell up, it and its numerous voices would already be lost. She promised herself that she would do whatever it took to help the voices in the shell. She put her hand over the top and began to run.

     The sky was blotted out and the city went dark as something immense ended the rain and light. The city began to move. It teetered one way than another. Vibrations unlike it had ever known shook it at regular intervals. People fell down, buildings crumbled, this was not the help they wanted. 

     Sarah ran as fast as she could. The waves had grown, the tide continued to come in, and she found herself backed against the cliff face that bordered the beach. Waves began to hit her. They grabbed at her feet first, then her knees, and then her waist. She held the shell above her head to keep it out of the raging water. She could only imagine what the waves would do to the voices. Looking ahead she could see the storm wall that surrounded her house. She knew she couldn't make it, not without her hands. However, she couldn't bring herself to let go of the shell. Despite the fact that whatever was pleading for help was all but invisible to someone as big as herself, she had made a promise.

    The people of the city, unaware that they were being rescued from a fate they could not even fathom, grew restless and angry. They were tired of the vibrations. They were tired of the dark. And, they were tired of feeling small. Who was this giant to make choices for them? Shouldn't they get to decide if they wanted their city elsewhere? The people, sure that they were being unjustly trodden upon by a new threat, turned their rebellion to the hands that carried them. The King and Queen, seeing the turn of events, chose this time to present themselves and their support for the people.

     Sarah was ten yards away from her storm wall. She forced herself through the water that was now hitting her chest. The tide pulled her in and out as she struggled to stay on her feet. The storm was fierce and frightening, and she fought it with everything she had. She knew that without her, the voices had no chance of living.

      The people aimed their weapons high, at the blackness that obscured their view. Their spears, and arrows, and sling shots were ready. The king gave the signal and the crowd let loose a volley of objects whose only ambition was to destroy the plague blocking their view.

     Sarah spit out a mouth full of seawater. The tide was now over her head and all of her effort was barley keeping her in control. She still held her hands aloft, one supporting the shell one protecting it. Without notice, her shielding hand began to sting. It felt as though it was being pierced by hundreds of tiny pins. The uncalled for aggravation almost caused her to remove her hand, but she knew that she couldn't do it. Without her help the voices wouldn't make it. She struggled onward, certain now that  the most she could do was save the shell. She would no longer be able to save herself.

      As the last of the arrows came crashing back into the city the people began to despair. The sky was still missing and flooding had started. Every few seconds water would come splashing through the gaps between the curved walls and the black mass. The giant was clearly playing some wicked game. Why would it move them from a place of safety into a place of chaos?

     Sarah was drained. Her energy was almost gone and she was freezing. The storm wall was close but not close enough. With a last burst of stamina she pushed  her feet off of the sandy ocean floor and taking her stinging hand off the top, threw the shell towards the wall. She prayed that it would make it and that the voices would be okay.

     Suddenly the obstruction that had been blocking the sky was gone. It was replaced by a violent storm and an unnatural loss of gravity. The people paused their grumbling to grab hold of stable objects and gaze at the heavens. Water poured into the city from all directions as the balance of the people shifted and turned. Fear gripped them in a new way. 

     The tide dragged Sarah away from the shore. She watched the seashell fly just over the wall and out of sight. As the waves dragged her under she knew that she had done what she was meant to do. She had provided a second chance for the voices and given them the help that they had begged for. Satisfied that she had done her best, she took her last breath and the sea took her away.

     The gravity within the city was restored abruptly and the biggest vibration yet was felt by all of the inhabitants. Several buildings crumbled and many were injured. When the shaking stopped, the people realized that the rain was gone, though the storm could still be heard. Water was no longer leaking in from every direction, though there was plenty in the city to deal with already. The King and Queen took charge and began giving directions to the confused and frightened people.

     Anyone looking outside of Sarah's bedroom window the next day, would have seen a beautiful seashell sitting on the ground outside under her awning. The water had never quite gone over the storm wall. Although, it had been close more than once. The seashell, therefore, had appeared almost miraculously.

      Unsure what exactly had taken place the previous night, several theories began to circulate the kingdom. Some in the city felt that they had saved themselves from a giant menace and weathered a great storm alone, others were convinced that all of the events were a series of bad luck, still others thought that maybe, just maybe, the giant had played a role in their salvation.