Short Story Of the Day, The Wave by Bill Chance

“Can’t we haul them up with us somehow?” the youngest asked.

“Llamas can’t climb trees,” the old man replied.

—-Bill Chance, The Wave

The Wave that Washes us all

The Wave that Washes us all

I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing another Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.

I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge. So far so good. Maybe a hundred in a row might be a good, achievable, and tough goal.

Here’s another one for today (#18). What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading.

 

 


The Wave

They pushed the llamas faster than they wanted to go but they knew they had to reach the tree. The bare brown ground was covered in a spiderweb of cracks for miles and miles and miles – from one horizon to another. The rise that had the tree on top of it was barely perceptible but the old man could feel it in his bones, having made the crossing so many times before.  Finally, the great tree appeared on the horizon and they knew they were going to make it.

They removed the packets of salt and sulfur from the backs of the llamas and hauled them up into the tree. The llamas were then let free to wander – to tie them would mean certain death. As it was, they would be lucky if half survived the wave… llamas can’t climb trees.

“Can’t we haul them up with us somehow?” the youngest asked.

“Llamas can’t climb trees,” the old man replied.

“But they can swim,” the youngest said.

“To a point.”

They climbed and tied themselves to branches and slept as best they could.

The wave came not as a wall of water at first but as a swelling of the ground until the cracks all closed up. Then the water began to deepen. Then there was the sound and the wave and the water. The cries of the llamas were pitiful as they were lifted and tumbled and struggled to keep their heads above water.

And then it was over. The water receded back over the horizon as quickly as it had come.  The sun baked the ground until the cracks reappeared. The old men lowered the packs of salt and sulfur from the tree as the young men gathered the surviving llamas up across the plain.

There were enough to continue, although for each of them, their loads would be heavier.

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