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unyielding - calla smith

Everyone said he was a visionary when Jonothan started building his house. He told them that every night he would be lulled to sleep by the ocean, and each morning he would have breakfast on the front porch watching the tide race out while the morning sun glistened seductively on the perfect deep blue of the sea.

The house went up quickly, and soon he had moved his few prized possessions in and greeted tourists over breakfast, chatting about the weather conditions and the tide, his skin tanned and his smile free and careless as the seagulls that perched on his deck, hoping for a morsel of his lunch to fight over.

At night he blasted classical music and lit up the shore with his Christmas lights like diamonds in the open air. Visitors would marvel at his talent in the kitchen and refrain from mentioning how the house drifted back and forth in the wind, or how the tired creak of the floorboards hinted at the instability of a house with no foundation. Was that why the music was so loud so far into the night? Jonathan’s skin was so sun-blasted and wrinkled that it was impossible to tell if there were dark rings under his eyes.

Jonathan must have noticed the steady creep of the tide before anyone else did. The water line of the pillars holding his house above the ground got higher and higher, and one day a moving crew having lunch in the local diner mentioned that they had moved a bed into the attic in a house startlingly near the sea. The waitress listened attentively, and soon the whole town was talking it.

He didn’t come out on his porch anymore. He would stumble into the supermarket and buy his food without looking at anyone, his eyes hidden behind a salt-stained hat brim, mouth lost under his tangle of a beard. The beach seemed smaller to the families on vacation, even when the tide was at its lowest. Still, no one really thought about it until two teenagers snuck out one night to enjoy some alone time on the sand and found the beach covered in waves. The house was almost completely underwater except for the tip of the attic with a light on like a beacon.

After that, several townspeople took turns documenting exactly what was happening on the beach. When it was low tide, everything continued on like it always had. The seashore was a little smaller, the house a little closer to the wave caps, but that was all. With the gentle dusk, though, came the angry high tide that consumed everything in its path, devouring the sand, pillars, and the house while Jonothan retreated to his attic to wait for the release that would come at the break of day.

They wondered why he had stayed for so long, but never got the chance to ask. Perhaps he had heard the mutterings around town that his experiment had failed. Perhaps even his attic was no longer the dry refuge it had once been. Either way, his truck was seen leaving town one day in a rush of rusted metal as he fled without looking back. Behind him, the water kept rising and rising to fill the wooden structure while furniture floated through the rooms like driftwood, coming and going with the ebb and flow of time.

Calla Smith lives and writes in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She enjoys reading, cooking, spending time with friends and family, and continuing to discover all the forgotten corners of the city she had come to call home. She has published a collection of flash fiction “What Doesn’t Kill You”, and her work can also be found in several literary journals such as Five on the Fifth, Cosmic Daffodil, and Bottled Dreams among others.



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