First chapter of a book idea. not named yet
Great Britain was in decline. The fall of an empire. The Royal Family, had been flown out to somewhere safer abroad. The rich had moved worlds away. The mystical counties were in a state of peril. The sea was coming in. From the sea new creatures were evolving. Some might have been abroad for years, only now in such numbers.
No one had noticed when the monsters had come in from the deep. No peril existed for them to perish naturally.
The children used to crab them, hanging wood out over the water with bacon speared on the end. They caught them in numbers and threw them back. We wondered why they came. What food source were they after?
The larger fish came closer to shore hunting other species too. The North Sea was the last refuge of fish. The other oceans were largely fished out by commercial factory fishing vessels. The government were in crisis, only the poor were left to manage the kingdoms.
The rich who once bolstered the National Health Service, tax and the benefits agencies, were no longer paying their dues in Great Britain. There was no money to stop people from starving, no money for treatments, and no people paying enough either. Government was grinding to a stop. The Countries were coming apart.
The sea came racing in one early Tuesday morning, the storm, we were told on the radio was far out to sea. A barrage of huge waves had been pounding the shore since the day before. The houses built too near the sea had fallen down. It looked as if war had started.
“Come on,” I said to Elsie, hugging her hand closer, “Let’s go as far as we can.”
She nodded slowly, and picked up her feet a bit. She wasn’t bad for a nine year old, her hair was swept out of the way in an band, and her wellies were mine from the year before and they slopped happily with each step. Mum had said they were too big yet Elsie wouldn’t listen.
“Mum said we weren’t too go to close to the sea,” she yelled back at me through the wind, “Said it’s dangerous!”
“She won’t know,” I said promptly, “Not unless you tell her.”
I wondered if she would. She generally didn’t. She often followed me round anyway. So it just felt natural for me to take her. We hadn’t been out for days, I felt as if I had cabin fever.
“You said we’d have a happy meal!” she yelled at me. She looked across the street hopefully. The sea water was about 6-7 inches deep. We splashed out way through happily enough. No crabs or fish so far.
“Was it deep as this last time?” she asked seriously, picking her way through the dirty water.
“Yep, Pretty much,” I responded as I reached for the door, “They kept the restaurant going then too.”
There was only a few people in the restaurant, the shop was clear of water after the first foot or so.
The boy at the till laughed at us. “Couldn’t stay away huh?” he said and picked up something from behind him. “Want a crab burger?” he teased, and showed us a large crab that had somehow got in.
Elsie paled dramatically and went behind me. I’m taller than she is, I’m 12. “Is it dead?”
“Yes!” he admitted , “Wouldn’t touch it if it wasn’t.”
“Did it get in?” asked Elsie, “Through the door?”
“No,” said the boy, “He must have climbed through the window. We found him stewing nicely on the burner.”
The window was six feet off the ground. We looked up in silence. The water was only a foot deep at the most outside. That was adding inches too. How did it get up there? I looked back at the boy he was older than me, by about 8 years. He was poking the crab over onto its back, underneath the claws lay flaccid, and below the middle it showed a set of what looked like frog’s legs.
Elsie started to cry. “I hate those things,” she wailed.
He nodded, at us, and picked it up, staggered under the weight and took it to the side door and chucked it out into the foot deep water. As we watched the water churned up, and we knew that his hard shelled brethren were eating him up.
“It had legs!” I said to no one in particular.
“Yes,” he agreed slowly, “I took pictures. I think it’s important. Happy meal?”
“No crab!” said Elsie still wailing.
“Course,” he said winking at me, “Go sit down, this place will fill soon, I’ll bring them over.”