Each circle is a story

 

When the Australians Came
Flash Fiction | 300 words

 

There are holes now, where there were none before.

Gaping spherical gashes like dimples on the otherwise unblemished beach. A natural wonder  perhaps? In between the holes no sandcastle ruins nor litter from the sunbathers – no sunbathers even – are present. A natural wonder that is so very perversely unnatural. It is the stench of carcasses that is the tell; the gulls smell it from their heights and they stay away. It permeates from those vast pin prick holes.

Rats fester in the unkept corners of the seaside cottages. Their scurrying uninterrupted by angry hollers, or poisoned cheeses, or ‘ethical’ traps. Instead, scratched wooden floored homes reveal the daily exploring of these rodents. Their toing and froing forming tunnels, miniature grey hedges, in between the layers of dust left behind. Above them, oblivious to the rats, in any and all of the cottages, are walls marked by human hands.
The home with the multicoloured door reads: ‘Marcus M’ in thick black wall paint.

A morning has arrived, it is fresh and delicate and the tide is out. People have been; there are footprints, there are grooves. The grooves are like tunnels, reminiscent of those made by the rats, only here: human sized and awashed with a shade of red. Following one such groove South would lead into a hole, traced North and North again, a B&B, this one named ‘The Rainbow Cottage’. Nailed to the unhinged door, obscuring the all-too-friendly name of the home,  is a passport.

‘AUS
Dennis Turner
Australian
1984’.

All around the seaside resort Australian passports are pinned to doors. Their deep maroon colour clashing with the summary variety the English favour. British aesthetics so corny, no wonder this place is called ‘Cornwall’.

The day is silent once again, bar for the rats’ squeaks. No human stragglers remain, only the marks of the intruders which disappear back into the holes from which they came.