That Was Unexpected

Charlotte Langtree

Wyld FLASH November 12th 2021

The gods watched.

Far below, the world turned ponderously in a sea of dying stars. Creatures lived and died beneath the searing eye of the Sun. Sea and land fought tirelessly for dominance, and humans warred against their primal instincts. Time, unsurprisingly, moved on.

On a small island, surrounded by cerulean blue, an ancient volcano roared with an anger that shook the heavens. Something had disturbed its centuries-long slumber, and its wrath was great. Hot ash blanketed the land, falling like soft snow through the monochrome sky. The heavy miasma clogged the air, and the people who dwelt there coughed and gasped as they ran blindly toward the sea. Those closest to the volcano fell screaming beneath waves of molten lava. Many more sought refuge with their loved ones and died frozen in their grief, their bodies immortalised as eternal statues entombed in the ash; an everlasting memorial to the overwhelming victory of nature over man.

A few lucky ones threw themselves into the glistening sea, praying for mercy from any god who might be listening. The pearlescent water enfolded them in a loving embrace and granted them eternal sleep on a bed of soft sand, beneath a blanket of liquid regret.

Its ire sated, the volcano calmed; the ensuing silence was deafening. Shining waves, foaming with sorrow, continued to lap against the barren land. A soft rain began to fall; the sky wept bitterly and mourned for an entire civilisation lost to that fiery eruption.

Above, still watching the awful scene with hawk-like eyes, the gods turned to each other.

“That was unexpected,” one commented.

The other shrugged, one corner of his mouth tilting up as he spoke. “It’s your move.”

Author Bio: Charlotte Langtree is a poet, aspiring novelist, and writer of short fiction. In December 2020, she was named ‘Author of the Month’ by Paper Djinn Press, and she is currently a finalist in the Great Clarendon House Writing Challenge 2021. You can find her online at 

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