Monday 23 June 2014

WEP-Challenge for June - ROMANCE - Wednesday 24th - Friday 26th June 2014

Welcome to WEP's Blogfest for June [=Write-Edit-Publish, formerly 'Romantic Friday Writers'] WEP's Challenge for 24th-2th June 2014 is 'Romance':

Romance: On the Sea of Litorina

Klara Nilsson lay in the inflatable row boat that she had purchased before the flooding began. The sky was blue with puffy white clouds. She was exhausted from a whole day of rowing and all the preparations in the days before. The water seemed calm now; maybe she could sleep an hour or two. But instead of resting, she thought of the events that made her leave home in a rubber boat made for play in a swimming pool rather than escape from a flood.

It was June when the nights are short. Since there seemed not to be a change in this, Klara concluded that the earth had not been knocked off its axis. The floods must have some other cause. But she had no idea where all the water came from. Where, if not from the melting polar caps? There was no way to find out. All electronic communication was down. Her battery-operated radio did not pick up anything other than static. Her mobile phone was useless. If Klara's theory was correct, the plains of Östergötland, her province, would be under water in the same places as the prehistoric sea of Litorina. In case she was right about this, she took a modern map and drew a new coastline after maps she had found in a book about Swedish archeology. She hoped to find higher ground before her boat hit something sharp that would pierce it and sink it. For the moment, there was nothing but water in all directions; no landmarks to direct her. Using a makeshift sextant and her compass, she could almost exactly pin point where she was on her map.

Unable to sleep, Klara checked her bearings and continued rowing. In the twilight that is the short northern summer night, a small object caught her eye. It was a floating wooden crate with a wet blanket in it. She came closer to the crate and saw that the blanket lifted its head with pointed ears. It was a cat. Klara rowed slowly closer trying not to scare the feline castaway.

'Would you like to sail with me?' she asked the cat as a way of calming it while she reached over and picked it up and wrapped it in a towel.

'Thank you,' said the grey tabby laying her cheek on Klara's shoulder. 

Am I loosing my mind? Did that cat actually say something? Klara thought, holding the cat like a baby. Was this the next step after loosing her home and everything she owned? One way to find out was to keep talking with her foundling. 'You remind me of my cat, Mathilda. Your face is like hers, with the little tuffs of fur on the tips of your ears like the Norwegian Forest Cats.

'I don't just look like your cat, I AM your cat. I'm Mathilda. Thanks for finding me! It's not been easy since water came and covered everything. I've been soaked to the skin for days.'

The joy of finding her cat, Mathilda alive again, made Klara forget about her losses for a time. She and her cat lay in the boat under a blanket and actually slept for a few hours. When Klara awoke the sky was overcast and it smelled like rain. They must have drifted closer to land, as the tops of trees were now visible above the water-line, as well as a few roof tops. It was exciting, but also dangerous. They were getting closer to their goal, but any sharp object in the water could sink their boat. Through the forest of tree tops Klara could see a man rowing a boat - a wooden one. Should she wave or say 'Hello'?

'Hello!' shouted the man in the wooden boat, beating her to the punch, ' Do you need any help?'

'No, not yet. But my boat may not hold up the closer we get to land. How far is it to the new shoreline?'

'About twenty minutes from here. Here, let me take your boat in tow and row the rest of the way.' the man offered. He looked a bit like a prehistoric man, unwashed, uncombed and unshaven. But when Klara rowed closer, she saw that he was handsome with kindly blue eyes. He probably wore just a mustache to begin with, but now had almost a full beard. 'My name is Jakob Lundin, and you are?'

'Klara Nilsson, and this is Mathilda,' she said holding up the blanket bundle with the sleeping cat.

'Oh my. Do you have an infant with you?' Jakob said with surprise and alarm.

'Oh no, it's my cat, Mathilda', she said revealing Mathilda's furry face. 

Klara half expected Mathilda to speak to the strange man. But the cat said nothing, much to Klara's relief. Maybe the cat's ability to talk was an hallucination.

But then, Mathilda put her face close to Klara's ear and said, 'I will not embarrass you by speaking in front of strangers. Let him think that I am an ordinary cat.'

Jakob Lundin tied Klara's boat to his and rowed quickly toward the new coast, which had been a car park earlier before being transformed into a boat dock. When they arrived, it was crowded with wet refugees and their boats or vessels of every description, inflatable row boats like Klara's, children's plastic pools, as well as traditional boats like Jakob's. 

'What do we do now?' asked Klara.

'We pull our boats up on land and start making supper. I have a camping stove, what do you have?' asked Jakob, obviously hoping that Klara could contribute something.

'I cleaned out my pantry, refrigerator and freezer, before leaving home, but I don't have any cooking utensils or stove. So, I'm all for sharing, if you would like to do that.'

'Yes please. Let's do that,' said Jacob and smiled.

 Mathilda yawned and went back to sleep.
Word count according to WordCalc: 997.


This text is a work of fiction. Any similarity to events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

This text is my attempt to write science fiction and it could be a part of a longer work. What has happened is that the plains of Östergötland (where I live in Sweden) are flooded because the polar caps have started to melt, due to yet unexplained forces in outer space such as meteorites hitting the earth and changing its axis. But no one knows for sure, because all electronic communication has been knocked out. The University of Linköping (where I study) is under water. Our heroine is one of the few who saw it coming, and took the precaution of purchasing an inflatable boat before they were all sold out. The name 'Litorina' is actually the name of a body of water that existed under prehistoric times in this part of Sweden. 'Litorina' is a shell fish that could be found in that sea at that time. 
I am not the first to use the Sea of Litorina in a literary connection.



Best wishes,

First Commenter:

Denise Covey

Denise Covey 

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