Turtles Without a Goal

So I had such a good time with Chuck Wendig’s random title flash fiction challenge last week I thought I’d do my own.

I have no idea what generator he used but the one I found produces the most glorious rubbish imaginable. Ladyloves with Red Hair, Human of Destruction, Ladies and Lions, Pigs and Pigs, Body with Wings, these are the titles in the private library of a deranged serial killer.

I’m going to embrace the awfulness and throw 1000(ish) words at the most ridiculous title I can find from the adventure category on fantasynamegenerators.com.

Turtles Without a Goal

Adrienne knew what was in the envelope lying in front of the door. She sighed and stepped over it, putting it off while she started the coffee pot. She got the old computer warming up too and shuffled some of the week’s paper work around. Finally she poured coffee in to the chipped, old mug from her alma mata, grabbed the envelope and headed back out the door to sit on the steps of her pre-fab office facing the beach. She looked across the white gold sand to the sea, so much closer than it had been when she’d first arrived here.

Simon had included an apology note along with the returned cheque, which was nice of him. She loved writing those cheques. There was something so tangible about the official department of conservation logo and her signature. It made her feel like she was a respected official doing an important job in a proper office, not an underfunded dogsbody in a portacabin on a beach no one cared about. She wanted to crumple the note, the cheque and the envelope, maybe tear them to shreds or fling them dramatically in to the sea. She filed them instead.

***

Sam looked up when she heard the gate in front of the bar. Come the tourist season it would be open all the time, but in the off season it creaked, giving her notice every time a local stopped by. The window only gave her a glimpse of the path to the front door but she caught a white shirt and dark hair and knew it was Adrienne. By the time her friend had climbed onto a stool at the empty bar she had a beer ready for each of them.

Adrienne accepted the bottle with a tired smile, Sam clinked them together and sat.

“It’s official, they sent the money back.”

Sam winced in sympathy and took a drink.

“So what happens now?”

Adrienne shook her head.

“Nothing. By the time they’ve finished with the resorts the turtles will have been and gone and we won’t be able to touch the beach. By the time the hatch has finished they’ve all closed up shop for the winter and then the storms will hit and the damage is done. Short of me going out there with a spade and shifting tonnes of sand myself there’s nothing we can do.”

“How bad will it be? The beach will still be there?”

“Next year? Maybe. There’s no way of knowing how much damage the winter will do. And if I can’t get the funds to tempt someone away to protect a threatened beach there’s no way I’ll be able to raise enough money for a damaged one. Eventually the sand will be gone.”

“I can’t imagine that. How can the beach disappear from the beach?”

Adrienne shrugged and took a long drink.

“What will you do?”

“When I’m a marine conservation officer based on a beach that doesn’t exist anymore?”

“Yes.”

“I have no idea. I guess the department will move me, or get rid of me.”

“What will the turtles do?”

“Come back to a missing beach, after that no one really knows. Maybe they’ll find somewhere else. Maye they’ll just keep pointlessly coming back here. I don’t know.”

Sam watched her friend roll the bottle between her palms. After months of ranting and late nights defeat almost looked relaxing. She headed back behind the bar for a larger bottle and two glasses. She took Adrienne’s beer, passed her the tequila, took her hand and led her out to the beach.

***

Adrienne had been horrified to discover when arrived at the beach that she could have quite happily stayed there for the rest of her life. Throughout university, volunteering and internships she’d planned it all out. This was supposed to be her first job on the way up a long ladder. It was only when she’d got here that she realised she’d be happy enough never climbing another rung. She’d been counting on being driven and ambitious, the whole plan sort of fell apart without that.

Sam’s flat above her bar was cool and breezy this early in the morning and this early in the year. Adrienne sat up gingerly, waited to see how bad the hangover was going to be. When it seemed safe she went to the loo and then stood awkwardly at the foot of the bed trying to decide what to do. Sam was sprawled on her front with the sheet pushed down to her waist. She looked solid and warm and relaxed, the opposite of Adrienne who felt like she could wash away at any minute.

The sun was well up, she should really head to the office soon.

She thought about the turtles who would be starting to feel the pull of this place. Soon the last generation was going to be born here. After that, suddenly they would have nowhere to go.

She slipped back in to bed and pressed herself against Sam’s back. She pulled the sheets up over the both of them and curled in as close as she could.

 

Author’s note:

Well that didn’t go how I expected! Beach erosion is a real and increasingly troubling thing by the way, even though this was un-researched nonsense.

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