Miller’s End

“You never know when disaster will strike. So, end every moment of everything you can.”

I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie– Photo challenge — The picture above by  Erik Johansson
Pensitivity Three Things Challenge — Kindness, Life, Trembling
Ragtag Daily Prompt — Random

Miller’s End

“Brian! Get out of there!”

“Wha? Huh?” Brian rolled over in bed. His hand brushed the bedside cabinet. It was trembling. Nothing new for furniture within the old flour mill. The great waterwheel caused everything to vibrate at random times.

“Brian! It’s Clara. Get out of there, now!”

“Uh, okay, okay!” The miller yawned, stretched and sat up. Now, he could feel his entire bed shaking too. “What the hell?” Leaping from his bed, he caught his ankle in the bedsheet, flailed, swore and fell flat on its face.

“Brian! Can you hear me in there?”

“Ugh, damn it …”

“Brian, your life’s in danger!”

“Ahh, shut up will you!” Brian staggered back to his feet, “I hate mornings. I’m going back to —Bloody hell!” Before his eyes, the lath and plaster wall split. The crack began at the floor and ran across the room until it broke through the ceiling.

Brian gulped and ran to the window. The beautiful green fields and distant woodland seemed perfectly serene.

“You’re going over the edge!” Clara screamed as she bounced about, frantic waving and pointing.  

“Okay!” Brian crossed his splitting room with another yawn and peered out towards the sea. “Shit,” he mumbled.

The storm had wreaked havoc last night. The cliffs had eroded right back to the watermill. The stream no longer meandered for another quarter of a mile before reaching the sea. It dropped straight down into an ugly tear in the earth. Worse the mill was about to go over the edge as well.

Brian hastily dragged on his slacks, vest and braces. Snatching his smoking pipe and tobacco from the bedside he ambled to the bedroom door. Behind him, the window fell out taking some of the walls with it.

“Run, Brian!” Clara yelled from outside.

The miller grabbed the door handle pulled but nothing happened. The wracking building had jammed the door. Scratching his bristly chin for a moment, he lowered his stance and rammed the door with a strong shoulder. On the fourth hit, he tore the jamb from the wall and shot into the hallway as the door flew open.

Regaining his balance by the bathroom door, Brian eyed the toilet. “Ugh, better take a piss later.” He lived on the third floor of the mill. Turning right, he grabbed the old wooden bannister and began to descend the stairs. They creaked, cracked and then he fell. “Waaaa!”

“Brian! Are you all right in there!”

The miller crashed down amid an explosion of wood splinters and debris. Landing on piles of old hessian bags that used to reside under the stairs, he filled the air with plumes of dust and flour that choked his lungs and left him coughing. Opening his eyes, he was in time to see another window and wall caving in toward him.

“Criminy!” he threw himself under the waterwheel’s giant spindle. A cacophonous bang and a monumental series of crunching noises ended the back wall. The waterwheel began groaning, some of the wood had jammed the mechanism.

Brian staggered to his feet, bleeding from flying debris. Gripped his right hip, he swore as it crunched, “Gah, think I broke me bleedin’ arse!” he complained as he watched the grindstone spindle straining to turn. “Looks like I won’t be making any more flour here,” the miller wiped tears from his eyes as he ambled down the last flight of stairs.

“Come on, Brian. The building’s going over the edge!” Clara screamed.

Brian felt it, the ground floor was lifting up against his feet. He ran across the flour store and thrust his key into the front door lock. It clicked against the keep and wouldn’t turn. The damned thing was always stiff.

Behind him, the wall tumbled into the abyss of roaring water and jagged rocks.

The miller abandoned the key. Grabbing a keg of grease he used to keep the mill mechanism running smoothly, he hurled it at the window. The old frame split and buckled as the glass shattered and fell out.

Climbing on a crate, Brian took one last look at his collapsing mill and threw himself out of the window.

“There you are, Brian. Why didn’t you use the door?”

Brian landed on the gravel track, but he wasn’t safe. It was buckling and collapsing even as he scrambled back to his feet. “Because I used the bleedin’ window, that’s why!” he grumbled.

“Stupid, old fool!” Clara chastised.

Reaching the woman in the pinafore dress, he took her arm and led her further away from the collapsing landmass. He was just in time to see the rest of the mill fold in on itself and disappear over the edge. “Thank ya for ya kindness, Clara.”

“Now, what you on about?” she asked while adjusting her bun of hair.

“If ya hadn’t a woke me, I’d ‘ve gone over the edge with the mill. Ya saved me, Clara.” Brian wiped his eyes. “Can I come back to your house for a while?”

“Sure, come on.”

“Thank ya, I’m dyin’ for a piss,” Brian chuckled. His way of dealing with a disaster.

“You never change, Brian. You never change,” Clara kissed him on the cheek as she led him away.

The End

Thanks for reading my friends.

There’s more in the Poetry CornerShort StoriesShort Stories 2, and, Short Stories 3 tabs.

Have a great day!

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