The Town

Written by: Suraya Dewing
Maximum number of words per chapter: 500
Minimum number of words per chapter: 450

It was an ordinary day in the small town of Forest Hill.

The afternoon sun sat in a cloudless sky, people went about their business, stopped to chat on the street or sat in cafes drinking coffee while idly sharing inconsequential chatter.

Yes, just an ordinary day. Very ordinary.

At 5 pm all that changed.

Katrina was locking up her shoe shop when she became aware of an unfamiliar stillness in the air, like time was suspended. She imagined that the sense of disquiet was a trick of her imagination…tiredness after a busy day perhaps.

She sniffed the air and realised that even the usual delicious smell of fish and chips from the shop next door did not hang in the air.

Instead, an odour like rotten eggs snaked through the town. It caught in the back of her throat and she coughed.

The lock clicked. She withdrew the key. It rattled as it dropped into place on the key ring. For a split second the jingle overrode the eerie silence. She got in her car and stared Then steady rumbling began. Far away and ghostly.

The smell of rotten eggs became stronger, and the air thickened with a smoky haze.

Feeling ill at ease, she opened the door to her car and slammed the door shut. She stared out at the empty street. She checked her watch. Usually, people were milling about at this time, catching buses picking up take-away dinners.

Then the sound grew…from a rumbling whisper to a distant roar.

A knock on her window set her heart pounding.

Pete, in his army uniform, stood there, looking grim. She wound down the window.

“Mt Aden is erupting. You have to leave.”

“Mt. Aden’s miles away,” she protested.

His voice shook.

“People are injured. The burns are terrible. We’re clearing people out. Mt Aden’s going to go again. Get to shelter.”

Sirens raked through the air.

Immobile, trying to decide where she could go, she watched him stride away. He stopped a car that appeared through the haze.  They were her neighbours before they went to a local retirement village.

Their elderly faces were etched with fear. Hank’s frightened pallid face appeared above the steering wheel.

The mountain was silent, sucking in breath.


Pete stood beside Hank’s driver’s window.

“We’ve just come from Mt. Aden.” He nodded to the back seat where a picnic basket lay on its side. “People are dead but that’s a mercy…” His voice cracked. “The burns are terrible.”

Everything became silent.

Above the silence Pete said,  “It’s going to go again. We’re evacuating everyone.”

Hank looked about him with terrified eyes. “Where will we go?”

“As far that way as you can go.” Pete waved toward a peninsula that jutted out to sea. His voice rose in pitch. “Go anywhere but get the hell out of here.”

The earth juddered. Ash darkened the sky and the mountain blew ash, and molten lava into the sky.


I agree to the terms and conditions of this website.

Terms and Conditions

Publication schedule and notes

Please note

All existing content in this chapter will be deleted and that chapter will be made available for other users to book

You have to be have a "Writer account" (paid subscription) to continue. Please login or follow this link to register for the site as a writer.