by Jenny Woodhouse
They were demolishing the old factory. As it disappeared, the heaps grew. Bricks, concrete, rubble. Waste not, want not, we thought. It would make useful hard-core for foundations; roadways for the new development. The old has to go so that the new can be created.
As the site was flattened the heaps became hills. We waited for the building work to begin. Problems, we heard. Austerity. Finance. Recession.
Soon the heaps were streaked with vegetation. Better nature than grey blocks of flats, we thought.
The heaps became part of our landscape, covered with green, golden with flowers. We paused on the pavements and marvelled.
That winter it rained and rained and never stopped. Droplets, rods, torrents. Roots loosened and shifted. The heaps rumbled and cracked. The bulldozers were long gone and the builders hadn’t arrived. Some of us were ill by that time.
Spring came. Green hazed the heaps again. Then followed the hottest and driest summer since records began. The heaps yellowed, the leaves dried and flaked.
When the thunderstorms began we took little notice. Too many people were ill. The heaps shifted, rumbled and tumbled. Bricks, concrete and rubble spilled onto the deserted pavements and blocked the roads.
Only the pilot of a lone biplane, travelling from somewhere to somewhere else, saw our city.
* * *
Jenny Woodhouse began to write seriously after she retired. She studied creative writing with the Open University. Since then her output has shrunk from novel to short stories and she now writes mainly flash. An addiction to the Ad Hoc Fiction 150 word challenge made her afraid of shrinking even more, like Alice. She is currently working on a number of novellas in flash, expanding again like a universe after the big bang. She has published, amongst other outlets, in Flashflood, National Flash Fiction Day and other anthologies.