The Barge

Published: Sep 19, 2020

They lived in a strange house, covered in vines, made of stone, perched near the edge of a small cliff, overlooking the Mississippi River. When it rained, Kean feared the cliff would saturate and become soft; they would slide down into the river and float downstream on a barge. The barge was moored to the water's edge directly below the house. A precaution he had set up for what he deemed inevitable.

"Why do we live like this?" she asked, tucking purple hair behind each ear.

He was watching the rain hop on the patio. A few stray flashes of lightning flared in the sky.

"I like it up here," he said.

"You live in fear."

"Only when it rains."

"I couldn't bear it." She opened a book on modern design, published in the 1950s.

"What is it like to live without feelings? Emotions?"

"I do rather well." She turned a page, then another. "Just what were they thinking for the past," she paused to calculate, "eighty years? This stuff is so delightful."

Crack! Rumble. The house hummed.

Kean squawked and grabbed the counter firmly. "That was thrilling."