On the first day of the summer solstice the villagers of the seaside village of Winsome noticed a house between the cliffs and the sea that had never been there before. It was a curious-looking habitation where the cottage was made of stone and a brick tower appeared to have been added as an afterthought.
The bakery cafe was abuzz that morning as the villagers went back and forth about how the house came to be there and how strange it looked. Being a superstitious group, Bess said, “I wonder why today and why in that very space?”
Paul said, “Let’s ask Millie.”
Millie was the oldest person in the village. Old people in small towns become the repository of town history, and the younger ones frequently turned to them for insight. This was definitely a Millie question.
Millie’s house was the last house on the right on Main Street. A small crowd walked the few blocks over. Millie was sitting on her porch on the porch swing, a small black and white cat in her lap. Her pipe was clamped between her teeth – yes, she still had her own teeth – and the sweet pungency of the smoke reached them before they’d touched the gate.
“You’re here about the Fry Place aren’t you.”
The Fry Place? The villagers’ faces wore frowns of confusion as they looked at each other.
“The new house by the cliffs. It belongs to Ebenezar and Alfreda Fry. Thirty years sure goes by fast.”
Bess said, “So you know about it?”
Millie puffed on her pipe and said to Paul, the baker, “Make sure you bake them seven loaves of bread before sunrise tomorrow. Bessie, make sure you give them a large basket of berries and seven gallons of milk, and make sure it’s fresh and creamy. Jebediah, give them seven pounds of tobacco. If they receive our gifts as I have told you to do before sunrise, all will be well.”
Jebediah asked, “Millie, what if we can’t get everything together?”
“Son, you really don’t want to know.”
The villagers became animated and ran every which way, headed to get the gifts together. As dusk fell, they knocked on Millie’s door to let her know. Millie hobbled her way with the villagers to the cliffs. Carrying torches and the bread, berries, milk, and tobacco, as well as a rope with a pulley and hook, at last they were looking down upon the Fry Place.
Although it was summer and warm, a fire appeared to be burning in the fireplace, but it was no ordinary smoke pouring out of the chimney. It was purple, had sparkles in it, and it smelled like cotton candy.
Item by item, they lowered them to the cliffs with the rope, and item by item they were left in the balcony of the brick tower, until all items were placed. As the tobacco touched the wood of the balcony, high-pitched laughter echoed on the cliff side. A light in the tower lit and two very short, very wide, and very slow-moving “people” approached the gifts. When all items were carried inside, one of the figures appeared to turn towards them.
“Thanks, Millie. See you in thirty years!”
The light went out. Slowly the house rose in the water. It was moving towards the sea, on the back of a very large creature that looked something like a turtle. In a matter of minutes, it was out of sight.
Millie turned to Bessie, Paul, and Jebediah. “Mark the date, young’ns.”
Fandango is the host of Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge.