I was a teenager the day my boyfriend and I were separated. The earth had been changing but we hadn’t noticed. We were in love. Others had noticed though and they took steps to keep us alive. Half the population had been moved to the Eastern hemisphere, somewhere near Japan, I think. That’s where my boyfriend went. And I was in the other half that stayed in the United States. I’m not sure where we ended up, they didn’t really tell us that.

For most of us, there was no communication with the other group. I didn’t know if I’d ever see my boyfriend again.

When we arrived, we were assigned duties and most of our days consisted of those duties and learning new survival skills, like how to identify plants that could save your life. Most of us were still kind of oblivious and just accepted this as the new normal. I made a few friends over time. I even started hanging out with a new boy. He seemed really curious about why we had been moved and what it all meant. I started paying attention to the things he said and watching. 

I watched the damn that was located just off the ridge where we were staying. I watched the families going down to the dry lake bed to play in the sand. I even went down there a time or two when I wasn’t busy exploring the old grand hall up on the hill.

Then the day came. 

I heard shouts and looked up from my work to see what was going on. There was a large wave cresting the damn. The dry lake wasn’t going to be dry any more. Some of the more adventurous ran down to the waters edge as it rapidly approached. 

And then they saw that it wasn’t going to stop where the beach used to start. It was going to keep coming. And they ran.

Screams from the other direction. There was another wave coming from the other side. The side where there had never been a lake or any other major body of water. And this one was MUCH larger. 

Thinking as fast as I could, I started running towards the grand hall on the hill. It was the highest point we could reach. I started yelling for others to join me.  And then the new boy grabbed my wrist and started pulling me in that direction. I stopped hard. He looked me in the eyes. I screamed over the noise of the people and the crashing of the water as it approached, “I love you!” 

I couldn’t help it. I know it’s cheesy tragic romance movie kinda stuff but, if this was the end, I had to let him know. 

“What!?” he shouted back.

“I LOVE YOU!” I screamed louder.

“OH! I love you too. Now let’s get going.”

It wasn’t long and drawn out, like in the old movies when you are yelling at the screen for them to stop wasting time. It took mere seconds for the whole thing to transpire.

We ran towards the grand hall.

As others were running towards the main entrance, I grabbed him and shouted for him to follow me. I knew how to access the stairs into the tower. That was the very highest point since access to the roof had decayed in rust long ago.

We started climbing the winding, narrow stairs. A few followed us.
Once we made it to the tower, we looked down at the people gathered in the hall below. They might be OK. At least it was higher than the other buildings around.

We only had a few minutes to take it all in. To look around and ponder our fate.

And then it came.

As the wave took over, it grabbed all the people below and threw them around like a child throwing his toys in a temper tantrum. The water quickly rose with a mix of debris, dead bodies and a few still trying to survive. 

The boy and I braced ourselves. We were going to hang on as long as we could. As the water reached our waist, we put our hands and feet out to brace against being slammed against the wall. 

“Hold your breath just before it over takes us.” I yelled.

One deep breath. 

I look over at the boy and he’s holding my hand while we each hold our breath together.

But the water hadn’t over taken us yet. I had to take another.

Inhale deep.

And then I wake up.

Photo and story ©️Nicole Bandes – All rights reserved.⠀

I hope you enjoyed my little story. I believe all places hold many forgotten stories. This is just one of the many possibilities. This particular story is the result of a real dream I had. I have been looking for just the right building to put with it and I felt this one was perfect.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

And they also hold real histories. Not all of the histories are known, but many are. And I hope to also share those whenever possible.

Vine Street Workhouse Castle was built in the 1890’s to replace an existing workhouse. It was meant to be a place of reformation but sank into corruption. The workhouse was officially closed in 1927 and the building served many purposes over the next several decades.

In 2014, Daniel Edwards sought to revitalize the building that had stood abandoned for more than 50 years. It is, as of 2021, still caught up in red tape and politics.


KSHB 41 “Developer under federal investigation conditionally approved for $1.2 million in KC tax money.

African American Heritage Trail “Vine Street Workhouse”

Abandoned Spaces “The Fascinating Kansas City Workhouse Castle” by Kelly Ludwig

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