Sunday, December 2, 2012

Storm Surge

A sound awakens him. Tap tap tap tap. It must be his roommate typing. He rolls over and sees a shape asleep in the bed across the room. Tap tap tap. Confused, he looks to the desks. No lights, no laptops. Tap tap tap. He finally looks to the window. Rain and window beat against the pane. The trees, bent over, wave across the parking lot. The storm has begun. Tap tap tap.

She lays, curled up with her blanket and book. The storm howls above her head. Without power, only a faint flashlight fights through the darkness. Mom and Dad are somewhere else, unseen. She reaches for her bear. Finds him. Holds him tight. He smiles up at her as the storm rages.

They race up the stairs, searching frantically for missing key. The battery had to die now! And they had bought a new one just yesterday. Only it wasn't in the car, it was in the garage. The locked garage with the missing key. Clothes and shoes and books are scattered in their path. A glint in a pile by the dresser. Is it? Yes! The longed-for key. They rush down the stairs. As they open the door, a glance up the street stops them in their tracks. Sea-water mixes with rain at the bottom of the hill. A second later the water surges up toward them. Too late.

The crack of the tree's branch sent her scurrying. She dodged it as it fell and slide into the storm drain. The water was higher than normal, but at least the rain couldn't reach her. Drawing up short, she spies a family of mice. Her usual quarry looks up at her, frightened by this second threat to their ever more fragile existence. But she only shakes her head. "Not tonight."

He sits, warm and dry, with his computer. She wraps herself in the blanket, bear drawn close. They watch their car fill up for a second time. She ducks her head as the branch slams into the grate. The crack makes her jump and the book falls to the floor. The water comes in under the door and begins to soak the floor. The door slams and he jumps.