Summary: A flood is headed to Elwood City. While the children don’t know what to make of it, the adults have a good idea of what’s about to go down…yet even they will be wrong. First story for my new Disasters series. Can also be found here on ff.net.
Jane was dirty and frazzled as she picked Arthur up. DW and Kate were in the backseat. DW was singing along loudly to the radio, her voice off key and most of the words were wrong. Kate ignored her completely, gurgling as she played with a teething ring in her fingers. Arthur buckled into the front and looked up at his mother. Her eyes were set straight ahead, her eyes reflecting the windshield wipers moving back and forth. Taillights from the stopped bus in front of them caught Arthur’s attention and he looked ahead again.
“Do I need to help with more sandbags when we get home?” Arthur asked cheerfully.
“No,” Jane said simply, her tone sharper than she intended. She turned back to Arthur, “Sorry, I’m just exhausted. Your dad barely got the message from the preschool about early release, then they called about you. He’s finishing up now. There’s nothing more we can do.”
DW suddenly stopped singing, and Arthur realized because they were playing a weather report. Elwood City was under a Flash Flood Watch for the next three days, if not more. Jane shook her head and popped in a CD. DW got back to singing, but Arthur was still interested on his mother’s lingering words: nothing more we can do.
“What does that mean?” he finally asked.
She turned to him so fast it was like a flash of lightning. He regretted the question, but Jane gave him a stern response anyway, “This is serious. Ladonna’s father says we’ll be fine, but what do they know? Yeah they’ve been through more floods, but I know what can happen here. People could die tonight, tomorrow, and the day after. They could get swept away or drown in their homes. It’s going to be miserable! But sandbags, yeah, that’ll help…today. Maybe the day after that too if we’re lucky. But they can’t hold back the rain. It’s going to keep falling, and they said this morning it could rain more than they expected. Do you know what that means?”
“I get the idea,” Arthur murmured.
Jane looked to him again, “Look, I’m sorry. I just…I remember what happened last time, ten years ago. No one listened to the warnings, even smart people who knew better. I had to go to the funeral of a close friend because she just had to have milk. She ran out of milk for her coffee and went out to get more. She drove onto a road covered with flowing water, not realizing the road had washed away underneath. It took two days for the crews to attempt fishing her car from where it ended up. They knew she was dead so they didn’t waste their time.”
“That’s terrible,” DW said. It took a moment for both Jane and Arthur to realize she’d heard everything. Her happy mood was broken, but Kate remained oblivious, drooling and cooing as she finally put the teething ring to her mouth for its intended purpose.