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.
Ladonna wasn’t surprised to hear that her dad was out helping with the flood, but she was shocked to hear that he was hours away helping another town instead of theirs. After breakfast, Ladonna followed her mother into the master bedroom, where her mother was using the bed to fold laundry.
“Mama, why’d he go so far away? Don’t we need help here too?” Ladonna asked. Her mother folded one of Bud’s t-shirts and handed it to Ladonna, who put it in his pile.
Her mother sighed, “Well, that town needs more help than us at the moment. He said they did ten high-water rescues last night. One woman didn’t make it, and he said seven people are missing. A bridge washed out without warning over a highway. They’ve already gotten all of their rain, but we’re next. He’ll come back here then.”
“How is Elwood City?” Ladonna asked. Her mother shrugged and pointed for her to go to the television to find out for herself. The playground Muffy saw wash up her creek was no longer the top story. A creek than runs through the eastern side of town had reached flood stage, and another road was closed downtown as the water neared the bottom edge of a bridge.
“It’s gonna wash away!” Bud cried, a wide grin on her face.
Ladonna remembered the highway bridge her mother mentioned and shook her head grimly, “It’s not fun, Bud. People could die.”
“But they got the road closed. As long as nobody’s stupid enough to not listen to the signs, nobody’ll get hurt,” he argued, his child-like wonder fading from his face. “Can’t I watch something cool without being judged?”
“Not when people really could get hurt,” Ladonna said fiercely, rushing to her room and slamming the door behind her.
Francine heard a similar noise from the apartment with the rowdy boys. Their frazzled mother let them have it for laughing about the playground washing away, so she sent them to their room fiercely. Francine was happy for the familiar sound, but now things were too loud. People were arguing, the tension from the impending flood causing other tensions to rise. Francine’s own parents argued over breakfast, namely because her dad wanted to go to work. Their mother wouldn’t let him, and Francine was glad. More roads were being closed as a precaution, and it was still raining.
Francine looked out her window as a flash of lightning caught her attention. Thunder came a minute later, rolling over the soggy town. Francine let her eyes move away from the grey clouds and down to the saturated earth. Puddles in a lot nearby had grown to pool-sized portions, and there was a small brook in the road leading to a storm drain.
Jenna saw a similar sight out her window, but she could also see a DOT crew circling the block checking storm drains. They were clear but growing full with water, and Jenna wondered how much water the city’s sewers could handle.
Brain was doing the math. He had numbers from websites, but he couldn’t figure things out. Besides, adding things up was only stressing him out further, and his mother made repeated attempts to lure him into a quiet game of Battleship or Chess to keep him occupied.