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.
Nigel Ratburn looked out his window and realized the street was covered with a water flow. Within minutes of this realization, an officer was pounding on his door. His block was being evacuated. It was downhill from a creek that was cresting a few miles away closer to town, and officials were concerned these low-lying areas could be covered in water soon.
Nigel looked around his house. So many items he cherished, so many things he yearned to keep. He knew they were just things, material belongings he could easily replace. But as he eyed an award for a puppet show he did for a competition a few years ago, he began to wonder.
There was no time to go through the house. He went into business mode, pulling a red duffle bag out of the bottom of his closet. He piled it with clothes, then he moved to the kitchen and grabbed some flashlights and batteries from his “Important Stuff” drawer. He then grabbed a lockbox containing important documents and stepped outside.
Rain was coming down in sheets, but that wasn’t the wetness he took note of. There was an inch of water flowing over his yard, covering the toe of his sneaker and sending water up his sock. He cursed under his breath and eyed his car. He didn’t feel comfortable driving in this weather, and officials had made the same decision. An officer yelled in a military-like voice for evacuees to report to a city bus. Nigel knew they weren’t running because of the weather, which made it easy for the city to call them in for important things like this.
As he stepped into the bus, he heard what he thought was thunder. He then realized it was a helicopter, probably from a local news station. He then heard another, then a third as the last family was piled inside. People were crying. The only thing anyone had with them was a bag or two. One old woman held a metal urn in her lap, an old leather suitcase at her feet. Nigel remembered her—seventy-eight, recently widowed, her only child killed in Vietnam. He was glad she at least had her husband’s ashes, that she’d at least be safe.
Five minutes later the bus departed. Soon they were at Elwood City High School. The gym swarmed with other people who had evacuated their homes, some by choice but others by force. The number of those forced evacuations was growing. Nigel hoped they could reach those at-risk neighborhoods in time, especially now that it really was thundering and the rain fell in blinding sheets.