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.
Buster hated being alone. He sat on the couch, his legs tucked under him as he watched the news. The newspaper had made the morning news because of the basement flooding, but his mother’s top assistant told the people that they were fine, that a pump had been placed inside the room and things were okay for now. He wished his mother had spread the news, but she texted him constantly. She was fine but she was worried about him. He was the same about her, and discomfort grew within him. He wished none of this was happening.
Another breaking news story came on. Buster recognized the neighborhood immediately, and he even caught a glimpse of the only person he knew that lived there: Nigel Ratburn. A creek was flooding and they needed to evacuate the residents. Buster knew Ratburn was safe, but the helicopter’s camera showed exactly why they were being pulled away. Water was rising on the street, and he knew their homes were in grave danger.
Buster decided to examine his own area. He went upstairs to his room and pulled back his space-themed curtains. Rain fell in large drops, big enough for him to track them to the ground. Large puddles were in their usual places—by the dumpster, in front of Building B (where no one was parked, thankfully), and near the basketball court. There was a small bit of rushing water heading into a storm drain nearby. Buster noticed a Coke can bobbing at the entrance that was at the wrong angle to go in.
A moment later, a member of the condo’s ground screw picked up the Coke can and put it in a bag tied to his hip somehow. Buster thanked him under his breath and turned his attention to a sheriff’s SUV rolling slowly through the neighborhood. He watched it closely until it left the area. Buster exhaled, glad that they weren’t coming to evacuate him.
The student’s in Mr. Ratburn’s class tensed when they found out their beloved teacher was being evacuated. Francine was pulled from her room at the news, and she sat like many others, her eyes glued to the television as she watched the bus leave the street, where water was steadily rising. A live shot confirmed why they were leaving: The water had gone up another three inches, and the road was no longer visible.
Binky was stunned at the images. Mei-Lin squirmed uncomfortably beside him. She and Kate had both been restless, feeding off the tense energy coming from the adults around them. Both played with teething rings, begging for people to sit with them or hold them. Binky held Mei-Lin in his lap and flipped it over to the public kids’ channel. A scrolling message at the bottom said that parts of Elwood City were now in Flash Flood Warnings based on the watershed they were in. Mr. Ratburn’s neighborhood was the Blue Creek basin, and residents were under a mandatory evacuation order set forth by the mayor herself.
Binky gulped. He knew things were getting bad because it had been raining and raining, but his teacher being evacuated because the mayor said so? That was crazy.
“Kids, are you in here?” Binky’s mom called. Binky responded, but when he looked up and saw his mother in her nurse’s uniform, he felt himself grow tense. His mother noticed, “I know, I know, it’s not the best weather. Your father called his buddy from work, Mr. Brian. He’s going to drive me to the hospital. I promise to stay there until this whole flood thing is over, namely because that’s what I told my boss,” she grinned.
“But what about us?” Binky cried as his mother scooped up Mei-Lin and held her close.
Their mother sighed, “Your father will be here, and I’ll call you whenever I’m able. I have to go in. The hospital is now in emergency mode, and we’ll stay that way until this is over. Just keep your sister company and make sure your dad doesn’t worry too much,” she winked, kissing Mei-Lin’s forehead before handing her back to Binky. She then kissed his cheek, “I love you, sweetie.”
“I love you too,” Binky choked. He heard a car pull up, and soon his mother was in it, being driven away from him. Even though the man would drive slowly, it still felt like he was speeding away with his mother and driving her straight into danger.