It's time for the Write...Edit...Publish (WEP) February challenge.
Some suggestions by the WEP team:
In Too Deep is a prompt for any situation with the potential forunforeseen conflict. Or it could be literal – a flood, a hurricane, a mining disaster, you name it. As always, the badge depicts how wide open the subject is. There are a million possible takes.
I've gone with a literal interpretation of the In Too Deep prompt. All I could see was water swirling, having been moved by news reports of flooding globally in the past months, followed by landslides, mudslides, with tragic consequences. So, here's mine...
In Too Deep
Sunny’s heart pounded in time to the steady drumbeat on the roof. Rain didn’t usually scare her, but tonight the sound unnerved her... just a little.
The whispers of wet leaves blowing on the wind had became a roaring as the galvanized roof took a pummeling. If she allowed herself to turn fanciful, she could imagine a jack-booted army running across the corrugated iron.
Enough of that. She must think about Matt. She wished she’d not been so abrupt when he’d rung earlier and shouted down the phone at her.
“Sunny, get out of the house – now!”
"Don't be silly! I’ve lived in the country all my life. You’re just a city slicker, and a British one at that." What would he know?
"Just leave, I beg you!"
“Listen, Matt, I’m not leaving my home for some itty-bitty water. I’ve been through worse. And look, no matter how bad the rain’s been in the past, this house has never flooded. When Mum and Pop lived here, it came close just that one time, but never too close. Relax. It’d have to be the flood of the century for our home to be inundated.”
“Don’t be infantile, Sunny. You can’t control nature. With climate change, nothing is simple any more. We’re going from one extreme weather event to the next.”
“Oh, pfft. You sound like some mad scientist with your doomsday theories. I’m a positive person. Nothing bad will happen.”
“Why do you always have to play that glass-half-full card? I might be in London, but they do have breaking news here. This flood is looking grim, according to the BBC. I’ve done the math. Our house will be metres under before the night is through!”
London seemed so far away. It was far away. And it rained every time she set foot in the place. Why should they be concerned about a littl precipitation in Oz? “Darling, you’re such a worry wart. I know it goes with the territory. I love that about you. It’s nice of you to be so concerned, but last time I went outside, the river was way down. The weather reports never get it right. Always sensationalism. They get off on scaring people.”
“You should be scared. You’re so stubborn. Does that go with the territory?”
Best not to answer that.
Matt continued: “If you won’t leave, I’m sending Josh over to drag you out.”
“Don’t waste your time, darling. Josh’s already been. He was very persuasive, but I told him I was staying. I’m a big girl.” She certainly was that.
“I love you Sunny. I can’t live without you. Leave for me and that little one if you won’t do it for yourself.”
Matt continued his cautionary tale, but she hadn’t listened.
After hanging up, she nodded off at the kitchen table, lulled by the wind and rain.
Hours had passed by the time she jerked awake. She struggled to her feet and walked to the window. OhMyGod! The river had broken its banks. Her house was surrounded with murky, swirling, murderous-looking water. She jumped back in fright. A log shot into the air, narrowly missing her window.
The enemy was at the door. What could she do?
Sunny pottered around the kitchen fixing a snack, singing on top of her voice – singing away the water – anything to keep her mind off the now raging beast which was coming for her. She stayed away from the windows. They might shatter. No one to stitch up a cut for kilometers.
In the gathering gloom, she could just make out palm trees straining, fronds bashing the sodden grass in long wet trails. She sat back down at the kitchen table, rubbed her stomach, singing softly, praying for the water to go down. Or the rain to stop.
She shivered in the icy coolness. She pulled her parka over her jeans, leaving it unzipped. Uneaten snack pushed aside, she huddled in her chair, alert to the river sounds.
“Matt, my darling, I love you,” she whispered, “I’m sorry.”
Crack! A eucalyptus tree speared her kitchen window – shattered shards of skittering glass pinged onto the tiles, narrowly missing her legs. Rain poured in through the jagged hole.
“Help me God.” She clutched her stomach, cradling its mound, waiting for something to happen.
The phone... again...loud, shrill, insistent.
“Sunny!” Josh shouted down the line. “Get the ladder and climb into the roof! I’m coming!”
The phone dropped from her freezing fingers. Water crashed through the kitchen door and sucked and swirled around her sopping feet.
She was tough. But she was in too deep this time. She lived in outback Australia. She’d overcome adversity many times – bushfires, drought... and now... unusually, floods. A once-in-one-hundred-years event.
But she’d survive this. She had to – for Matt and their baby.
She set up the ladder.
She had a foot on the bottom rung when the first pain struck.
FULL CRITIQUE WELCOMED
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Thanks for coming by. I'd love a comment about my story.
Thanks for coming by. I'd love a comment about my story.