It's a rainy, foggy day today, a perfect setting to get you in the mood...
***I’m mesmerized by the reflection of the steam rising from the sudsy dishwater and the incessant rain that sheets the window. Ten days of this madness. They say it’s been forty-two years since this old holler’s creek swelled over twice its size, back in ’62 when the hemlocks were still lush, but this is much worse. The Tullacusa River that Laurel Creek flows into is breaching its banks. The roots of the trees upside the mountains have let go. I sure don’t hold much hope for any more crooknecks ripening; it’s a good thing the half runners are hardy this year. I wonder if Zander remembered to check that back corner cabin footer that shifted.
My foam-covered hand moves absently to my swollen belly. I caress it as I recall the sweet lingering kiss Zan planted on my lips when he left for his shift with the rescue squad. A long sigh accompanies my memories of our surprise then deep satisfaction to discover I was pregnant despite a recent miscarriage. I giggle as Baby squirms and pumps my hand with a tiny jab. We didn’t want to know the baby’s sex this time and were filled with a different kind of anticipation than we’d been with Grace and Adam. The thought of my sweet angels makes my heart flutter. They’re snug in their beds; I’m sure their excitement about adopting a kitten tomorrow fills their dreams. Their hound Buddy is between their beds, his jowls melted over his crisscrossed paws.
The flash strikes at the exact moment the thunder rattles the windows and log walls. It echoes down the slopes like from a bullhorn. I run, wiping my wet hands on my jeans. A third crack sends shivers down my spine. Grace’s blond curls cover her face. She stirs quietly but Adam whimpers “Mama”.
His dark eyes look up at me as I cuddle close and sing “You Are My Sunshine….”
The bed trembles with the next bombardment. “Askeerd”, he wails.
“Shhh, I know lil one, Mama’s here,” I whisper, stroking his dark silky hair. Suddenly Grace stands beside us. Tears stream down her cherub cheeks. “Oh, princess, climb in,” I coo, and scoot back against the rail.
The rumble is new. Buddy stands at attention, hackles raised. I can’t recognize the muffled sound through the relentless storm. It seems far away at first. The children beg me to stay as I slip from their arms. “You’ll be safe right here. Curl up together and sing Sunshine.” Their little voices fade as I race to the kitchen, Buddy at my heels.
The floor trembles as I stumble toward the back door. I crane my neck through the crack. Each lightning strike gives me momentary sight. The image is like a photographic negative--trees on their sides, boulders misplaced--and then complete darkness. I can only see what is right in front of me. Black slush? Things tumble past. The crescendo of sounds is mixed with misplaced objects I can’t identify. Is that earth I smell? My ears ring. The power goes out with an explosion.
“Grace! Adam!” I spin and run toward the bedroom. A stool catches my foot and I careen into the table. Buddy yelps and grabs my sleeve, trying to pull me free. A flash of lightning shows me his droopy, desperate eyes. Only after I frantically nod does he run to the children’s bedroom in the back of the cabin. The kitchen window explodes. Glass flies. The logs whine and creak. Something thick and wet surrounds my feet. Beams crash around me. My mouth fills with a wet grittiness as I gasp for breath and tumble uncontrollably. There’s a pressure behind my eyes. My head throbs. My legs twist beneath me, a hot stickiness between them. My arms thrash through rubble and slime. I’m running--only in my mind. I fade. Silence.
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