The Flood

......Will it ever stop raining? Day after day after day, it's poured down, as if somebody up there opened all the taps and forgot to shut them off. Surely, it can't carry on much longer?
......God! The thunder goes on and on, rolling and crashing like a gigantic bowling alley in the sky. There it goes again, shaking the walls. No chance of them coming down, though, they're much too strong.
......What idiots in their wisdom decided this place should be built right smack next to a major river? Any fool could have told them this would happen; a river so strong and powerful was bound to burst its banks one day.
......I wonder if I'm the only one left? I suppose I must be; I haven't heard anything other than the thunder and the lapping of the water for a couple of days now. There was a lot of shouting and screaming and banging for a while; then it all went quiet. They must have got everybody out. Everybody but me, that is. I yelled myself hoarse, but nobody heard - or wanted to hear. Why should they bother about me, after all? I'd have been the last thing on their minds.
......Then the water started seeping in. Slowly at first, just a trickle, nothing much to worry about. But then gradually, steadily, the level rose. Filthy, dirty stuff, stinking of the river, swilling round my feet.
......Water terrifies me; has done since I was a kid, when I was what - three or four? I can remember it as if it were yesterday, the day I fell into the pond in the farmer's field. I was told to keep away from it, but did I listen? It was horrible! Green and slimy and smelly; things crawling round me, nibbling at me, biting me. The weeds tangled and twisted round my legs, trapping me, pulling me down, like fleshy tentacles. I nearly drowned - I would have done if the farmer hadn't pulled me out. I was sick for days after swallowing all that muck.
......Since then I've steered well clear of water. Until now. Now I can't get away from it.
......My legs are aching from standing up here. Once the level started to rise above my waist, I had to climb onto the table to get above it, but already it's reached my thighs again. I'm so tired, I wish I could just lie down and rest, but that's impossible. All I can do is pray the rain stops and somebody remembers me and gets me out of here.
......Small chance of that happening. It's lashing down as hard as ever, just listen to it! It's beating on the roof like a thousand drums. And nobody's going to come rescue you - why should they? Who's going to bother about you?
......There goes the thunder again, like God with a bellyache. And the lightning, ripping the sky open. Course, the electricity went days ago, and it's always been pretty dark and dingy in here anyway. Now the lightning's the only source of brightness. There it goes, making everything into a black-and-white photo - white walls, my shadow - the black water.
......The water.
......It's up to my midriff, and rising. I think it's coming in faster. You wouldn't believe it could so easily get into a place as well sealed as this - but then, that's what water does, isn't it? Nasty, evil, insinuating stuff; it sneaks and creeps everywhere, goes where it wants to, and nothing can stop it.
......It's so cold too, like icy fingers swirling round me, prying at me, getting into my clothes, into my skin. It's as if it wants to get inside me, make me part of itself, turn me to water too. I suppose it will, eventually. My flesh and organs will break down into mush, liquefy, slough off my bones and float off and become part of it. Then it will have me completely; I'll just float away wherever it wants to take me.
......It's at my chest now; it won't be long until it's over. For a while I thought I might cheat the water by suffocating from lack of air. My head is touching the ceiling and there's not much space left above the water, but there's still plenty of air left - even though it does stink. The stench is overpowering; the flooding must have brought the river-bottom up, brought it up from where it's lain for years. Who knows what's died there, what's been slowly rotting and mouldering deep down there, undisturbed until now?
......Won't be long now; it's almost to my chin and still rising. What am I supposed to do now, now that I'm just a disembodied head bobbing above the water, now that my legs are so tired from standing all this time they're barely supporting me any more? Should I pray? Isn't that what you're meant to do when you're at death's door? Pray, confess all your many sins, make your peace with God? What's the use? I'm still going to die - I was always going to die.
......Oh my Lord, it's lapping over my mouth! If I stand on my tiptoes and tilt my head back, I might gain a few more moments, a few more breaths of life.
......Shouldn't have done that, shouldn't have opened my mouth and let the water in. It tastes so foul, filthy, dirty, disgusting.
......This is it. It's seeping into my nose now. Trying to work its way into my lungs, my stomach, trying to flood me like it's flooded everything else.
......This is the end.
......Take one final deep breath; suck in the last breath you will ever breathe.
......It shouldn't have been this way. This is not the way I was meant to go. If it hadn't rained, they would have come for me in the morning. Led me from this tiny, claustrophobic cell with its tiny, barred window, taken me down the long corridor to the white-painted room. There they would have strapped me in the chair, said a few words and pulled the switch. A surge of electricity, a momentary pain, then - nothing.
......A good, clean death.
......Not this. I know I shouldn't have killed all those people - but not this.
......It shouldn't have been this way.

Copyright Scorpio Tales 2001. All rights reserved.

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