Long & Winding Tale of a Deluge

MSJADELI from Tao Talk started this story at Teresa Grabs’ fun challenge, Finish The Story. Here’s her Opening Chapter:

The House on Clearwater Lake

A house sat perched precariously on the edge of Clearwater Lake. It was a house that should not have stood, yet stand it did. It had been there for centuries and locals swore the same couple lived there the whole time. Locals never knew how right they were until the day the rains started.

“It’s just a little rain,” Susan said, watching the couple pile water and canned fruit into their shopping cart.

The couple looked at the checker and smiled politely. “The rain will not stop,” they said, “we’ve seen this before.”

No sooner had the couple left, Susan but dropped her smirk as locals poured into the shop chaotically looking for food. The once spring storm skies have turned …

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Sadje’s Part 2

….. dark grey and water came down in sheets. People were scurrying away in the downpour with their bags of groceries clutched tightly under their umbrellas. Susan thought that it would be prudent to get some stuff for her family as well, just in case… What am I thinking! She nervously chided herself and yet she bought some bottled water, cans of soup and other supplies and started home. The umbrella she had was too flimsy and inadequate to handle the rain and she was soaked to skin when she reached her place. She met Dan at the door who was getting the kids inside. She sent an inquiring gaze towards him and was answered by a nod. Dan knew something but didn’t want to say it in front of the kids.

After dinner when they had sent the kids to bed, they discussed the elephant in the room.

“Do you think there is something to be worried about, the rain I mean?” Susan asked him.

Dan looked a bit worried but smiled at her question. “You have heard the rumor too?”

“I was there when the Jackson’s were buying water and other foodstuffs in the store today. She said that the rain won’t stop! Do you know what she meant?”

Dan looked uneasy and said…….

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Melanie’s Part 3

Dan looked uneasy and said, “Oh I suspect those people are just doomsday advocates. You know, those odd people who go about spreading lies about the coming end of the world!”

Susan frowned, disturbed at Dan’s cavalier attitude. “I don’t know about the doomsday idea,” she began, “sensible people have been telling us about the repercussions of our lifestyles for years and years. What do you think global warming is about, anyway?! All these horrid superstorms, which keep getting more and more severe. I wonder if there isn’t a grain of truth in the Jackson’s statement. Maybe the rain won’t stop this time.”

Dan snorted, but it was a weak uncertain sound. Susan knew he believed the same thing she did. But what to do about it? There wasn’t enough food and water available if the rain kept pouring down, not to mention the flooding that surely would occur and the destruction of life as they knew it.

Susan thought back to old traditions that she had grown up hearing about. Things about appeasing old gods and sacrifice. Maybe it was time for some out of the box thinking. Maybe someone should call Stephen King and ask him what he would do, if he were writing about the end of days brought about by a mega-storm, instead of a mega-virus. Susan shook her head at her whimsical train of thought.

The thing to do right now was to make sure her family was secure. Dan could put together some sandbags and …

There was a tremendous roaring sound and a portion of the side door nearest the small creek, broke apart. Muddy water began to pour into the hall. Susan screamed, out of pure reflex, and Dan and she clung to each other watching the water run. Out of the black night a voice boomed…

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Kristian’s Part 4

Making them jump, then stand and stare in astonishment.

“Come on, jump aboard, this is your last chance,” said a man with a long white beard standing on wooden hand made boat.

Susan grabbed her raincoat and her kids and jumped onto the boat and Dan was not far behind. They saw they were not the only people on board, several of their neighbours were there huddled inside the bowels of the boat.

There didn’t appear to be anyone steering or rowing the boat and yet, without rhyme or reason, it appeared to float down the watery avenue that had once been the main street of town.

The boat then sailed out onto the lake towards the island. The lights in the house were lit like a beacon, beckoning them in. The boat pulled up against a wooden jetty and the strange bearded man jumped out and tied the boat securely.

“Come on everyone, we’ll be safe on the island.”

When they arrived at the house, the front door opened and to everyone’s surprise…

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Fandango’s Part 5

…there were seven dwarfs standing in a reception line, greeting everyone as they walked into house’s foyer. “Oh my God, they are so cute,” Susan whispered to Dan.

Dan, always the skeptic, said, “I don’t know, Susan. I am not too keen on being ‘saved’ by some random, Gandalf-like Wizard who miraculously shows up at our home, shuffles us onto a crude wooden boat, and then leads us into Snow White’s house to be greeted by the likes of Dopey, Doc, Bashful, Happy, Grumpy, Sleepy, and Sneezy. Are we in the middle of some weird dream or are we dead, having perished when the muddy waters poured into the hall of our home? This whole situation makes no sense.”

Dan walked up to the man with the long white beard and said, “Where are we and what is going on here? We put our lives in your hands and you bring us to this strange house with these little people waiting to greet us. I need a rational explanation for all of this. I demand an explanation.”

The man with the long white beard glared at Dan. “Your cynicism is well placed, my friend,” he said. “We are at a way station, neither here nor there. We will remain here until fate guides us to our next steps.”

“What next steps?” Dan asked.

The man with the long long white beard smiled. “You are about to find out, my friend.” Just at that moment, the front door to the strange house flung open and standing in the doorway was none other than…

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StrokeSurvivor‘s Part 6

a small, clean -shaven man. As he gradually appeared in the dim light, Susan could see that he looked younger by some years, but there was no mistaking the family resemblance to her own “escort”. “I couldn’t find any more”, he said. More what? The question was left unanswered.

Susan, fortunately, was starting to think clearly. “We need a roll call”, she announced. “Do we know anybody who lives close by, who isn’t here?” For a while, there was silence. Dan was alerted by a tugging of his sleeve. He looked down to see his eldest daughter. “Mrs Brennan”, she whispered. Of course, old Mrs Brennan owned the beautiful Rose Cottage next to the creek.

Dan took control. “You’re right. We have to look for Mrs Brennan”, he said. “That creek will be bursting by now, we have to find her. We might be stuck here with a bunch of weirdos but we’re not in immediate danger. We need to find her and bring her here”. “That’s impossible”, a voice piped. It was Gandalf: “You can’t get off the island”. There were murmurs of agreement from the dwarfs, but Dan had to try something.

“Who’ll help me?”, he asked. From the rescued party, a man and a woman stepped forward. “We can’t just do nothing”, the woman said. “Okay, we all got torches? Make sure those coats are wrapped well!”, Dan said with an air of determination, before wrenching the door open again. Susan hugged the children. “Dad won’t be gone long”, she said, trying to stifle her own tears.

Outside, the rain was still lashing down. Even Dan’s powerful torch was not much use, and he stumbled twice as he retraced their steps from the boat. Finally, the three broke out of the woods and reached a small jetty. But instead of the boat they had just arrived in, they saw…

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New Epic Author‘s Part 7

the house on the edge of Clearwater Lake inundated by a mud mudslide. Mrs. Brennan was standing on the roof yelling her head off that she needed to be rescued, as the heavy rains triggered a mudslide that knocked her house off its foundation. Luckily, she was able to crawl out from under the wreckage to get on top of the house, before it was ripped apart. The roof was floating in the high waters and Dan couldn’t even guess where the rest of the house was. Dan yelled, “Delores, hold on we are coming to rescue you.” Delores said, “Of course I am going to hold on, but I need to know if you have seen my son Josh, as he was playing in his bedroom when the house came loose and I am afraid that the river may have taken him.” Dan handed his torch to George, man with a long white beard and he climbed onto the roof and told Delores to hold his hand as they were going to jump off together.

Once they were safely on the ground, Dan grabbed his torch back said, “Let’s go find Josh, he couldn’t have gotten too far and something in my bones is telling me that it is this way.” Dan indicated the direction with his torch and then the natural gas pipeline…

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My (Li from Tao Talk) Part 8

…..made a horrible screeching sound as the roof floated into it.

A hand reached from behind Dan and grabbed the torch and doused it in the water.

“Look!,” Jimmy, the tall fireman with the short dark curly hair said. Dan and the others looked to where Jimmy was pointing. The natural gas pipeline was broken, with gas escaping with a piercing hiss. The torch could have blown them all to smithereens.

Jimmy said, “Let’s split up, and half of us try to find Josh, and the other half come with me, to the fire station. We have a small fleet of boats all gassed up and ready to go. We don’t know how much longer the rain will fall, but there’s a good chance the island and the house will soon be underwater.”

Dan, Mr. & Mrs. Jones, and Delores set off to find Josh. Jimmy and George headed for the fire station to bring the boats back. They all decided to meet back at the same place in an hour.

The water continued to rise; slogging through it was tiring. Delores kept calling Josh’s cell phone but every time it went to voicemail. She wondered if Josh had snuck out again like he usually did when he was sent to his room. She called Misty, the mother of Billy, Josh’ friend. Misty picked up immediately.

“Misty, this is Delores. Josh isn’t at your house is he?”

“Delores, yes he is. He said you told him he could spend the night because you were afraid the river was going to rise and get to your house.”

“Thank God he’s safe. I didn’t say he could stay at your house but I’m glad he’s there and that you all live on the one hill this town has. Is it ok if I come over and stay with you all, at least until morning?”

“Sure Delores, come on over.”

Delores told Dan and Mr. & Mrs. Jones good luck and headed for the hill. The other three headed back for the rendezvous point with plenty of time to spare. When they got there, they climbed up on the roof and waited for Jimmy and George with the boats as the rain continued…

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Keith’s Ramblings Part 9

…to fall from the leaden sky.  They waited and they waited.  What was taking so long?

Delores was exhausted and drenched to the skin by the time she reached Misty’s house atop the hill.

“ Let me have your coat, Delores, I’ll get you a towel and a warm drink”

“Where’s Josh? she asked.

“In the front bedroom with Billy ”  Misty replied.

Delores ran up the stairs.  “Are you okay she called as she ran through the door.  Josh was nowhere to be seen.  She went from room to room.  Where was he?  And where was Billy?  She tried calling his cell phone.  From an open window, she heard a familiar ring tone. Josh’s ring tone.  On the veranda below, a phone glowed in the gloom.

Back at the rendezvous point, they were becoming concerned.  Over an hour had passed. Where were Jimmy and George?

“Look look, here they come!”

Two boats appeared.  However, their relief was short-lived.  The boats were empty.  Jimmy and George were nowhere to be seen.  There was only one thing for it, …

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Christine‘s Part 10

…and that was to capture one of those boats and get back to the island. Dan glanced at the rolling dark clouds above. This isn’t going to quit anytime soon, he thought, and the creek’s pouring all its water into Clearwater Lake. Before long that house on the island will be flooding, too.” He thought of that strange house where so many, including his family, had taken refuge. He was not going to let Susan and the children drown there if he could help it.

Matt Smith echoed his thoughts. “Clearwater Lake will be rising fast. We’ve got to get the folks at that house moved on to the hill on the other side.” His wife, shivering beside him, nodded in agreement.

However, with the three of them clinging to the roof of the Delores Brennan’s submerged home, the idea of rescuing the others seemed impossible. Dan looked toward the two boats tossing on the water and prayed for a miracle. If only one of them would swirl around this way!

They all turned at the sound of a shout from behind them and saw Jimmy waving from another boat. “Thank God,” Matt cheered, grabbing the rope Jimmy tossed him. He tugged the craft closer to the roof so Jimmy could reach them.

Jimmy jumped out of the boat and grabbed the rope from Matt. “I’ll hold ‘er. Get in quick, people.” Jimmy and Dan held the boat steady while Matt helped his wife, then Dan climbed aboard. Jimmy tossed in the rope and tumbled in beside Dan.

Dan pointed to the empty craft. “If we could reach those we could use them to rescue the others.”

“Exactly! They got away from us at the Fire Station but maybe we can grab them now.” He aimed their craft toward the others, now a good ways down the stream. “George has gone to rescue the Jacksons — you know that old couple that lived in the house by the edge of the lake.”

“I wondered what happened to them,” Mrs Smith commented. “Queer old pair, but I’d hate to see them drown.”

Dan nodded. “Sue said they were predicting this deluge. We should have taken them seriously.”

It had been raining hard before but as they reached the first empty boat, a terrific thunder shook the clouds overhead and rain came down in sheets. Water rose on the floor of Jimmy’s boat; the Smiths started bailing.

As the two craft met, Dan flung himself into the empty boat, landing with a splash in the water at the bottom. Could he keep this small craft afloat? With a last wave at the others, he crawled over to the motor. As he steadied himself, he wondered if it would even start in this deluge?

It had to. He had to rescue his family! He grabbed the starter cord and gave it a fierce jerk. The motor…
To be continued

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I’m nominating Linda at Linda’s Writing Blog to continue this adventure in whatever direction she chooses to go and then pass it on to another blogger — or bring the story to a conclusion if she wishes to do that.

The Worrywart and the Cave

Today’s Word of the Day prompt is GALLERY. I was dismayed when I saw this word, wondering what I could ever write about a gallery. My only thought being art gallery, until I checked with Merriam-Webster and learned that an art gallery is only #4 on their seven-point list of definitions.

The preeminent meaning is: a covered promenade or corridor.
The second is an outdoor balcony, porch, or veranda
The third is a long, narrow passage, even a subterranean passageway in a cave or a mine shaft. Ah! A twinkle’s coming through…

One definition is: “the highest balcony in a theater commonly having the cheapest seats
b : the part of a theater audience seated in the top gallery
c : the undiscriminating general public”
This variation brought to mind an expression we teens used half a century ago:
“No comments from the peanut gallery.”

Now that I have a wider range to work with and the twinkling of an idea, I’ll begin my response to the prompt.

The Worrywart and the Cave

“Just discovered it last week and went through again yesterday,” Ozzie told his sweetheart, “It’s absolutely gorgeous down there, and no one else has found it yet. Come on, I’ll show it to you.”

Polly frowned. “Are you sure it’s safe? What if we get lost?”

“The path is easy to follow and I’ve got a great flashlight. Trust me, it’ll be perfectly safe. Listen, sweetie, being a worrywart is a drag. You can’t always think about what might go wrong or you’ll never try anything. You’ll miss out on LIFE. Come on, let’s check it out.”

A few hours later they parked in a secluded spot not far from the cave entrance and set out on their spelunking adventure. Polly grabbed her purse as they left they car.

“Surely you’re not going to take your purse along? It’ll just be a weight you don’t need.”

“I’m not leaving it in the car. Someone might steal it.”

Ozzie rolled his eyes. “There’s no one else anywhere near here. You worry about the silliest things.”

“I’m taking it. A girl never knows when she’ll need a tissue or something.”

Fifteen minutes later the couple was deep inside the cave. Polly followed Ozzie through the gallery with a little stream flowing beside it. “Don’t you think we should have brought another flashlight, just in case,” she asked.

Ozzie groaned. “This has lots of power left. Stop fretting and enjoy the scenery!”

A moment later the passageway opened up in front of them and they saw the most beautiful display of natural architecture. Ozzie’s flashlight played on the stalagmites and stalactites in intriguing formations. “And here we are. Didn’t I tell you it was awesome? Nature’s limestone gallery in grand display!”

Polly gasped. “This is so amazing!” She looked at the clear pool of water beside the ledge they stood on. “That must be the purest water ever. Do you think anything lives in there?”

“Can you imagine anything living in this kind of darkness?” He shut off his flashlight.

“Now, aren’t you glad you came? You wouldn’t want to miss an adventure like this.”

“Oh,” Polly squealed. “Be careful. It’s so black!”

“Absolutely devoid of any light” Ozzie spread his arms enthusiastically. The hand holding the flashlight bashed against the cave wall. There was a metallic clunk and a splash.

Polly screamed. “What was that? Ozzie, turn the light on!”

“Uh… That was the light. I banged my hand on the wall and lost my grip.”

“Oh, no! What’ll we do? How will we find our way out?” Polly’s voice rang with terror.

“Not to worry. We’ll just turn around and follow the ledge back out again. Easy peasy.”

Polly heard Ozzie moving and guessed he’d turned around. She squeezed against the cave wall to let him pass.

He brushed by her. “Just follow the sound of my voice and we’ll be out of here…aaah!” Polly heard a big splash, then a lot of floundering.

“S-s-slippery. I…fell in,” Ozzie gasped in the darkness. More splashing. “It’s deep…and so cold. Where’s the ledge? I can’t find it.”

Polly sighed, then groped in her purse and pulled out the little flashlight she always carried. She clicked it on and the cave was dimly lit. She set the light carefully on the ledge and reached into her purse again.

“Grab hold of this and hang on,” she ordered, tossing Ozzie a length of nylon rope.

A few minutes later he was sitting on the ledge, dripping wet and shivering.

Polly picked up the flashlight. “We’d better get out of here. You’ll want to get changed.”

Ozzie nodded and shivered some more. Then he got up and stumbled along the gallery behind Polly.

As they made their way to the car, Polly suggested, “Maybe we worrywarts are such a drag because we haul along all the things we might need in an emergency?”

“Yeah. I don’t suppose you have a towel in there, too?”

Not Just My Verse, Yours Too

Bucket (List) of Verses

Rory at A Guy Called Bloke started this fun challenge in poem form and Dale passed the challenge on to me.

Rory’s Instructions:
I will choose a topic, write four lines of Rhyming Verse then l will tag one of my readers who will in turn add four lines of Rhyming Verse to my mine and Tag one of their own readers. Then it is a case of wash rinse repeat and let’s see how far our topic goes in so far as a Rhyme?…

The Perfectly Crazy Bucket List!

Rory Starts us off:

So, so much to do, and with so little time,
I want to do everything, nothing to be missed,
But how do I plan it all, how do I define,
The perfectly crazy bucket list?

Paula adds:
First up is a lush tropical jungle,
Jaguars and waterfalls… all quite insane;
I do hope my parachute isn’t all bungled,
When I jump from the doorway of this airplane!

Fandango Continues:
I want to take a rocket into space,
Or maybe a submarine ride deep in the sea.
I sure hope they will save me a place,
Because that’s where I really want to be!

Cheryl Contributes:
A trip to the mountains is what l’d choose,
I’ll make sure to wear climbing shoes,
Rocks are high and edges slippery,
Wouldn’t want to fall off the perifery,

Kristian’s Contribution:
I’d like see the world, visit the sands of Abu Dhabi
take a cruise down the Golden Gate Bridge in my Maserati
head to New England and catch a game at old Fenway Park,
then board a ship to Costa Rica where I can swim with a shark.

Nova’s Addition
I’d travel to the desert in Egypt
And photograph the pyramids
Then board the Ciaro railway,
To the Chocolateria in Madrid.

Ritu’s Addition
Swimming with dolphins in the ocean deep
A worldwide cruise, though it won’t be cheap
I want to write a novel, and hope it’s a best seller
To see my book upon a shelf, wouldn’t that be stellar?

Willow’s Addition
I’d love to ride a zipwire high up in the trees
And to do so fearlessly as often as I please.
A Starfighter pilot I’d dearly love to be
I smash the evil aliens and set the good world’s free.

Dale’s Two Cents’

For the longest time I have dreamt of Tuscany
Not merely to visit, but to eat, live, and dine
Vacation in ’16, felt like my destiny
I’m ever so convinced, I will fit in just fine

Christine offers her wishes:
Gallowayshire, the ancestral home,
the trip of my dreams with enough £s to roam;
to meet with some long-losts in Wigtown for tea
to stroll through the heather; gaze out o’er the sea.

And now I challenge Dorinda D to add a verse to this melee.

Inquisitive

A Hearty Vintage

Our neighbor down the street’s a hoot
an early 30’s vintage,
witty, spry and curious
despite a little shrinkage.

She’s tasted drought and war and loss
no life of ease was given;
that hasn’t slowed her down a bit
she says life’s for the livin’.

Her husband was the sort to dwell
on everything that’s missing
and thought the world’s a sorry place,
while she claimed life’s for kissing.

She keeps track of the latest news
hears all the gossip cooking;
some folks say she’s seen it all
but she says she’s still looking.

She’ll Scrabble you with awesome words
at touring she’s a pro;
no lazy days in rocking chairs —
she’s off to Mexico.

Funny Hat Woman

🙂
I wrote this poem last Wednesday when the Ragtag Daily Prompt word was VINTAGE, but never got around to polish & post it.
Today I’ll be lazy, give this a tweak and post it as my response to the prompt from Your Daily Word: LAZY.

Books: Stand In The Wind

Something Old, Something New — Part A

This book has been around a long time, but is well worth reading:

Stand in the Wind
© 1975 by Jean Little
Puffin Books

Martha, the protagonist of the story, wanted so badly to go to summer camp and be with her friends. However, she’s an impulsive girl. A mad dash into the kitchen, followed by a sudden slip and bone-cracking fall, puts an end to her plan. The camp won’t accept her with a newly broken arm.

Then she and her older sister Ellen, find their plans change drastically. They were supposed to go to the city with their parents and younger brothers to hang out with the daughters of their mom’s best friend. But in a sudden flip, they find themselves stuck at the family cottage entertaining these two other girls. Snooty Rosemary, the elder, and her mousy baby sister Christine — or Kit, as her Dad calls her — couldn’t be more different from each other, or from Ellen and Martha.

The first day together is a total flop as the four of them realize their differences are too great to ever be friends. So now what? they decide to stick it out for three days. “Just until Wednesday,” they remind themselves, then their mothers are coming back to get them and end the icy silence.

Meanwhile, the girls make attempts to bear with each other. There are fireworks at times but little by little they loosen up and let their hair down. This book details their adventures and disasters as they cope with each other and with the circumstance of being without parental supervision.

Jean Little has penned a number of winning children’s books and this is one of them. Well written, well told, very believable, and a satisfying conclusion.