It’s raining again.
Cold and dreary gray clouds hang overhead, but not so far away–I think I can touch them if I tried. The rain chills the skin, sinks to the bone and dampens any hope of survival, a hope I’ve given up since…
No one saw it coming.
The massive rains flooded the world–not parts of it. All of it. Billions of people were washed away as the waters rose and levees and dams broke.
I’m fortunate, I guess, or maybe not so much when you consider the way things have turned out. When the rains began I pulled up the boat–a standard johnboat–and prepped it like I was heading out to fish. It’s a precaution I always took, though I never thought I would need to hop in and float away. As the waters rose higher, I pulled the boat onto my porch, loaded it with food, a cooler, life jacket, an inflatable raft, first aid kit and a few other items.
When morning came the next day the water had already seeped into the house and was rising at a steady clip. I grabbed my dog, Rufus, and untied the tether. The current swept us away, spinning our boat round and round. There was no use trying to steer against the rushing waters.
The rain finally stopped, but by then the world had been completely flooded. It was like Atlantis and I’ve often wondered if this is what happened to that city. Every once in awhile some of the larger skyscrapers can be seen jutting out the water like an obscene finger, a regular fuck you to the world.
The dead… they floated, bodies bloated, hair around their heads like halos. The stench grew worse as the days passed, but eventually blended in with the rest of the damned world, like one big rotting planet. I guess that’s what it really was– what it is.
I’ve also wondered if this is what Noah felt like when he was on the ark, if he saw the dead floating like logs. I wonder if he wanted to help the people too stupid not to have listened to him when he said it was going to rain.
I wonder if we didn’t listen to him again…
Most of the bodies have sunken beneath the surface leaving only dirty water and debris of the way things used to be. Plastic toys and bottles float along, some trees, too. I plucked a stuffed lion from the water. I was amazed to see it floating, but horrified when I tried to pull it out of the water. A small hand still clutched tight to it.
I screamed, fell back. The lion tore free from the hand and landed in the center of the boat. Rufus sniffed at it and then chomped down on it, probably hoping it was real meat or a bone, anything to get rid of those hunger pangs I’m sure he felt. His eyes were miserable brownies staring at me, begging for something to eat. He spat the stuffed toy out and went back to the front of the boat where he plopped his head down.
And we floated.
Days turned to nights and back to days, each one blending with the other. Our food ran out well before we found the stuffed lion. Part of me wishes I would have grabbed that bloated blue hand. The other part, that section of my brain that still holds onto sanity, somehow is still very thankful I didn’t. I think that part doesn’t know I’m dying.
It’s raining again.
My stomach no longer growls at me. It hurts and I can see my ribs. The clouds are now an angry black. Though I can’t see the lightning, I do see the bottoms of the clouds flicker like a bulb about to die. And that thunder off in the distance sounds like the gods are laughing at me.
Puny human. Puny survivor.
Rufus lays at the front of the boat, his eyes closed, tongue hanging out. I don’t know when he died, but I know he did, just like the rest of this damn world.
I stare at my old friend. His thick chest makes my stomach hurt more and wets my tongue. I scoot forward, weak, but determined. I reach for him. Lord knows I thought about it before… His fur is wet and matted down and my stomach grumbles for the first time in days. It’s still alive in there, still wanting to be fed, still clinging to life.
I lick my dried, crack lips and tears spill down my cheeks as I lift Rufus to my face.
“I’m sorry old buddy,” I say.
The sound of his body hitting the water makes me cry. He sinks quickly, leaving behind bubbles popping on the surface.
I lay down in the bottom of the boat. My head is dizzy and the rain pours down on me… And somewhere behind the clouds, the gods laugh louder…