Authors: Dayton Grey
Kumuki looked frightened, stepping backward, as Sabien began working himself into a frenzy.
“Sabe, take it easy,” Geon said. “We need to have level heads here. You saw the message. We have to make a decision quickly if this is what we want to do. Otherwise she’ll be caught and then we won’t even have the option of going.”
Everyone stood quietly for a moment, thinking about the choice they had. For Geon, it was clear, but he needed to know if everyone was still with him.
“G, you know that I’m with you on this a hundred percent,” Sabien said with a back-five, regaining some of his composure.
“As am I,” Allea added.
They looked at Kumuki who stood staring back at them.
“Kuki? What do you say,” Sabien asked.
“We have to do it, right?”
to do it!” Geon said.
The ground below them shook furiously and low rumbling sound was heard. Instantly, the sound of a horn on their LifeCuffs interrupted them. Geon looked down in fear, recognizing the sound from the day they were nearly caught by the flash flood.
“What was dat?” Kumuki screamed.
“Oh my God,” Allea said, pulling up the alert information. “It was a quake. There’s a tsunami warning. It’s going to be a flash flood. We need to get back home to Mama V, NOW! RUN!”
Run, Geon. Run.
Without a moment of hesitation, Geon turned toward their home and pushed off the ground, running at full speed within seconds.
I have to get to Mama V. Run, Geon. FASTER!
He focused on each step, one in front of the other, dodging debris and rubble along the way with deft turns and graceful jumps. Sabien was only steps behind him, and he could hear Kumuki and Allea’s footsteps behind them as well.
“GUYS!” Allea yelled out to them. “When you get there, make sure Mama V is safe!”
I have to help her. I have to make sure she’s safe.
They ran furiously as Geon kept his eyes on the path ahead of him, carefully dodging and planning each step. He could see the ORBs in his peripheral vision, all of them changed from slow blinking yellow to rapidly blinking red. The few people who were out in this zone were all running for cover and the sound of someone screaming and a child crying could be heard in the distance. The sky was dark, overcast, and grey, and the air was cold and misty. The ground beneath them rumbled again.
“Aftershocks!” Sabien yelled. “Keep going!”
As they ran, Geon had a feeling it would be close. He could now see the home in front of them, but no sign of Mama V.
She must have felt the quake
But then again, when she sleeps, she doesn’t seem to hear a thing.
The deep sound of roaring water grew louder.
Geon flashbacked to the feeling he had when they ran from the flash flood just weeks ago. That feeling of an imposing doom, larger and stronger than the mind could comprehend, closing in on him with immeasurable speeds, sent shivers through his body.
Separate the fear from your mind. Remember Sabien’s advice. Don’t look back. Run. Just run.
Step after step, he came closer and closer to home. He could hear the sounds of the water rushing through the city streets behind them.
“Sabe! Make sure they’re okay!”
“I got it, G! Keep going!” Sabien yelled, glancing back at Kumuki and Allea.
The water was getting closer and closer. Geon could feel it now, only seconds behind them, and it sounded louder and more ferocious than anything he had heard before, including the last flood. He took his last few steps toward the structure and leaped up the front stairs in one bound. The side of his body slammed into the door as it slid open and he yelled out before he had even stepped foot in the space.
“MAMA V! MAMA V! WHERE ARE YOU! ARE YOU OKAY? IT’S A TSUNAMI!”
Geon crashed around the inside of the home, making his way through the main room and down the hall to Mama V’s room, where he found her sitting next to her REMpod.
“GEON, BABY! ARE YOU OKAY? I felt the ground shake and so I sit down here and vait. Where are the others?”
“MAMA V, WE DON’T HAVE TIME! COME OUT TO THE MAIN ROOM! THEY’RE RIGHT OUTSIDE! THE WATER’S GOING TO HIT US!”
He grabbed Mama V’s broad body and heaved her up off the ground with all his might, pulling her quickly out of the room. Just then, Allea and Kumuki flew through the door and helped to grab Mama V and move her to the sitting area.
“G, GET OUTSIDE!” Allea yelled. The flood is a big one and we need to initiate emergency protocol! Help Sabien release the flood-cables!”
Oh my God. This is worse than I thought.
Geon rushed outside, swinging from the doorway and skipping the steps altogether.
“Sabe, where are you?!”
“Under here G! QUICK!”
Geon ducked his head and rushed under the structure, where he saw Sabien struggling to turn a handle sticking out from one of the foundation posts of the home.
“HELP, QUICK! WE NEED TO TURN ALL SIX OF THESE!”
As Geon grabbed the handle, he looked out from under the home and saw the wall of dark water hurtling toward them. Layers upon layers of water rose and fell and were gaining speed with each crash. Geon was so terrified he realized he wasn’t even breathing. He grabbed the handle and wrenched it with all his might, turning it upright with a loud snapping noise.
“QUICK! NEXT ONE!”
They quickly grabbed each handle one after another, turning it and releasing the posts. As they got to the last one, Geon knew it was only a matter of seconds before the water hit them. He pulled with all his might, snapping the handle into place, then grabbed Sabien and bolted for the door.
As they flung themselves up the stairs, the first part of the wave hit them in the legs. Geon didn’t look back, but he could see the shadow of the menacing wave below his feet, looming high over them like some monstrous beast.
This could be it
This could be where it all ends.
They threw themselves into the house and onto the floor as the door slid behind them, scrambling to get up and get to Mama V. Kumuki and Allea were already huddled around her, both of them with their arms criss-crossed over her body. Geon and Sabien slid next to them and looked at each other, seeing the fear in everyone’s eyes. No one said a word for a moment, knowing the impact was coming. Geon took a deep breath, holding Allea with one arm and Sabien with his other. He squeezed tightly. They had formed an interlocking group, each of them connected to two others.
Mama V bowed her head and quietly whispered, “Give us courage. Give us strength. Be merciful,” over and over again.
There was a moment of silence just before the wave hit. The entire world around them went dead, the only sound, their deep breaths. Geon looked up, and though he could only see the ceiling, he knew the wave was above them. He felt like screaming, crying, anything, to try and express the outpour of fear and urgency leaving his body, but nothing came out. He was frozen with terror. He squeezed tightly once more just as the wave came down on them.
The sound of the wave hitting the structure was like an explosion. It was so loud that it deafened and disoriented Geon. The entire home was violently shaken and knocked completely off its base, turning nearly onto one of its sides as the foundation posts crumbled below them and crashed into the ground. The five of them were thrown into the wall, each of them losing their grips on one another. Plates and other items were flung in every direction, crashing in the floors and walls. The home was thrust into the other direction now and they were all forcibly thrown into the kitchen area. Geon watched as each of them slid across the floor, and he clenched his teeth and held his arms and legs out, trying to protect his head from hitting anything.
The house crashed again in the other direction, and again and again and again. Every part of Geon’s body, from his legs to his back to his arms to his head, was slammed against the hard surfaces in the house. Each collision sent a wave of shooting pain through him. He could hear Allea and the others cry out in distress. Everyone tried to grab something and hold on as tightly as they could. Each time a wave hit the structure, Geon clenched his entire body, half-expecting the force of the water to tear through the middle of the home, shredding it apart and sending them all into the flood.
Geon could feel the water rise below them, lifting the prefab completely off the hard ground. They floated higher and higher, and when the cables finally reached their limit, a jarring shock shook them as the structure was jerked to a stop. The entire home bobbed around nauseatingly, as if it were a boat in choppy waters. It rocked back and forth, sending them crashing around, but after a few minutes, slowed down to a steady lurching motion.
Is it over? Are we safe? What happened? Allea? Mama V?
Geon struggled to find words, dizzy and nauseous from the motion. Every part of his body hurt and he could feel blood running down his arms and legs. The room was unrecognizable. It was dark, the lights were off, and the only light illuminating the space was through a set of small, thin frosted windows in the kitchen area. Geon could make out the shapes of the others around him, but couldn’t see who was who.
“Uggggghhhhhmnnnnnn,” Kumuki groaned from one of the corners.
“K-Kum-Kumuki,” Geon said. “Is that you? Ally? Where are you?”
He felt suddenly frantic and frightened, trying to regain himself, crawling toward the shapes of the others. He put his hand down on someone’s arm.
“G. It’s me. I’m… I’m okay.”
It was Sabien. He grabbed his arm and helped him up and onto his knees and they both sat and looked down, trying to figure out what happened.
“The others,” Geon mumbled. “Find them…”
Sabien crawled in one direction and Geon in another. Suddenly he heard the sound of Allea, moaning from the kitchen behind him.
“Ally! Are you okay?”
He crawled over to her and grabbed her body gently, propping her head up in his arms. He could see her face had some cuts and bruises and a flutter of fear shot through him.
“I’m okay, G. Mama V. Find Mama V.”
Just then Geon could hear Sabien and Kumuki talking in the corner. He sounded confused as well, but okay.
The sound of Mama V was unmistakable. It was coming from the sitting area, but Geon couldn’t see her body.
“Sabe, help! It’s Mama V,” Geon cried out as he slid across the floor toward the sound.
Most of the debris from the room had collected in one corner of the room, and Mama V was buried under it. Geon and Sabien dug into the pile of junk and grabbed her large limbs, slowly pulling her out. Geon gasped at the sight of her, and even in the darkness could see there was blood on different parts of her body.
“MAMA V!” he yelled. “Are you okay? MAMA V!”
“G… Geon… my arm. My arm…”
Geon looked down at the arm that she was pointing to and could see that it didn’t look right. It was bent at the elbow a few degrees in the wrong direction, and the joint was red and swollen. There was blood all over it.
“Oh my god,” Sabien said. “I think it’s broken. Don’t move her. Mama V, relax it’s going to be okay.”
Geon shook his head as tears came down his cheeks, trying to comfort Mama V the best that he could. Allea and Kumuki made their way over as well and held on to Mama V’s hands. The home was still swaying about, but Geon could feel the level dropping as the water around them subsided.
“We’ll get you help, Mama V,” he said softly to her. “As soon as it’s safe outside, we’ll get help. Don’t worry, Mama V.”
The five of them sat together in silence, as Geon tried to regain his thoughts. What they just experienced was truly terrifying. Geon realized it wasn’t the fear of being hurt or even dying that scared him… it was the fear of something happening to the others that frightened him. He could see the same feeling on the faces of Sabien, Kumuki, and Allea, as they looked down at Mama V with concern. Her bruised and bleeding body lay sprawled out on the floor between them and she winced with pain each time the structure jolted too severely.
After an hour or so, the home finally came back down and connected roughly with the solid ground below them. Geon asked Allea if it was safe to open the door, and after checking the information on her cuff, she nodded. Geon found his way through the dark to the door, stepping carefully on the wet floors on the way there. He pushed it open with the help of Kumuki and Sabien, sliding it back slowly. As it opened, more water came in through the edges of the doorway.
Geon stepped out and looked around in the dark silence. The flood had withdrawn and all that was left was the wet ground and scattered debris and remnants of the destruction lying about.
I couldn’t image this place looking worse that it already did, but I was wrong.
“We need the medic,” Geon said. “Will they come?”
Sabien shook his head. “During a disaster like this, it will take them hours to come. They don’t come out here, often, G. We have to go to them.”
Another CARE-controlled division that doesn’t benefit us in any way when we need them.
“Okay. We need to keep Mama V stable and go slow.”
The four of them helped Mama V on her feet and Allea wrapped her arm carefully in a piece of cloth, trying to stabilize it. Mama V groaned as they slowly made their way out of the house and down the dark wet streets. They walked in silence, no one saying a word until they finally reached the clinic.
There were already quite a few other people there, each of them tattered, bloodied, and bruised. An elderly man was crying out in pain, lying on the floor, and clutching one of his legs, as his wife and daughter tried to console him. Another woman had a small boy with her, standing next to her and holding onto her leg. He had dark red dried blood running from his nose, down his face, and onto his clothes. One of his eyes was bloodshot and bruised. It was a horrible sight.
“Look at them,” Geon said softly as Mama V waited her turn. “Imagine how many more there are out there that are hurt… even…”