A 733 word story written for the Writer's Cramp prompt 9/18/19.
| Look Back In Anger
If only I could of foreseen. If only any of us could, it would be all so different now. Well, maybe not that much, for we'd have been unable to prevent it. But we could have taken measures, kept safe what really mattered.
Hindsight is a curse as much as a wonderful thing. It's too late to save anything now.
August 31st had been hot and sunny. Not quite as baking as much of the month had been but still hot enough so that by midday your t-shirt would be stuck to your back. The afternoons had been too hot to work outside in for the entire month, so we'd been forced to adapt to using the mornings and the evenings.
Then, on the first day of September it was just like a switch had been thrown. It wasn't so much that the temperature dropped, but the rain came down in torrents. The ground, baked hard by the sun, could not soak it up fast enough and our streets became rivers. The sewers could not cope with the influx of water from the drains, and leaks sprang up everywhere.
Even when the rain stopped on the evening of the third day, almost everywhere that wasn't on higher ground, still had several feet of water inside. Stores lost a lot of stock, people lost the things they'd not had time to move, although a lot of things would dry out eventually.
The sky stayed dark but the temperature rose. It was like living in some kind of steam-bath. A couple of people moved away then, not permanently, just until some of the damp went. For those that had breathing problems it had been intolerable.
Still, we'd had three months rainfall in three days. Things were bound to get better, we told ourselves.
The start of the second week still found us with black and heavy skies. Thunder rumbled and lightning flashed across the sky. More than a dozen trees were struck; a couple of houses too. The houses, still sodden, had burned slowly and we had been able to get the blazes under control before fire swept through the entire town.
Some people took to praying on the streets but most of us just went about our daily business. There were plenty of prophets of doom, telling us that what we were seeing was the beginning of the end. 'The End of Days' was written on the church walls. No one owned up, by I always thought it was the priest himself, trying to attract back some of his 'straying flock'.
Then suddenly we got a glimpse of sun. It was amazing how that brought smiles, a bit of positivity, into what had become a very despairing and depressed town. Nature has a cruel streak, I guess, for it lulled us in to thinking it was all over.
The storm hit in the night. There must have been warnings for one of such ferocity could not have crept up unnoticed. Why did none of us here them? The wind was so strong you could not stand up in it. It tore along streets, roared around corners. We could not go out in it but we were not safe inside.
There'd been no evacuation. Day after day the wind kept up, gusting at close to two hundred miles an hour. Our homes did not stand a chance. Roofs were ripped off, glass window panes shattered at front and back and the wind simply filled up rooms, whirled through with such destructive force that walls collapsed under the strain.
We sought shelter anywhere we could find it, but even so, many people lost their lives. We couldn't even get out there to move their bodies but had to leave them where they fell. I don't think any of us realized how bad it was until it ended and the emergency services arrived.
It looked like a war zone, our town. Like it had been bombed over and over, for nothing was left standing. We had lost everything, the whole lot of us, and were left shocked and destitute. Now with winter approaching we are all left wondering what to do, where to go. Most of us don't even know who we are any more, for all our prized possessions, all our cherished memories, have simply been swept away.
That September was different, right from the start.