A Day In The Life

Thick, black-clad storm clouds gather, piling up, one over the other, bellies swollen, pregnant with rain. They sing a deep and rumbling eulogy over echoing, deserted streets. The rain beats down, machine-gun fire drumming on the still hot steel rooftops, a gossamer curtain drawn heavy across the horizon. She thinks back to this morning, reflects on a hangover made worse by a 4 am phone call.

—–

He cruises the dark, abandoned streets. Traffic lights, office lights, streetlights. All off, all disconnected. This new king surveys his new domain, the light a tainted, musty brown. The incessant rain hammers down onto the turbulent eddies of a temporary lagoon, drumming onto houses built high on hills but still starting to go under.

—–

She was the one closest to the scene, her editor had said. The floodwaters were rising. Get dressed, get a camera, get out there. She had rolled out of bed, her pounding head mimicking the rain, falling for five days now. Struggled into the shower, with cold water shocking her awake before the gentle caress of hot water came drizzling from the boiler beneath the stairs. Dashed outside, past the sleeping form huddled in the warmth of the bed. She could apologise when she came back. He would understand. Hopefully.

—–

Tumble-weed cars pirouette and glissade past the drowning brewery, it’s foundations like deep cavernous lairs in this terrain as he explores the new annexation. Beer-can bait offers up a silent temptation for helicopter crews hovering above as he waits to spring his trap, prowling high above the streets silent and menacing in his meandering river home. The waters encroach on higher ground, pushing up out of gullies and the low-lying streets, gurgling into stranded Queenslanders, wading above the currents on stilts of creaking wood.

—–

“The waters continue to rise here in Brisbane as memories of the 1974 floods continue to play on the minds of long-time Rosalie residents. With some saying that this current tragedy is far bigger in scale, an inundation of near Biblical proportions, the people of Rosalie are really showing their resilience in these difficult times, banding together to help evacuate…” She was standing, knee-deep in a new and slowly rising coil of the mud-brown river Brisbane, staring into the dead eye of the camera, surrounded by the owners of discarded cars, coffee machines and canines, milling through the water.

—–

The helicopter is a wasp, nimble and forest green, flitting about high above the devastation. Its mechanical whine a siren song for rooftop refugees huddled beneath leaking tarpaulins, waiting and waving for rescue. Dappled sunlight plays above him, dancing on the river’s surface through occasional breaks in the clouds, dazzlingly bright on the ever-advancing maw of the floodwaters. Alongside power-less power lines, above submarine trains and forsaken swing sets he stalks, a Predator drone, unnoticed and invisible.

—–

The live feed shows the waters, now lapping at the hem of her skirt. The waters explode behind her, a wave made of teeth and the deep grey of a bull shark, leaping out from the rising tide. The crowd behind her dissolves, panic taking hold as the crest of the rapids foaming in his wake deepen to a rusted maroon. The cameraman falls, stumbling blindly backwards and losing the shot. The camera falls as he does. A fin, proud above the water. Static.

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2 thoughts on “A Day In The Life

  1. I thought, as I got into the story, what can I do to fuck up the protagonist in the worst possible way? Then it came to me: fucking SHARK ATTACK! Oh and @ http://thehappylogophile.wordpress.com (Jo) I stole your scene shifts…the sincerest form of flattery is imitation after all.

  2. Jo Eberhardt says:

    Absolutely! And I love the two POVs converging.

    Great story – it captures the feel of the Brisbane floods beautifully, and does a great job of fucking up your protag. You’re right, a shark attack on supposedly dry land is awesome. 🙂 (Plus, since I live in Brisbane, it reminded me that bull sharks were, indeed, invading.)

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