Chernila #2 - July - Rain

written by Diego Magallona

Every now and then, I look back over the events of the past few hours and wonder if it was worth it. I'm stuck in this collapsed building, and I've tried everything. I can't get out. Thankfully, there's a fridge here, filled with food. Not that I'll need much of it; the water level's rising, and it doesn't look like it's letting up.

12 hours ago, I woke up to the sound of rain. I love the sound of rain, especially when you can hear it quite clearly through your windows, while it isn't heavy enough to be irritating. That was the kind of rain that was falling this morning. The presence of rain is directly proportional to my absence at work, and today was no different. I called in sick today, and said I would just continue my project here at home. I didn't think that would save my life today. As I was writing some documents that morning, the rain got much more intense. I turned on the TV to find out what was going on, and I found that there was a storm today. I think I need more than a sick leave today; it's time to leave town.

The storm wasn't too close yet, so I figured I could walk to the Bus station and get a ride out of here before the rain turned into a torrential downpour. No, I didn't have a car. If I did have one, this story would be over by now. I packed some food, water, and other essentials into a small rucksack, put on my raincoat and set out. The rain was much stronger than it seemed, and by the time I was at the bus station, the visibility was so horrible, I could barely see 5 feet in front of me. At least in the bus station my head was covered. After going to the office and finding out the last bus just left and they cancelled everything else today because of the weather, I sat down on a bench, frustrated. A minute later, I could feel something entering my shoes: water. I looked down and the floor was already flooding. That's when I remembered my home was downhill from the bus station. I dashed back to my house, but got bogged down by the water level that was slowly rising. I got to my house to find myself in waist-deep water. This was such a waste of time. I got whatever of my work and money I could spare, and made for higher ground. When I got back to the bus station, there were a lot more people, all of them from downhill. The water was still rising, and it was there I realized that things were much worse than it seemed. There was a weak earthquake several weeks ago. We'd heard that the area we lived in had sunk a few centimetres but no one thought it was serious. Rain never poured like it did today; who could blame them for not caring?

A whole hour passed, and now I was alone, on the roof of a house. The flooding probably submerged most of the town; luckily a friend of mine taught me some parkour. I jumped across the rooftops of the town, trying to find shallower waters, and a way out, but the rain was impairing my visibility. I could only see a few metres ahead of me, and it seemed like I was jumping from rooftop to rooftop for eternity. I was getting tired. I heard a cry for help, and stopped for a moment. I thought about following it, thinking, if I did follow the cry, I would probably be slowed down trying to help whoever was there. I decided to follow the call for help, and followed the cries until I reached a house almost submerged in the water. There was a woman calling for help. I couldn't get her out; the window was too small for any grown human. The woman said that she didn't need to be saved; she told me to take her baby. After I took her child, she told me where to go to get help. There were boats looking for survivors. She thanked me and went down to her fate.

I went in the direction the woman pointed me to, though it was much more difficult to cross the water and move across rooftops with the baby in my arms. There was a wide road, flooded with water. There was a fallen tree that was stuck between the rooftops, and I decided to use that as a bridge. As I finished crossing it, my foot hit a branch, and I tripped. I positioned myself to shield the baby from the fall. I hit the edge of the rooftop with my left arm, but managed to get up. I was having trouble moving my left arm; something was broken. Things got all the more difficult as I had to carry the baby with my right arm and couldn't use my left, but the rooftops were closer in this area. I got to the edge of town, where there was a boat looking for survivors. The boat stopped some meters away from the rooftop I was standing on; it couldn't move any closer. I then realized the structure I was on was made of wood, and was on the verge of collapsing. I also noticed water flowing violently to a certain structure; there was a broken window there, and if I fell, I'd be sucked into it. I could do this. I ran across the wooden rooftop, collapsing it as I ran, and jumped as far as I could to reach the boat. It was too far. Before I hit the water, I tossed the baby to the boat, and I saw an arm catch the baby as I slipped into the raging floodwater and got sucked into this building. The water pushed me through the window and into this house that's flooding with water. Amazingly, the debris the flood caused also saved the house from flooding entirely; almost all the entrances were clogged with debris. The window I fell into soon followed; a tree trunk smashed into the wall of the house, blocking the window, my only escape route. I won't survive long here though. Water is still pouring into the house, and very fast too.

I'm going to drown here. Well, that sure beats being buried alive or burned alive. It's also pretty neat that I get to be killed by the rain: the thing I love the most. I didn't think I'd be so relaxed and calm at the time when I knew it was very close to the end. It must be the rain; it's always gotten me into a good mood. Or maybe I'm finally at peace with myself? I think so. In the past, I've only ever thought of myself. Everything I've ever done before today was only done to keep myself alive and well. I think I can die in peace, knowing that, today at least, the last day of my short and miserable, life, I did something to keep someone else alive and well.

Every now and then, I look back over the events of the past few hours and wonder if it was worth it.

Yes, it was all worth it.