2014-01-12 Rising Water

by Julian Sturrock

Preface

Another dream...


My Grandmother shuffles slowly out of the bathroom with her carer supporting her. I thank the carer and tell her that I’ll be able to manage my Grandmother on her own now.

My Grandmother is old now, very old and she is dying of cancer. In many ways it seems pointless for me to help her; perhaps in a sense callous too as she may be better off dead. Nevertheless I love and care for her. Love is a selfish emotion.

I put my left arm through hers and step by painful step I take her upstairs to the top bedroom. There is a storm coming and I need for her to be safe as possible.

As she shuffles up on to the top landing there are giant slugs on the damp walls, the moistness of their repulsive flesh glistening in the half-light of this reality.

There is also a giant cockroach encrusted in the wall. It is dead.

I promise my Grandmother that I will get rid of these vile slugs soon.

We get into the bedroom which is two storeys up and I manage to lift her into the bed and get her under the covers.

I feel a little relieved and walk over to the window.

To my horror I see that the muddy waters are only a couple of feet below the sill. I pray that they will rise no more because we can go no higher.

I have sealed all the windows and doors on the lower floors to keep the water out and so far we have been safe.

And then about a hundred yards away I see a wave rear up and head in our direction. It scares me but I do not say anything to my Grandmother who is now asleep.

The dirty water sloshes over the sill and into the bedroom.

I run, leaving my Grandmother to her fate, and go back down stairs. There is nowhere else to go and even though I know that I will die I still want to live as long as is possible.

I get to the ground floor and behind me I can see the water cascading down, pooling and rising on the flag stone floor.

I see my wife cowering in the corner of the hall. I go over, put my arms round her and lie.

“Everything’s going to be fine, just fine…”

And as the water keeps rising, keeps rising, I sense a malevolence, an alien presence—

I awake.

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