”Henry?” I said eagerly. As I spoke, I could hear the distinctive music from ESPN’s Sports Center coming from the kitchen. I hung my raincoat on its peg and rushed around the corner.
Henry sat still in his armchair. His mouth gawked open. “Henry!” I gasped. His head snapped up and with pleading eyes he stared up towards me. I scolded at him with my lips pressed tightly together. Falling asleep now was utterly forbidden, as he was well aware. “Where is Isabella?” I managed to get through my gritted teeth, not being able to hide the stress in my voice. He pointed his index finger upward and placed the finger on his mouth to hush me.”She’s upstairs sleeping. She’s alright Claire, honey” he answered quietly. A short piercing cry interrupted his explanation for falling asleep on duty. Henry shot a quick glance at me, and then he was running up the stairs with me right behind.
Isabella was lying in her crib with Fido standing on his paws on the edge. “Get down Fido!” Henry demanded and shoved the hairy black dog out of the way. Fido whined in response and paced back to me. I clapped him on his head and hurried to the crib where Henry was carrying Isabella. “What is wrong? Is she hurt has there been another….”my voice trailed off. Isabella was lying in Henry’s arms looking up at her father. She smiled with her dimples showing reaching up towards him.
“Hey, pretty baby” he murmured. She folded her arms around Henry’s neck and peeked over his shoulder. Her chocolate eyes bored into mine. He was right, she was beautiful. With bouncy bronze curls and milky white teeth she looked exactly like her father, though she had my eyes. I’d never seen anything as adorable as my daughter. My love for her was stronger than ever imaginable. The day she was born my heart had grown to sizes bigger to hold the love for both her and her father. The horror of me losing her made me shudder. It would be unbearable, too much to bear. Henry interrupted my thoughts. “The syringe, Claire” My eyes flickered to Isabella in consternation. “No, she’s alright. She just needs her daily dose” Henry assured me and nodded towards the shelf with medical equipments. I walked to the shelf when something caught my attention while passing the window.
Our neighbor Mr. Marshall was gawking through his plate glass window. His was face rigid with pain. I could hardly see him clearly through the rain that was strolling down and splattering where it landed. It was dark outside though it had been light outside just a few minutes ago. I looked up at the sky and saw a thick layer of clouds pressing heavily on the atmosphere, making it almost sultry. The skies had a ferocious plan in store for today. Was that why Mr. Marshall reacted so horrified? I followed his stare and at first I didn’t grasp what I was looking at. A dark blue wall was closing in on us. I saw Mr. Marshall disappear from the window and dart out the front door. He all but threw himself in his old Chevy and roared the engine to life. Desperate he turned his car around and hit the gas pedal. I was looking up at the big wall again when I heard the growling engine choke to a stop. I stiffened. I could now see what it was that had made Mr. Marshall so anxious. An enormous wave was battering against the houses in our neighborhood, spraying big white clouds of sea foam into the sky. The angry wave had swallowed Mr. Marshall and his car, and now it was coming for us.
When I took my next breath, the air hitched in my throat like I was choking on it. There was no time. “Henry…” I said, cracking up an octave. I couldn’t say anything else. I couldn’t even warn my beloved ones. The wave suddenly knocked me down. The shelf next to me landed on top of me, and I struggled against the unbreakable hold, twisting around. I fought to keep my breath in, to keep my lips locked around my last store of oxygen. Everything was dark around me. I couldn’t see Isabella, I couldn’t see Henry. Panicking I started to swim to what I thought was the surface. The water shoved me abruptly against something hard, a wall I couldn’t see. It hit me across the chest, slamming me like into an iron bar, and my breath whooshed out of my lungs, escaping in thick bubbles of grey. The water flooded down my throat, choking and burning. I could feel a downward pull, or maybe it was just my imagination running wild considering I was dying. I was surprised how obvious that knowledge was. I was going to drown. I was drowning.
I could feel the pull was real now. I could see small and big objects passing by as I was being dragged. A wooden chair hit my calf. But I couldn’t feel anything, just the despair of losing my daughter and husband. I was still being pulled, and the only way I could feel that was because I could feel the water resisting, trying to fight the gravity and pushing against me. My consciousness started fading. It was like a black cloud was surrounding me. But when I accepted the blackness, I could also see brightness, and I could feel warmth. I opened my eyes and I could see the blue sky. I could see the sun blinding my eyes. I could feel the wind making me shiver. Then something hard hit my chest, many times it beat me. The water from my lungs rushed up my throat and out of my mouth and nose. In the corner of my eyes I could see my black cloud of fur, Fido, my savior.