I had just put the last piece of the new entertainment center when I saw the waters coming towards my house. At first I thought it was a water main break, as a large factory sat near my house.
“Look,” I said to my wife and her dad.
The water was coming up the street faster as I went outside to take a closer look. I stood on my front porch as the water touched the border of my property. I looked at my wife and her father and said, “Shit…that’s not a water main…grab all the animals, we’re leaving.”
Thinking about the last few weeks, I realized there was a lot of rain, not only here, but further north and the creek flowed south. The creek was already filling in my three-quarter acre yard as we put all the animals into the van. By the time I grabbed my laptop, put certain things as high as I could, and grabbed my daughter’s blanket, the flood waters were almost knee deep in my front yard.
My father-in-law had already backed his Durango all the way up the hill, and I knew driving forward in the van, the engine would get too much water and ruin it. I put the van in reverse as we took, what we thought, was the last look at the house. We drove backwards all the way up the hill. Looking back towards our house, we saw the glass in the basement windows give in and water started streaming into the basement.
My daughter yelled out, “Daddy what about my bear-bear! We left him!”
I looked at our home and said, “I’m sorry honey, but there is no way to get back. The water is too high.”
Tens of thousands of dollars we had just spent remodeling my childhood home, with the intent of my children growing up there too was gone in just a few minutes. Just as we started to walk back towards the van to find a motel, my daughter said, “Daddy look! It’s a mermaid!”
Being not in the joking mood, I simply said, “Get in the van. This isn’t a time for your imagination to run rampant.”
My wife tapped me on the shoulder as I was trying to get my daughter into her car seat and said, “Uhh…Brandon…look”
My daughter squealed in delight, “BEAR BEAR!”
I turned around and saw a woman walking through the water, nearly naked, holding my daughter’s bear above the water. The woman didn’t seem to struggle against the current at all, but seemed to almost glide through it with ease.
The woman smiled and motioned me forward, holding the bear out for me to take. She was still half under water, and I couldn’t understand why she was standing still in it. The water had stopped raising, and was inches from my toes at the top of the hill, and my wife nudged me forward. My neighbors was staring in disbelief as I walked into the water.
The current was too strong when I got waist deep into the water and it pulled me under. The muddy water filled my mouth and nose as I attempted to breathe like a fish. I felt someone lift under my arms as the current continued to push me away from my family.
“Don’t worry,” a woman’s voice said to me underwater. “I threw the stuffed toy to land. It’s not ruined by my waters.”
I opened my eyes and saw only a shadow of a woman’s figure with a dolphin-like fin. I tried to respond, but only swallowed more water. “Human, you can’t speak under water, just as I can’t speak out of water. Now help me, your heavier than you seem. Kick with your feet.”
Listening to the fish-woman I kicked with my feet and soon I broke the surface of the water. I was nearly halfway to my house already and was moving back towards my crying family. My daughter clutched her bear-bear with such an intensity, I could almost hear it struggling to breathe, if it breathed…
The fish-woman got me as close as she could before pushing me forward. My feet touched the ground at my final kick and I jumped out of the water, landing on my side. I looked back and the fish-woman smiled at me before diving back into the murky water. The last thing I saw was the fish-woman’s tail dipping back into the water as she swam away.