Escaping from the Wrath of Water

Submitted into Contest #90 in response to: Set your story in a world living with the consequences of a climate apocalypse.... view prompt

2 comments

Science Fiction Speculative Suspense

The world was once like paradise, but everyone knows that paradises fall. As humanity rose in progress with industrialization and technological advances, so did the progression in pollution, climate change, and the destruction of the planet. Then the day came that the world hit its last chance and the generation of humanity alive at the time were the ones to pay the price. Oceans rose, and glaciers melted, creating increased water levels that wiped out islands and everything along the coasts. Areas usually hot such as deserts and tropical islands had a drastic drop in temperatures that led to places like Texas and Death Valley freezing over. Droughts saw an increase in deserts where once had beautiful plains, and forests now had miles upon miles of cracked, dry ground. Humans scrambled to search for a way out that led to two innovations. A specialized RV led by a small group of explorers to jump to other worlds, but that's a story for another day. The second was domes that were constructed to house neighborhoods and had a protective shield that was meant to keep out the severe temperatures and rising water. These domes were meant to be humanity's saving grace until a better world would offer new life. But none predicted that even this innovation could result in severe consequences. Twenty domes were constructed globally, and those that survived to see their built were moved into the domes. Just like that, all was right in the world. 

Then just like that, it wasn't. 

The dome constructed in the Western part of the United States was built too close to what remained of the coast, and when the waters shifted drastically, they rose higher than predicted. Everyone believed the dome's shield would protect them from the water, but they quickly learned that the impact was too fierce. Cracks in the dome's shield led to the neighborhood slowly becoming flooded. They had no choice but to evacuate to the dome nearest to their location. Some people weren't so lucky, but others managed to move out before the hurricane struck. Others had to flee amid the rain and the storms. The last of the people to escape witnessed the dome's sides becoming engulfed by water and saw the end of what once was their home. 

Among those last to leave were two friends that crammed what they could into a jeep and sped along a narrow road that was touched with water from either side. The hurricane gave way to a new wave of destruction that flooded down every path it could, leaving only a sliver of a chance to escape. Magnolia Rose and Zora were so busy helping others pack that they ended up being among the last to leave. That's when they're seen speeding along this sliver of the road with water and rain serving as an enemy chasing them. 

Zora hugs her two bags to her chest. Her only possessions in the world were in the bags. She never thought that she'd be soaked, cold, and hungry, shoved into a jeep and heading towards a hopefully safer location than one that they're leaving. "Magnolia... are you sure this is the right way?" 

"Of course, I'm sure," Magnolia Rose replies. Her voice cracks, but both of them pretend not to notice. The dome was supposed to be safe. The creators of the dome promised they were safe. Magnolia Rose sits up straight, willing the creeping numbness away.

"They said the dome was in the safest location. That the waters could never reach us there. How can we know this other location is any safer?" Zora shivered. The heat in the jeep gave off plenty of heat, but she couldn't shake the chill.

"The announcement said they mistakenly believed the flooding was through." Magnolia Rose leans against Zora. "At least they're admitting they were wrong."

"Makes you feel so much better," Zora mutters. "I think I'd prefer they knew it for sure."

"Oh, absolutely!" Magnolia Rose says with a laugh that is only a little hysterical.

Zora shudders again. "Are you cold? I still feel half-frozen from all that rain." She now had hurricanes and floods at the top of her fear list.

"I'm not sure what I am," Magnolia Rose admits. "I'm too shaken to really tell."

The jeep hits a bump and jostles them. Zora squeezes her eyes shut. "I do not like this. ... Not that anyone does." She forces herself to look out the window. "I think it was a rock." The road was still together, but the water continued to brush alongside the edge. "I'm not loving this."

Magnolia Rose inhales sharply. "Is the water in the road?" She demands, her voice high and squeaky.

"Not yet... but... maybe speed up a little..." Zora hugs her bags tighter. She says a silent prayer as the jeep's speed increases.

The path they follow feels especially precarious as the rain slanted down and obscured their vision. Magnolia Rose works to keep calm, or at least enough to get through this with Zora.

Zora lets out slow breathes once the jeep stumbles its way forward onto the cracked earth of the desert. "I think ... I think we made it out of the flood zone."

"I never thought I'd be so happy to see parched earth!" Magnolia Rose cries. The winding path up to the high, arid land was nerve-wracking, but now she can hardly believe how worried she was.

"Ironic. If we get thirsty, we have to go back the other way." Zora loosens her hold on her bags. "I can finally breathe again."

"I know!" Magnolia Rose glances at her friend, smiling. "Maybe it's the sunshine, but I think we're going to be okay again."

The cracked earth went on for miles before they came across any signs of the nearest dome. "You would think they'd have a map or something out here."

"Or at least some road signs," Magnolia Rose agrees. She keeps the jeep at a steady pace, too afraid to linger.

Zora laughs. "This way to the dome," she says, gesturing. "That way to total death."

"And that way to maimed land," Magnolia Rose points, laughing.

"Makes sense to me." Zora puts a hand to her face to shade her eyes. "What's that up there?"

"Where?" Against her better judgment, Magnolia Rose sets the jeep to idling while she leans forward to try and spot what Zora has.

"Up there." She points. "I thought something shined. Did you not see it?"

"I was too busy imagining maimed land," Magnolia Rose admits. She adjusts her seatbelt and puts the jeep in gear. "Let's get closer."

"Be careful," Zora reminds. "I think that maybe the dome?"

"They did say it was nearby!" Magnolia Rose gasps delightedly.

Zora hugs her bags tightly. "I think we made it!"

Magnolia Rose drives as quickly as she dares, hopes fluttering high and leading her on. As they hurdle past a rocky outcropping, the dome comes into view. Magnolia Rose gasps. It's gorgeous. The sunlight hits it just so, giving the dome a shine as if lit by heaven's angels. "Zora," she breathes. "We made it."

April 23, 2021 03:15

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2 comments

Claire Lindsey
02:12 Apr 24, 2021

I love the dialogue in this story, it feels incredibly natural and flows very well. The premise is interesting, too, especially the very plausible conclusion that humanity wouldn’t be able to effectively fix things. My main critique would be to consider starting the story with the line: “Zora hugs her two bags to her chest.” Starting there would place us right in the action, and then you could redistribute some details from the beginning paragraphs to fill in the backstory as your characters flee. I’m always so impressed at how many stor...

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LM Konkel-Dixon
20:09 Apr 28, 2021

Thanks! It means so much to hear that! That's a good idea! haha We like to challenge ourselves and we actually used to do writing prompts for fun to unwind when we were in college.

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