Chapter 4 – Introduction

You stand on the next dry landing and try to consider your options. But each time you try to think clearly, you get stuck on the thought that this shouldn’t be happening. You’re in a city, well above sea level, where there’s a valley and a river. The rain, no matter how much of it there is, should be draining downhill and flooding there, if anywhere.

The basement, yes, you can understand that. Surface water flooding the ground floor, okay. But the first floor? That’s madness. How could it rise up so high? How can it keep rising? You look at your watch: the read-out is misty with water droplets, but it’s still working, and you can tell that it’s just one o’clock.

The sky will start lightening about five or so, the first contractors are due in at six – not that you can see that happening, but at least by then someone might think of you and send help. How much help, though, were you likely to get, if there really was this much water across the rest of town? Were there any dams upriver that might have collapsed under the weight of the rain, sending all the stored water down river? You don’t think so. You don’t know.

All you do know is that anyone who might be able to help you is going to consider you a very low priority. The first floor of the tower block is around the level of a regular house’s eves. If you were at home, in your flat, you’d probably have drowned by now. Of course, if the water’s got that far, everything you own has gone. Not that it’s much. But it’s yours, and it’s all you have.

You’ve got floors two through eight to wait it out in. And the roof. It’s going to be difficult, because you’re wet through, and cold. You’ve nothing to eat, nothing to drink, and no way of keeping warm. Whatever else is going on, you need to start addressing your problems. No one else is going to.

If there’s water in the pipes, you could drink that. You wonder if the workmen have left any food on the eighth floor. If you search through all the places you haven’t looked, you might find a spare overall, or something. Even a roll of binbags would be better than nothing.

It’s a plan. It’s not a very good plan, but it’s the best you have. You look at the torch. You have no idea how long it’s going to last, so probably better to start scavenging now.

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