Mark couldn’t hear anything, but the flood was visible in the distance. Calm and slow. It seemed to be approaching the first few downtown skyscrapers. It felt like a silent movie.
“Get out now, dad!” Joan was shouting outside the car.
He couldn’t. His hands were frozen, his mind seemed frozen too. He just stared blankly at the approaching curtain of pearly green water. He could see the new world overlayed over this world.
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Where was that from? Some half-remembered poem he’d studied as a kid. But that’s what he saw: the future world, barren and lonely, overlayed over this world.
This world where he had lived for eighty years. The city that had sustained him, grown him from child to boy to man feeding him with its crazy energy. The crazy intersections that went at weird angles so you could never tell what direction you were going unless you checked. And now, the great city was being engulfed in a big green wave of water and no one could do anything about it.
“Dad, the helicopters are going to leave!” Joan again. He can see the helicopter some distance away, the last people scuttling on it. Everyone else he knows has boarded. But Joan, dear Joan, his eldest daughter. She would never leave him behind. But she has to learn to let go.
He rolled down his car windows.
“You go Joan. I am good here.” He heard words come from his mouth. Who was speaking them? The man that had lived for eighty years in this body or someone new? A new voice that he hadn’t heard before that he could neither understand nor control. A voice that knew what it wanted, something he was never sure of.
“I can’t leave you here, Dad. Please, just get off the car.” She is crying now. “This is not the time!”
He rolled up the window. He couldn’t say anything more to make her understand. He saw her husband get off the helicopter and drag her back in.
The helicopter flew away as the wave approached the nearest buildings. He saw it eat up the street where he had first learnt to drive. And then as it came towards him, he thought he saw a face on it. He leaned further in his seat to look. What was that face?
He understood. He leaned back.
A smile came on his face. And the face on the flood, it smiled too.