An exciting scene from the upcoming novel, Digitus 233 by K.D. Emerson
It had been a lazy sunny afternoon. The boys trotted home on the calls from their mother’s to come to dinner. They didn’t mind as the wind was picking up, making their game impossible to continue. They didn’t realize what was racing toward them from the ocean only a few miles away.
Jackson’s mother was late coming home from work and dinner wasn’t ready at their house, so he took to “his” tree; the big old cypress that stood in the yard of the abandoned house next to his.
From his favorite perch he could see for miles in any direction. He peered down the street toward town and watched people scurry into the shops to get out of the rain. The wind snatched hold of the branches and swung him wildly back and forth. He didn’t mind. He had been in the tree many times during storms. It filled him with the feeling of freedom, of flying.
Jackson held to the branch and swung backward until he was hanging upside down. He loved watching the ocean waves upside down. It made it look as if the ocean was really the sky. What he saw this day filled him with dread. Jackson watched in horror as a raging monster roared toward him. The hurricane smacked into the coast. It hurled lawn chairs, BBQs, toys, people into the air. The streets filled with water. Jackson tried to pull himself up. His knees slipped from the branch. He grabbed the trunk as his body crashed against it with a sickening thud.
He yelled for his family to get out of the house as the waves of water smacked into their tiny home, splintering the doorframe, smashing in the walls.
Dirty, filthy water continued to rise, devouring everything in sight. He sat in the fork of the branches of “his” tree. The tree he spent his summers in. The tree he climbed during those times when the arguing and fighting got to be too much for his young soul to take. The tree that many times was his only friend in the sweltering heat of the humid summers. Now it was his life line as the storm raged, whipping leaves and limbs, thrashing against buildings, swallowing his home below.
He clung to the tree. Hours. Or days, he didn’t know.
The rain rushed at his face and whipped against his arms. His feet slid from below him and he nearly lost his hold on the rain slick branch. He clutched at it with all his strength. He set his strong jaw. ‘You will not fall,’ he willed himself.
The wail of the wind ripped the clouds into a boiling cauldron above him. The water below crept higher until his legs were in a foot of filthy water. Garbage floated by. From the distance a dog paddled through the water toward the tree; on his last ounce of strength.
“Come here boy,” Jackson called. The dog panted and paddled.
Jackson stretched his arm out. He was only inches away from the dog’s collar. He leaned his body out above the water. “Come on boy, come here.” The dog’s soulful eyes looked up at him. It flapped his front legs in a churning motion. The dog moved an inch. Jackson tried again to grab the collar. It slipped from his grip. The dog sunk under the slime.
“No!” Jackson yelled above the storm. He quickly wrapped his legs around the branch and hung upside down. He stretched his body and swung out over the water. His knees slipped, he ignored it and swung himself again. The dog popped up, his nose barely clearing the water. Jackson grabbed the dog’s ears and pulled with everything in him. He dragged the dog to him, held it close to his chest and then swung himself and the dog back to the trunk of the tree. He grasped the trunk with one hand while clutching the dog with the other. Tears streamed down his face and mixed with the rain.
The dog hung onto his arm with its front paws like he was part human as tears poured down Jackson’s face. He had watched his whole family die in front of his face as the waves of water rushed through the streets and slammed into his home. His sister had tried to get to the roof, but the water was too fast for her and snatched her off the roof, carrying her away before Jackson could react. He sat in the tree and cried over the near loss of this mangy mutt who clung to him. He pressed his face into the wet fur and sobbed.
As the water receded so did his tears. Ten years had passed, cementing the ducts of his eyes closed. Jackson was now a hard and disciplined man.
Author, KD Emerson was born (or is that hatched) several years ago. We won’t go into how long it has been because she has this fantasy that she is still a teenager off to conquer the world. She has a passion for the written word and assisting other writers in becoming the best they can be. She also loves to promote others and cheer them on to victory. Follow her on twitter @MstrKoda or you can find her at www.masterkoda.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kimmutch.emerson