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Scully has recently begun to examine his life as he commutes to work. "The Drive" explores a seemingly routine day in the life of Brendan Scully. We follow him through a single day from wake up around 6:30 a.m. to his eventual return to bed at midnight. We ride with him through his commute, occasionally slowing along the way to explore the roadside scenes. We hear the soundtrack of a life. During the commute he reflects upon events that have shaped him and his life as he now knows it. We explore the relationships, the jobs, and the hardships of a life. We watch as he puts it all on the line to find the happiness for which he yearns. We discover along with Scully what his true passion is and struggle with him as he makes a crucial decision that will affect him and those around him.
The following is an excerpt from "The Drive" it is one the early chapters:
This was all new to Scully, being a "daytime dad" as he called himself. His oldest child Alex was born while he was in graduate school working on his doctorate in clinical psychology. He was able to spend some time with him during the day but the rigors of graduate school pretty much constituted a 40 hour work week and he generally saw him only in the evenings and weekends. Ashley, his daughter from that same marriage was born while he was on his Clinical Internship which was actually a paid 40 hour per week position and thus he had to share evenings and weekends with her and with her older brother. This was very new and very weird.
Scully worked for the Mississippi Department of Mental Health and had been with the department since he left a Federal Bureau of Prisons job in West Virginia. That was now almost 5 years, 1 divorce, 1 bankruptcy, a remarriage, a step child, a miscarriage, a vanishing twin, 1 job change, and a shift change ago. When he returned to Mississippi he began at Central Regional Center which is a state facility for adults with mental retardation. He knew the acting director of psychology from an externship he had completed while a graduate student. Working in a mainline Federal Correctional Facility was not like the Federal Medical Center where he had done his internship and he was not happy in his role as a staff psychologist. He contacted Dr. Jones, whom he knew from Clarkston State School where he had done the externship. That was back in December of 1995. Scully would have to return to Mississippi to walk for his Ph.D. and contacted Dr. Jones to see if he knew of any available positions in the Department of Mental Health that he could pursue while he was back in the state. Dr. Jones indicated that he had a doctoral level opening at Central Regional Center that was the Director of Psychology. Scully was of course interested. He always had career aspirations of one day being in charge of a psychology department and thought this opportunity this soon after completing graduate school was too appetizing to pass up. He arranged to meet Dr. Jones while he was in Mississippi in December. When December rolled around, the first incarnation of the Scullyís headed to Mississippi, driving from West Virginia.
While in Mississippi, Scully visited Dr. Jones, toured the Central Regional Center campus and met with the facility director, Monica Shelbourne. The meetings went well and it looked promising that he would be able to join the staff once he got his name on the register. The register is the list of individuals that meet the minimum requirements of a state job in Mississippi and for most positions you must "be on the register" to be considered for employment. Scully was not on the register and needed to complete the notorious "green form" and arrange for transcripts to be sent from both his undergraduate university in Portland, Oregon and from the University of Southern Mississippi. The process takes anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks depending upon how busy the state personnel board is at any given time. He began the process in January and had hoped to hear that his name was on the register by early February.
Unfortunately the only things of any significance that happened during January were a flood and an automobile accident. The flood was remarkable in a devastating kind of way. Scully had left for work one morning in January of 1996 and noticed that the rivers were high, it had snowed a lot the week before and recently the weather had become very warm. He assumed the high water was from the melting of the snow. He arrived at work at around his usual time of 8:00 a.m. At about 10:00 a.m. he received a phone call.
"The pond is in the back yard," his wife called to tell him.
Thatís where it has always been," he responded wondering why she called to tell him that.
"No," she said "the pond is taking over the back yard"
"What do you mean?"
"The pond has flooded over its banks and is rising in the back yard."
"Iíll be there as soon as I can."
Scully tracked down his boss and explained the situation, Paul, his chief of psychology, knew the area and had been to the house and told him to go ahead and head back. He had heard that particular area was flooding.
Scully took off, he got in his car and began the 1 hour drive back to Alderson where his house and his family were. As he drove it became very obvious very quickly that things were getting serious with the rising water. Many of the rivers that were still in their banks when he drove through earlier to Beckley were now flooding. He wondered whether he would even be able to get to the house to rescue his family.
He pressed on, ignoring the speed limit. It was now raining. He tried to use the cellular phone but was unable to get a signal. He drove on. The closer he got to Alderson, the more water he encountered. In some areas it was lapping at the sides of the highway. His house was not on the river but the pond in the yard was connected by small streams that fed into the river. The worst part was that the house sat at the bottom of a valley and it was fed by the water flowing off the hillside. He continued driving, the rain continued to fall. He was becoming very concerned for the safety of his family. He approached the exit off of the main highway. It was about 12 miles now to the city of Alderson and then only about 2.1 miles from downtown to his house. As he continued down the state road, he was amazed to see the amount of water that was coming ever closer to the road. He continued on, there was very little traffic going either way. Mile after mile passed, he was getting closer. His confidence increased that he would be able to get there, get his family and get them to a safe place. He figured they would go ten miles north and find a hotel room. He was feeling pretty good until he entered Alderson. As he rounded the corner at the hardware store his heart almost stopped. The river, the Green River, had cleared its banks and had completely flooded the street. There appeared to be water 3 feet deep for about 150 yards and this was all that was left between him and the bridge over the river to the other side which was dry. The other side, which was also the road to get to his house. He quickly surveyed the situation and acted almost instinctively. He threw the car in reverse, turned around and headed into the neighborhood. He didnít know the area or the roads but figured he would be able to navigate his way through the neighborhood and around the water to get to the bridge. He must have made 25 turns and traveled 2 miles through the town to find a route that was not ultimately blocked off by water but he eventually came out of the neighborhood about 200 yards on the other side of the flooding water. He was also only about 50 yards away from the bridge and had nothing but dry pavement in front of him. He floored it and headed for the bridge. It was a high bridge but the water was rising and there was only about 10 feet of clearance below the bridge. He crossed the bridge, breathed a sigh of relief and headed up the road to get home.
Yes, he headed up, this part was going to be easy, and dry. To get to the road to take him directly to his house he had to go up a winding road for about a mile to get to the turn off. The problem of course was that what goes up must come down. The final mile and half or so to the house was down hill and on a winding 1 lane road that also had to cross a creek that fed into the river that was flooding. As he approached the old wooden bridge over the creek he was amazed and relieved to find it still intact. The water, however was only about 1 foot below the bridge. He picked up the cell phone, prayed for a signal and dialed the house. His wife answered and told him the water was about 15 feet away from the basement door. He told her to have the kids ready to jump in the car and go. "To hell with the house" he thought, he was ready to leave West Virginia. "Almost heaven, my ass" he mumbled. He knew they would have to move fast to recross the creek and to get back through town. He turned into his driveway to find his yard under water and his family waiting on the deck as it continued to rain. His wife and children hustled into the car and strapped in.
Everybody in?. Scully asked hurriedly, not really expecting or even waiting for an answer before he threw the car into reverse and began backing out of the driveway.
"Damn it Brendan, Ashley is not buckled," his wife yelled
"Get her buckled, we need to go," Brendan was clearly trying to impress the seriousness of the situation.
Ashley was the youngest, only 15 months old at this point. Her older brother, Alex had just turned three in December. For Brendan and Michelle, their marriage was about to be four years old in two weeks although for him it had been over just after the birth of Ashley. With Ashley securely buckled, they headed up the side of the hill. They could see the Green River through the trees. They normally couldnít from this vantage point. The car headed down the other side of the little hill toward the old wooden bridge.
"Whew, still there, thank God," he uttered although he claimed no religious preference.
"Oh my God," was the only thing Michelle could say as they approached the bridge and she saw how high the water was. "Are we going to make it across?" she asked nervously.
"I hope the hell so" was his response as he headed toward the bridge. The water was now only about six inches below the bridge and had cleared the banks and was running down the gulleys on each side of the road. He gave it some gas, held on and went over the bridge. It was as if there was no flood as they crossed the 10 foot bridge back onto dry land. He looked in the rear view mirror and thought "we are gonna make it". They continued back up the hillside for a half mile and then down the other side to go back into the city of Alderson. As they crested the hill and came around the first corner they could see the Green River again.
"Holy shit" Scully whispered. He didnít like to swear around the kids but what he saw warranted the exclamation. The Green River had left its banks on this side of the river as it had done on the other side and was flowing toward the city. From what he could see it only looked as if the river had made it about 50 feet toward this side of town. The road they would use to the big bridge to cross the river was about 200 feet from the original bank of the river. He was convinced they still had a chance. They headed down the hill and made the sharp left to run parallel to the river to get to the bridge they would cross on. At least thatís what they thought. When they completely cleared the turn they were faced with a puddle, or pond or lake in the middle of the road. Apparently a creek or stream that fed into the river passed near the road and since the river was full, the stream backed up into the road. The water appeared to be about 2 feet deep based upon how high it was on the Toyota pick up truck that was stuck in the middle of it. It was about 150 feet long and about 50 feet wide. They stopped. There was no way around it.
"God fucking dammit," Scully said, or rather shouted hoping the kids werenít paying attention. This was his phrase to use when he was really, really pissed off , annoyed or aggravated. Michelle should be use to hearing it by now, his use of it had increased tremendously over the last 2 years.
"What now?" she asked
"Letís try the other way out," he suggested.
"I guess," was all she could reply.
The other way out would require going back the way they came and going out the other way from the house. Scully slammed the car into reverse, did a quick K-turn and headed back toward the house. He alternated between cursing and telling the children that everything was going to be all right, he hoped. They headed back up the hill out of town, and down the other side. The adventure he figured was going to be crossing the bridge if they could even get to it. His worst fear was that they would not be able to cross it and would now be stuck between the flooded town and their house with no place to stay and very little supplies or cash. By now the severity of the situation had really set in. He figured the odds were even that the wooden bridge would still be there but they had to try. As they rounded the turn for the last 300 yards to the bridge, the water in the gulleys was easing out onto the road. The center of the road was dry and passable. He slowed down to assess the situation. It appeared as if the bridge was still there, how sturdy it was remained to be seen. He crept closer and tried to focus through the continuing rain on how high the water was at the bridge. His heart crawled into his throat, the water was even with the top of the bridge and coming up between the 8 inch wooden pieces. They were going to get a little wet crossing or a lot wet if the bridge gave out. He looked at Michelle, he looked at the kids, by now both were asleep. "Just like kids to sleep through a crisis", he thought. He looked at the bridge.
"We donít have any choice," he stated not waiting for agreement or argument and hit the gas. As they hit the bridge, the water began to fly. It sprayed up like going through a puddle. They were halfway across when Scully looked from the side to side. For that Ĺ second they were the only thing , an island, surrounded on all sides by water. He heard a thump.
"What was that?" Michelle asked
"The bridge, somethingís happening to the bridge" he exclaimed.
Instinctively he gunned the engine, they were now 6 feet across the 10 foot bridge. The tires spun and finally caught grip. The car jolted forward as they crossed the final 4 feet at about 20 miles per hour. Scully looked into his rear view mirror and saw, just above the reflection of his sleeping childrenís head, a 6 foot piece of 8 inch lumber float out of sight. They were to be the last car to cross that bridge for three days. They headed up the hill and down the other side. As they came down the other side, their house became visible.
The pond that was now the backyard was creeping closer to the house. It was now about 10 feet below the basement access door. They looked out into the field where the people they bought the house from were going to build their new home. The tops of the stakes marking the location of the house were barely visible under the water. They drove past their house to try the other way out. They only made it about 100 yards when they came upon yet another pond in what used to be the road. This one was not that deep, only about a 12 inches but it was nearly 200 feet long.
"We can make it but who knows about the next one, or the one after that." He stated. "We need to decide exactly where we want to be stranded, in the car or the house and hope that neither ends up under water"
"The house," they said together. It was the only thing they had agreed upon in a very long time.
He put the car in reverse and backed up to the driveway. He drove down the driveway and let Michelle and the kids out. The dog, Asphalt, was up on the porch hiding from the water. He then drove the car up to the top of the driveway hoping that it would stay dry to use in case the house flooded and they needed yet another dry place to stay. He got out and looked around. There was water everywhere he could see and it was still raining. There was a chill in the air, he clutched his jacket to him and realized he was in for a long afternoon and evening. After all, it was now only about 12:30. He went into the house to assess the situation.
Inside, no one would have been able to tell anything was wrong. The electricity was on, the phones worked, even the satellite dish was still getting a signal. Alex had woken up and Ashley was stirring. Scully put in a Winnie the Pooh video, their favorites, and hoped this would distract them for awhile. He picked up the phone and telephoned work to let them know he made it ok and what the current situation was. Then he called his parents in Alaska, her father back in Mississippi and the neighbor whose house was next door but rested about 10 feet lower than his. They were there and everything was still ok. He worried the water was going to get to their house given the speed at which it was rising. He had no sooner put the phone down when it rang. It was Mike Rollins, the guy who sold them the house and indicated it was on a 500 year flood plain. This was why they chose NOT to get flood insurance after all, the most recent flood was 10 years before so they were clearly good for another 490 or so.
"Yíall alright," Mike asked in a combination West Virginia southern drawl.
"Letís just say we are dry," was Scullyís somewhat chuckled response.
"It shouldnít get much higher," Mike said
"I hope not, itís already 10 feet below the basement door."
"Oh," Mike replied
"What do you mean oh?"
The last time it got up about 3 feet in the basement but then the house was lower down on the lot. Have you plugged the drain in the basement"
"What drain in the basement?"
"The basement has a drain that feeds into the pond, I put it there so I could spray down the basement when it got dirty and just send the water to the pond."
"No, I didnít even know there was a drain, whereís the plug."
"Should be on the top shelf by the air conditioner unit."
"Why do I need to plugÖ" Scully stopped the question as he all of sudden realized that if the pond was flooding, it would back up through the pipe and flood the basement even if the water in the yard didnít get high enough.
"Yíall call us if we can help ya, ya got our numbers?"
"Yeah, yours and Daveís." Dave was Mikeís brother. Mike lived in the part of town near where Scully had to negotiate to get to the bridge. Dave lived further up the hill about 2 miles from where they were. Scully figured Mike would be under water and Dave would be the only real safe place if they could get to it.
"Weíre all right for now, weíll see how it gets as the afternoon passes, thanks, bye," Scully hung up.
"Iím going to the basement" he yelled to Michelle and the kids who were watching TV. He opened the basement door and pulled on the light. He looked down the 13 steps that led to the basement and saw water.
"Godfuckingdammit", he said once again as he walked down the steps.
Luckily he had closed the door so the kids probably didnít hear him. He reached the third step from the bottom to check the depth of the water. Looked like about 6 inches. He knew he was going to get wet and just headed on into the water. It was cold, very cold, after all it was January and this was mostly water that resulted from melting snow. It very quickly soaked through his tennis shoes, socks and six inches worth of jeans. He went from room to room in the basement, there were two potential bedrooms and a larger main room. In each room he found personal items floating. He shook his head in disgust as he noticed his DSM IV was under water. The DSM IV is the bible of psychology. It is the book used to diagnose people. It costs about $70 dollars for the hardback, which was now a wet back. He quickly made his rounds from room to room and then headed toward the air conditioner area to find the plug. He found it and much to his surprise it was little more than a glorified kitchen sink stopper. He grabbed it and began looking for the drain in the floor. He found it about 3 feet from the north wall. He pulled the sleeve up on his right arm and reached into the water.
"Yahhhhh," he uttered as his hand and then the lower part of his arm entered the water. He fumbled around for a moment to make sure it was in the right place and then stepped on the plug to make sure it stayed. For now it seemed like a good idea. He stayed the next 20 minutes, after all, he was already cold and moved things higher up. He guessed that based upon the information Mike had provided from the flood ten years ago that if he put things about 4 to 5 feet high in the basement they would probably stay dry even if it was worse this year than before. The basement had peculiar 9 foot ceilings. He left what was wet where it was, what was sort of wet he moved, and what was dry he moved way up. As he headed up the steps back to the main floor, he glanced around one last time and felt satisfied the water had stopped rising.
"I plugged the drain and moved everything higher," he announced as he reentered the living room
"How high was it?" Michelle asked
"About 6 inches."
"Is it getting any higher"
"Not now, it wonít."
"A few things, mostly my psychology textbooks, they are underwater now."
"Can you get new ones?"
"Yeah, if I decide to."
Scully walked into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator door and grabbed a beer, he figured it was going to be a long afternoon. It was Killians Irish Lager, he had been drinking this exclusively since he worked at a Radio Shack in Portland Oregon that was next to a bar. A fellow employee invited him to go shoot pool after work one day and suggested he try this beer. He did, and hasnít had much of anything else since. That was 1989. He glanced out the back door and noticed the culvert coming off the hillside. He was amazed at now much water was coming out of it. He also noticed that the rain had stopped. He decided it was time to go outside and see exactly what was going on.
"Iím going out to check on things," he announced as he headed out the door.
"Be careful," came the response.
"Whereís daddy going?" he heard Alex asking as he closed the door.
He walked down the three step back exit still nursing his beer. He looked around. All the snow was gone. It felt like it was about 60 degrees and it was January. He opened up the makeshift fence he had put up to surround the swing set and sandbox the kids played in. He headed over to the culvert coming off the hill. He wanted to seen exactly how strong the flow off the hillside was. It was about a twenty foot walk and as he strolled over, the sound of the water coming out of the culvert became louder, almost deafening.
When he was about 5 feet away he could see the water much clearer. His jaw dropped and his beer nearly did as well when he realized the extent of the possible problem. It appeared as if the culvert was about 24 inches in diameter and it appeared as if about 22 inches of water was coming out. He watched for a few seconds as the water crashed out of the culvert. He glanced down his yard to see where the water was ending up. The water was ending up in the pond. Actually it was supposed to flow down the yard to a little creek which fed the pond. The little creek was now a river and the pond was becoming a lake. He followed the flow down the hill walking as far down the hill as he could go before encountering the pond. He encountered the pond about 35 feet below the end of the culvert. He used to have to walk 50 feet below the culvert to the little creek and then go about 15 feet to the left before getting to the bank of the pond. The water level on a normal day was still 5 feet below the bank of the pond. Today, the pond was five feet below the stairway to the basement door. He headed left between the pond and the 4X4 support beams for the deck that ran along the front and side of the house and went into the front yard. He looked out as far as he could see and saw nothing but water. The bridge that crossed the pond was floating. The fountain heads for the pond were floating. The picnic table that was on the other side of the pond had floated about 100 yards into the field that the Rollinsís were going to build there house on. He looked up toward the driveway and wondered if anything was going to stay dry. He crossed the driveway and went back around to the back door he had exited from. He looked over again at the culvert, glanced down to the pond, looked across the property line at the house next door. The water was about 10 feet from the back porch but was only about 1 foot deep. He shook his head with the realization that unless the water from the pond was able to drain somewhere else, the water coming off the hill was going to feed the pond and continue it rising, rising eventually into the neighbors house and into his. He finished his beer, threw the bottle toward the pond and went inside.
"Things are going to get interesting," he announced as he entered the house
"What do you mean,"
"There is probably hundreds of gallons of water running off the hill into the backyard with nowhere for it to go."
"Do I look like I am kidding?"
"What should we do?"
"What can we do?" he responded rhetorically
"Itís 2:30 now, Iíll check the situation again at 4:00 and weíll go from there. If the house looks like it will stay dry, we stay here, If it looks like weíll get wet, weíll see if Dave or Mike can come get us out of here"
"Will they do that?"
"Mike said they would, In the meantime letís just try to stay calm and get things organized."
Scully began scrounging through the kitchen drawers looking for matches and batteries. He gathered up the three flashlights they had and made sure each was working. He assumed they would lose power at some point. He decided to make the living room the gathering area. It was near two doors, the front and rear in case they had to get out in a hurry. He went to the bedrooms and gathered pillows and blankets. He also realized that if the power went out, so would the heat and although it was nearly 50 degrees now, it was supposed to freeze at night. Once he was comfortable that he had warmth, comfort and light available, he began a diaper check. Ashley was still in diapers and who knew when they would be able to get to a store. He scoured her room, the master bedroom, the diaper bag, the kitchen, and the living room before running out to the car to check there. All together he found 22 diapers. "This should last a few days, if we do it right" he mumbled to himself as he stacked them all together on the counter.
ĎDid you say something?" Michelle asked
"No, just mumbling to myself."
"Oh, what can I do to help?"
"Keep the kids occupied and comfortable, Iíll take care of the rest!"
Feeling content that he had done all he could to prepare things, he picked up the phone to check for a dial tone. He was relieved to find one. He dialed his neighbor, Debbie Johnson, to see how things were there.
"Debbie, hi its Brendan from next door."
"Hi, how are yíall?" she asked
"Dry for now, and you?"
"So far so good but I donít know how long it will last."
"Me either, I think we may both get wet but Iím especially worried about you since your house sits lower."
"I know, the kids are concerned, we thought we might try to go to town in a little bit."
"Donít bother, I think we were the last ones to cross that bridge, a board gave out as we crossed it and the water was getting very high on both sides of the bridge."
"You know if you start getting wet, call us or come on over, we are higher and might be ok."
"Thanks, hopefully that wonít be necessary."
"You will call us wonít you Debbie?" He reiterated not really believing her when she said she would "I will, she paused.. if things get real bad."
"Good luck," he replied,
Debbie was a single mother of two kids with two different fathers, neither of whom was around or did much to help in any way. She was renting the other house from the same Mike and Debbie Rollins that had sold Scully the house he lived in. She rarely ever asked for anything but Scully figured he had better let her know that help was available if she needed it. Her children, Angela was 12 or 13 and John was about 2. Scully figured Debbie to be about 29 and thus must have been a very young mother. He doubted she would call for help but who knows, maybe she would if needed.
"Sheís not gonna call for help," he said as he hung up the phone
"You canít make her," Michelle said
"I know, but why does she have to be so damn stubborn, especially with the kids."
"Some people are that way and you canít do anything about it, she knows we will be here and if she needs our help, sheíll call."
Scully headed for the refrigerator for another beer. As he opened the beer, he looked out the kitchen window and nearly freaked out. He could see the water in Debbieís back yard had not only become deeper but was now lapping at the concrete patio under her deck. The deck, by the way was only 6 inches off the ground. Another 6 or so feet and the water will be reaching the concrete foundation of the house. He put the beer down after having taken only a single sip.
"Gotta go check on things," he exclaimed in a hurry as he grabbed headed out the door
"Whatís theÖ." He couldnít hear the rest of the question
Scully leapt down the three steps into the backyard, it was getting darker. Although it was only about 3:30, this was January and there was complete cloud cover. The darkness sensing lights on the back porch had not kicked on yet but Scully knew what he was looking for and hoped he didnít find it. He headed down the hill in back yard. He got about 15 below the back porch. He was parallel to the heat pump which sat about 10 feet up from the corner of the house. He looked down the hill in amazement. The water which, only an hour ago was 10 feet below the stairway to the basement was now only about 6 inches away from going into the stairway and consequently under the door into the basement. Having plugged the drain from the basement prevented the water from backing up from the pond but this would not prevent the water from entering under the basement door. He moved closer and looked under the deck. The water line was steady, about 6 inches from the stairway to the basement and about 3 feet from the concrete foundation. He tiptoed between the water and the stairway to the basement and then walked in the dry 3 feet for the next 20 feet of the house and the final 6 feet of deck until he emerged in the front yard. The pond/lake was getting bigger and deeper.
Then something occurred to him.
How was any water that got into the basement going to get out. He had already plugged up a basement of water that was 6 inches deep and it became clear that more was about to enter as the water crept closer to flowing down three stairs into the basement.
"Iíve got to unplug the basement" He said out loud "god fuckingdammit" he mumbled angrily. He realized, that if he unplugged the basement more water might come in from the pond but he also figured that when the water levels dropped in the Green River and all the creeks that feed it from his pond that the water in the basement would drain into the pond. The alternative was a basement full of water with no way for it to get out. He clamored hurriedly up the front steps, onto the deck and went barreling through the front door.
"Donít even ask, Iíll explain later" he shouted as he burst in the house, slung open the door to the basement and slammed it behind him. He turned on the lights and headed into the basement down the 13 steps. He was instantly reminded of the fact the water was melted snow when his left foot hit the water as he stepped off the second step onto the submerged first step. The second reminder came a moment later when his right foot made contact with the water on the way to hitting the basement floor. "Yahhhhh" he exclaimed. He trudged through the water for about ten feet and located the plug that he had just placed a few hours ago. He knew he was going to get more water in the basement but figured in the long run it would help.
"Here goes nothing," he stated to no one in particular as he reached down through the almost ten inches of winter cold mountain water to grasp the plug. He fumbled for a bit before getting a secure grip and pulled. Out came the plug with a splash that caught him in the face. It was a stinging cold.
Instantly, he could feel the water rising up his legs after the plug had come out. The water wasted no time in claiming new areas it could spread to as this pathway opened up. He stood there for a second or two, tossed the plug on a shelf that also held the ceramic Santa Claus his mother had made for him when he went off to school and headed for the stairs. By the time he reached the stairs, the water had already risen in the basement to touch the bottom of the second step. Scully was becoming worried and that was something that Scully never did.
As he exited the stairway, Michelle glanced at him and could tell by the look on his face that something was not quite right. "Whatís the matter?" she asked simply.
"Nothing," he replied shrugging his shoulders. He continued "except that the basement is filling up with water and I have no idea how the hell long it is going to be before it stops."
"What do you think we should do?"
"I donít know, what time is it?"
By now it was nearing 4:30 in the afternoon. It was getting dark outside and it was continuing to get cold. The forecast for the day was one of those goofy forecasts where it will be 50 degrees during the day and about 30 degrees at night. He thought to himself "tonight could be really interesting"
"We might need to think about calling Dave to get us out of here if he still can."
"Well, at the rate the water is rising in the basement we may end up losing our electricity in the house if it doesnít go out somewhere else first, no electricity, no heat, and itís going to be below freezing tonight, Iím also concerned that if the water gets high enough it may end up in the house and we could be stuck all night."
"Oh, I see, do you want me to call him?"
"Letís give it another half hour or so and Iíll check the water level inside and out and see if things are slowing down at all."
The phone rang, it was Scullyís dad, Matt, calling from the North Slope of Alaska. "Hey your mother told me what was going on, how are things at this point?"
Scully described the current situation. "Not bad, I guess, what are you going to do," his father asked.
"Still deciding, we canít drive out in the car, Dave thinks he could get us in his truck unless the water is too high now, we might stick it out, but Iím concerned for the kids, I donít want them to be cold and in the dark and than possibly in the water as well"
"Anything I can do?"
"Not unless you can magically dry the water up."
"Nope, let me know what happens, call your mother and sheíll call me."
"Will do, the phoneís are working for now and we have the cell phone if necessary."
Matt was always good for analyzing the situation and finding a good solution but this time he could offer nothing but moral support.
Scully hung up the phone and glanced out the back window of the kitchen. It was nearing 5:00 and he really couldnít see very well. He walked over and turned on the back porch light. This helped , but only a little. He strained his eyes to see down the backyard to see how high the water was, it was too dark. The light on the pole by the culvert had never worked since they moved in so seeing that far away was impossible. He rounded up his jacket and his flashlight.
"Iím going to check on things again, this will determine what our choices are."
"Iíll be fine, worst that can happen is Iíll get a little wet," he chuckled as he headed out the back door. It didnít take long for him to realize that things had not gotten any better. He didnít even bother walking over to the culvert, the sound of the water rushing out at full force was deafening in the silence of the night. It had stopped raining. He aimed his flashlight down the backyard and began walking to find the edge of the water. It came much sooner than he hoped and anticipated. Whereas the last time the water was six inches below the step-down to the basement door, the water was now pouring rapidly over the steps leading to the basement. Scully realized things hadnít gotten better but in fact, had gotten worse, although he suspected this would probably happen. Walking under the deck was now impossible, the water had risen enough in the backyard that it was touching the concrete foundation of the house and pouring into the basement steps from that side as well.
"Holy shit," he exclaimed slowly dragging it out for a good 10 seconds. He turned and raced up the backyard. He burst in the back door and yelled to Michelle "Get Dave on the phone, we are out of here". He continued toward the basement door without waiting for a response. He could hear the dialing of the phone as he opened the door and headed down the steps.
The water was now about 2 feet deep in the basement and rising. It now covered 4 of the thirteen steps. He looked down and the steps and noticed his blue Coleman cooler floating by the bottom of the steps. He went down the steps as far as he could and looked into the basement area. The artificial tree was floating in one corner, magazines were floating elsewhere everything that was within two feet of the floor was under water or nearly under water. He shook his head and headed back up stairs to the living room.
"Did you get Dave?"
"Yes, heís on his way, if he canít make it by truck he will call us and let us know."
"How long will it take to get here, did he say?"
"Probably 10 minutes if he doesnít have much trouble."
"Give me the phone," Scully asked or rather demanded. He took it from her hand and dialed Debbie next door.
"Debbie, howís it looking over there?"
"The water is at the back door," she replied
"Itís in our basement and rising fast, we are getting Dave to come get us, yíall coming?"
"No, I think weíll be alright."
"Debbie," he insisted, " The higher it gets here only means itís higher there since you sit lower."
"I donít think itíll get much worse." she replied
"All right, if you are sure."
"Iím sure, weíll call Dave if things get worse."
"Bye," he said and hung up "Sheís an idiot."
Michelle jumped in "Sheís not going?"
"What a f íing idiot," she said abbreviating her thought with the kids in the room. They bundled up the kids, packed the diaper bag, grabbed as many essentials as they could grab and waited, hoping Dave would be able to make it. The looked out the living room window up the driveway toward the road to see if headlights were approaching. Minutes passed like hours and then Scully spotted lights.
"Thatís got to be him," he said excitedly as a truck emerged from the darkness at the top of the driveway. It was Dave and he came down the driveway. Dave left the truck running and got out and headed up the steps to the deck and ultimately to the front door.
"Yíall o.k.?" he asked
"Yeah, howís things your way?"
"Not bad, we live up high."
"How was the drive over?"
"Not too bad, the water is about door high in one spot but we should be able get back through it if we hurry before it gets any higher."
"Michelle, you get Ashley, Iíll get Alex, Dave do you mind grabbing that pile of stuff there," Scully barked the orders.
Everyone grabbed who or what they were supposed to and headed for the truck. After Scully, Michelle, the kids and the stuff were in the truck, Dave grabbed his flashlight and took a quick look around. "Shiiit, itís already worse than last time," he muttered as he got back in the truck.
"Worse?" Scully asked
"Yeah, last time it only got this high and that was at the end of it, this ainít anywhere near over yet, it might get the house."
"Thatís what I was afraid of, the basement already has 2 feet of water in it so I figured weíd better get out."
"Glad you called me, what about Debbie?"
"I just called her, she seems to think it wonít get any worse and that they will be ok."
"She ainít real bright is she?"
"No, she did say sheíd call if it got worse."
"Iíll call her from the house and check on her," Dave said as he backed out of the driveway. They headed down the road that the Scully had tried to use earlier after the bridge gave out. The truck easily made its way through the first flooded part of the road that would have drowned the Oldsmobile. They continued on for about another Ĺ mile before they approached a second area of flooded road. The look on Daveís face clearly changed as they approached this area.
"Itís wider than it was when I went through it before, doesnít look much higher, but definitely wider."
"We gonna make it?" Michelle asked
"I guess weíll find out," Dave replied as he shifted into low gear and headed into the water. Things were going very well for the first half and then Dave noticed water seeping in his door.
"The middle is deeper, this could be trouble," he gave it some gas, the truck surged forward as water sprayed up high enough on both sides that the only direction anyone could see was forward. They continued moving, they were going to make. They exited the other side of the flooded area and headed up hill. There was no risk of water for the rest of the way to Daveís house.
Scully breathed a sigh of relief. He and his family were safe. He decided to worry about the house tomorrow when he could see what damage had been done. There was nothing he could do now and he realized he was better off being somewhere unable to do anything than if he had been in the house and not been able to do anything to slow the rising water down.
They arrived at Daveís house at about 5:40. It was dark and getting colder than anyone had anticipated. Daveís wife Jenny met them at the door as they exited the truck.
"Oh you poor dears," she cried out. "How are the kids?"
"Everyoneís safe and dry," Scully replied "no guarantees about the house."
"Come in, Iíve got hamburgers ready, I figure you might be hungry."
"Thank you so much," Michelle replied as they entered the house. Alex clung to Scully and Ashley had a death grip on her mother as they entered the strange house. Luckily, Dave and Jenny had a two year old son whose toys were strewn over the family room. It didnít take Alex and Ashley long to decide to get down and play, provided, of course, mommy or daddy was still in the room. Everyone settled into the family room and just looked at each other in disbelief at the days events.
Jenny asked, " How are your neighbors, did they get out?"
Scully replied, "I called her to tell her we were leaving and she said she would stay," I think she has family or friends up the hill from us because she said if they needed to, they would go out on foot to safety."
"I hope they do, itís supposed to drop below freezing tonight."
"If I can borrow your phone, Iíll give her a call and see what is going on."
"Oh, go right ahead, Dave do you think you could get back to the house to get them if needed."
"I dunno, we had water coming in the doors as we drove through the second stretch of water and itíll only be deeper next time."
Scully dialed Debbieís number, or tried to, he couldnít get a dial tone. "I canít get a dial tone," he announced to the group.
"Hmm," Jenny replied, "I just used that thing to talk to Mike and Debbie and let them know you were coming here"
"Iíll try my cell phone and see if I can get through on it, maybe just part of the service is out."
Scully pulled out his cell phone, noticed his battery was about dead and dialed the number hoping he could at least get through and talk long enough to find out what Debbie and her family were doing. He dialed the number and got nothing. He dialed again, still nothing. He tried his home phone, nothing.
He tried his parents number in Alaska. The phone rang. His mother answered and Scully explained the current situation and hung up quickly to save battery time.
"Itís no use, the phone lines are apparently dead, Dave should we go back?"
"I donít think we ought to risk it, are you pretty sure she said she had some place to go?"
"Iím pretty sure but I hope if things get real bad that she will at least get out and go up to our house and break in if it stays dry."
"Letís keep trying to get her by phone and if we canít weíll try to get out there tomorrow, hopefully things will have gone down by then."
Scully sat back down in the family room. He looked at his kids, they appeared to be enjoying the toys in the room. He hoped they had no idea how crazy things were at this moment. He thought to himself "that job in Mississippi canít come through soon enough"
They spent the remainder of the evening watching television and making small talk. Everyone was clearly distracted. Scully may lose his house, Daveís uncleís farm was under water, the phones werenít working and everyone wondered what was going on with Debbie and her children.
At about 9:00, Jenny showed Scully and his family the room they could sleep in. They would all have to pile into a queen sized bed but that didnít matter at this point. Ashley was about asleep and Alex was looking wobbly.
They headed off to bed.