"Put something under the door," I said. I run to get an old blanket from the bedroom and stuffed it along the bottom of the door, the way you would stop a draft. Water soaked through the blanket quick.
"Won't do no good," Hank said.
"What will?" I said. We couldn't open the door, for that would only let in more rain. Rain must be blowing right across the porch, I thought. But all I heard was steady rain on the roof.
"Nothing," Hank said. I looked at him, and listened. And then I heard the lips sound, the kissing sound and sucking that rising water makes when it touches a building or rock wall.
"You mean that's creek water?" I said. Gap Creek had rose out of its banks and crossed the road. In the dark it had reached into the yard and licked against the porch, then swirled up onto the boards of the porch and was now pouring under the door. Hank looked so worried I felt sorry for him. I tried to think of something to stop the water from coming into the house. I grabbed a lamp and run to look at the back door, for I thought it was lower than the front. But I had only took one step into the kitchen when my foot hit something thick. There was splash and I seen water already standing on the kitchen floor.
I lowered the lamp to look at the water and seen pieces of kindling floating around under the table. And there was cans and bottles floating, and a cardboard box with some pinecones. Even as I looked I could see the water rising, washing in little tides across my feet. I turned to run back to the living room where Hank stood by the fireplace, leaning against the mantel.
"There's water already in the kitchen," I said.
"It'll put out the fire in a minute," he hollered.
Sure enough, water seeping under the front door had spread across the living room to the hearth. When it rose another inch it would be in the fireplace and the fire would go out in smoke and steam. I tried to think of some way to protect the fire, to build a wall around the hearth. There wasn't no way.
© 2000 Robert Morgan