qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwerty uiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasd fghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzx cvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmq Serena and the Flood One girl’s struggle against the elements wertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyui 12/19/2009 opasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfg Helen hjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxc vbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmq wertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyui opasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfg hjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxc vbnmqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmq wertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyui opasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopasdfg hjklzxcvbnmrtyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbn mqwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwert yuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnmqwertyuiopas Serena and the Flood. “Serena. I need you to listen carefully.” Mr Dewhurst said as he struggled into his waterproof and wellingtons. “Stop playing with Pip and listen to me, will you?” Serena vaguely recognised the commanding note in her father’s voice. She hastily pretended to stop teasing her small, white and mischievous pet dog, and looked directly at her dad. “I’m listening.” she said. She wasn’t. She looked like she was giving her attention to what her dad was saying, but she really had one eye on Pip, who was making surreptitious movements towards the old rag they had been playing ‘tug-of-war’ with before the interruption had, temporarily, halted their game. She stole out her foot to secure one end of the rag and paid no attention to the words her father said. She knew that he went on for some minutes and tuned in just as he finished with the words; “So you will make sure that Mum is warm, won’t you? The doctor said that she needs rest, and plenty of fluids. You will make sure she has plenty of water won’t you?” “Of course.” answered Serena. She had managed to get a good hold on the rag and was gradually getting more and more of it under her control. Pip’s share of the cloth was now only just enough to keep a grip on with his sharp little white teeth. She was vaguely aware of her father’s voice continuing in the background. She heard him say; “Remember what I’ve told you. The mobile won’t work when I get down to the stables so it’s all up to you. Do you understand?” her dad was saying. “Yes.” replied Serena; secretly pleased that she was very near to winning the game with Pip. “Right.” said Serena’s dad. “I daren’t leave it any longer. Look after your Mum. Goodbye sweetheart, see you before too long: - I hope.” Serena heard the backdoor slam and immediately bent to snatch the cloth from Pip’s jaws. She held it aloft triumphantly as an excited Pip jumped up at her and yapped. “Right, Pip.” Serena said to her pet. “Dad said that I had to check that Mum has plenty of water.” She went to the sink to get a fresh glass of water to take upstairs. Her Mum had only just come out of hospital and had to rest. The doctor had given her some sleeping pills and she slept for most of the time. On the occasions when she awoke she was very thirsty. Serena wanted to make sure that there was fresh water waiting for her when she needed it. As she turned on the tap she looked out of the kitchen window. The rain still poured steadily down. It had been raining for days. The news on the television had been full of stories about floods. Houses had been flooded, fields had been flooded, and even, in some places, schools had been flooded. “With a bit of luck our school might be flooded!” Serena told Pip. “Then we could have some fun!” She carried the glass of water carefully up the stairs. When she entered the bedroom she saw that her mother was still fast asleep. Quietly she put the glass down and crossed to the window. Her mother’s room looked out over the village green with its maypole and old sycamore trees. The ground looked waterlogged and the rain still poured steadily down. How very wet it was! It had been like this for days. Dad would not have had to be so worried about the horses if the rain hadn’t been so persistent for so long. The stables were likely to flood and Dad wanted to move their two horses to farmer Bell’s barn. They would be dry and snug in there. Serena’s father was big and strong and Serena, and Mum, relied on him a lot. She had a vague twinge of conscience. She hadn’t listened to him very carefully before he set off. What had he told her to do? Serena shrugged her shoulders. He would be back soon anyway, so it didn’t really matter. She went downstairs to the kitchen where Pip gave her a rapturous welcome. “You daft dog!” she told him fondly. “What shall we do now?” Pip raced back to the back door and began barking frantically. “You can’t go outside in this weather, silly billy!” Serena told him. Pip kept up his barking. Serena went towards the back door to pick him up but was pulled up short by the sight that met her eyes. There was water seeping under the door and into the kitchen. “Oh no!” exclaimed Serena. “What shall I do?” Pip just wagged his tail at her. “I wish I had listened to what Dad told me more carefully,” muttered to herself. “Did he say what we should do if the rain started coming into the house?” She looked down at her excited dog. “Well Pip? What shall we do about this?” Perhaps her dad had warned her about this. If only she’d paid attention. She pictured him standing where she was standing now and screwed up her face in an effort to remember what he’d told her. It was no good. She’d been too busy playing with Pip with that bit of rag. The image of their game had given her an idea. She’d need something much bigger that the rag but she was sure it would work. She dashed to the washing machine and pulled out all the towels that were waiting to be washed. She rolled each one into a swiss-roll shape and pushed then up against the bottom of the door. Surely they would keep the rain water outside where it should be! She looked down at Pip. He was looking at the towels with a puzzled expression on his whiskery face. “What shall we do now?” Serena asked him. Pip gave a little bark and pawed the doorway to the hall. Then he sat and looked back encouragingly at his young mistress. “What’s the matter, Pip?” Serena asked, stooping down to pat him on the head. “What do you want to show me?” Pip pawed the door again. Serena opened it and stepped into the flagged hallway. In front of the door there was a huge pool of water growing in size even as they watched it. Serena’s heart sank. The water was coming in so quickly, even if she used more towels she doubted that they would hold back the rising flood water. She picked Pip up and tiptoed quietly to the bottom of the stairs and then, equally quietly, climbed the stairs to her mother’s room. She opened the door and was relieved to see that her mother was still fast asleep. With Pip in her arms she crossed the room once more to look out of the window. The scene outside was frightening; cars parked around the green were already standing in water that came half way up their tyres. Serena realised that the ground floor of their house was going to be flooded. There was nothing she could do to stop it. Had dad told her to do something if this happened? She so much wished that she had listened to him. She put Pip down on the bed and softly told him to stay. Then she went back down stairs. The water now covered the floors. She realised that the beck must have burst its banks and that it would keep pouring in. She rolled up the legs of her jeans and waded into the kitchen. What was the most precious thing? She stared around. She knew that her mother treasured the clock that she had inherited from her great grandmother. She made that the first item that she carefully carried to the safety of her mother’s bedroom. She made many trips collecting boxes of documents, food, plates, bottled water, favourite ornaments and photograph albums. She thought really hard about what would be needed if she, Pip and Mum had to spend a lot of time upstairs. As she worked the water rose steadily. She now had an air of grim determination about her. She was afraid. She was on her own and other people were relying on her, and Pip was too. After at least an hour of toiling up and down the stairs she allowed herself to stop and went into her own room changing into dry jeans, wellingtons and her ‘all weather’ coat. Then she went into her parent’s bedroom and looked at mother who was, miraculously, still sleeping. With a subdued Pip at her heels she crossed to the window once more. What a sight met her eyes. The Maypole, around which she and her friends danced as part of the village’s May Day celebrations, was almost covered by the flood waters. Of the cars, which had been parked around the green, there was no sign. Serena knew that they were at the bottom of the water that now threatened her house: - and Mum and Pip! Serena wondered if there was anything more that she could do. For the umpteenth time she wished that she had listened to Dad before he left the house. What if she wasn’t doing the right things? What if she could have somehow got her Mum to safety much earlier? She wanted her Dad to be with her so much. As if in answer to the thought in her head she saw a bright yellow rubber boat being paddled across the village green, the tops of the trees looking like weeds growing in the swirling, muddy water. In the boat, looking anxiously towards the window, were her dad and another man. A sudden eddy in the water swirled them off their course and Serena caught her breath for fear that they might be overturned and swept away in the flood. Straining every muscle to gain control of the boat the men gradually returned to their original course and came nearer and nearer to the bedroom window. When they were within shouting distance, Serena threw open the window and screwed up her eyes against the howling wind and driving rain. It was not until the boat was almost at the window ledge that Serena could make out her father’s voice. He told her to stand back and his friend paddled to keep the boat steady whilst her father climbed into the room. He didn’t even pause to hug Serena but strode to the bed and picked up the sleeping form of her mother. He carried her back across the room. He only spoke briefly to her as he passed her mother into the boat. “Stay here.” he instructed her curtly. “As soon as I’ve got your mother to safety I’ll come back for you. Be brave sweetheart. I’ll be as quick as I can.” Serena watched the yellow boat head off up the lane, or rather the river that had been the lane only that morning. She felt very alone. She felt a movement at her feet. Looking down she saw Pip at her feet, looking trustingly into her face. “We’ll do what Dad said and wait for him to come back,” she told Pip firmly, although secretly she felt rather frightened. The wait seemed a very long one. There was no sign of the yellow boat and the water was rising. It swirled fiercely at the tops of the trees as if it would tear them up by the roots. The water rose into the bedroom and Serena had to hold Pip in her arms. The water washed around her feet and the furniture began to float. The bed was rocked by the water as it swept into the room. Serena knew that she was in deadly danger. She made up her mind quickly and, placing Pip down the front of her ‘all weather’ she climbed onto the window ledge. She was buffeted by the wind and the rain stung her face and hands. The water was just below the level of the window ledge. It was sludge brown and there was dirty, muddy foam swirling around the top branches of the sycamores. Serena turned round slowly, her back to the green, and looked up at the gutters of the house. She edged along and leaned sideways to grasp the downspout. It felt slippery and cold. It was held to the house by iron brackets. This was to be Serena’s ladder. Luckily the roof was not so far above the level of the window. Serena lifted one foot from the window ledge and managed to get a toe hold on the bracket. Suddenly she froze with fear. What if she couldn’t make it to the roof? What if the drainpipe didn’t hold and she, and Pip fell back into the flood waters? Then her courage returned to her. She clung to the pipe and reached above her. Her fingers grasped the edge of the guttering and she pulled herself up. She could feel Pip’s heart beating against her. He was curled up and still, as if he knew how important it was not to distract her. She could not explain later how she climbed onto the roof. She lay, at last, her arms and shoulders hurting, with Pip’s head poking from her coat and his small, pink tongue giving her face a thorough licking! Serena sat up and looked around her. She was safe for the moment. If the water rose even further she could climb to the ridge of the roof. After that, well, it would be the end for her and Pip. She held him even tighter. He responded by licking her hands vigorously. The wind howled in her ears. She could hear a different sound as well, one that she recognised. It was a helicopter! The relief that flooded Serena’s heart was so powerful she cried a little. Soon, however, she was too busy to feel anything but excitement. The man who had been winched down from the helicopter explained that she needed to wear a safety harness and a helmet. As he slipped the harness around her chest he noticed a strange bulge. Serena opened her coat and Pip’s face peeped up at their rescuer. “He can stay where he is for a while.” He said as he signalled the hovering helicopter. Suddenly there was a jerk and Serena found herself flying through the air. Soon she was safe inside the helicopter and then she cried tears of relief. The man who had rescued her put his arm around her and gave her a hug. The helicopter only flew a short distance. It took Serena to the highest point in the village where a centre had been set up to help all those who had been flooded out. Serena rushed into her father’s arms and heard how the flood had been so bad that he had been stopped by the emergency services from coming back for her. He took her to where her mum was lying, still fast asleep, warm and safe on a camp bed. He gave her hot soup and Pip some water and dog biscuits. He hugged her so many times she lost count! After a few hours he looked at her with a worried expression on his face. “I know that you’ve had a really strange day, Serena. I’m not surprised that you are shocked. Is there anything I can do to make things a bit better for you?” Serena looked at the kind, worried face of her father. She said, in a very quiet voice; “I feel guilty Dad.” Her father looked horrified. “You have been amazing today. You have looked after Mum, saved yourself and young Pip here! You’ll be in all the papers. I wouldn’t be surprised if you weren’t on the telly! Why on earth should you feel guilty? You are a proper heroine!” Serena shuffled uncomfortably. “When you told me what I should do this morning. I wasn’t paying a scrap of attention. I know if I’d listened to your advice about the flood I would have known what to do.” Serena could feel her father shaking. She looked at him. He was laughing! “I didn’t say anything about the flood! I was telling you about when I was a boy and there was flooding! I told you how I’d fallen over and got wet through; and how cross your Grandma was with me!” Serena looked at him in disbelief. “All day!” she said. “All day I have worried about not listening!” Mr. Dewhurst hugged his daughter again. Then he gave her a kiss. Then he began to laugh, and .after a while, Serena began to laugh too. When she was better, and the flood had gone down, and they were back in Maypole Cottage, her Mum laughed. She was better and in the days and years that followed she laughed more and more. The whole family, including Pip, laughed from the sheer joy of being together and well and happy. Occasionally, when she was alone, Serena laughed. She laughed when she remembered that she’d hoped that the school would flood. The highest point in the village, and the place where she, and her family had spent days whilst the flood receded, was the school. She listened carefully to what people said to her after that: - just in case!