BOOK 2 // ELEVEN: Take Shelter

11.9K 792 147

            From the moment the rain started, it felt like it was trying to flush us out. After Nova and I had come to our senses and ducked inside, it continued to pour for hours, like the entire world's water supply had been poised above our heads. There had been a warning, but nothing could prepare us for this much rain in such a short space of time.

Nova was panicking.

"It's been hours, and it's not showing any sign of letting up."

She'd been pacing the dining hall for the last hour; I could see her through the hatch from my spot in the kitchen. After our confrontation outside, her next move had been predictable: to busy me with a job as soon as possible. Before I knew it, I was in the kitchen alongside Erica, batch-making sandwiches like we were stockpiling for the end of the world. I didn't know why we needed so much food, but it was hardly the right time to stop and ask.

We were both pretending like nothing had happened, but the lingering tension between us was undeniable. Erica must've been able to sense it – but if so, she said nothing. Instead, she focused on Nova's pacing, and with every lap beside the window I could see her patience wavering.

"Nova," she said, "you know, no matter how many times you walk up and down, it's actually not going to do anything to the weather outside."

A scathing look from Nova was sent in her direction: one that made me glad I wasn't on the receiving end, and only further incentivised me to keep quiet. "Sarcasm aside," she said, "you know this isn't a good sign."

"We're in the middle of a city," Erica pointed out. "An empty one, I'll give you that, but a city nonetheless. They're built to handle a little rain."

"It's way more than a little rain."

"Well, if you want to be pessimistic about it." Erica freed her hands of the bread she was slicing, moving out of the kitchen to head over to where Nova was standing. I watched as she approached the window, placing her hands on her hips. I expected a counter argument right away, a dismissive retort telling Nova to stop overreacting, but instead I got silence.

"See," Nova said.

"Huh. It does look like it's starting to flood."

"Which is exactly what I'm worried about."

"It won't be the end of the world," Erica assured her, though my sister hardly seemed convinced. "We've had some rough storms before, and we always get through them. There's no reason this one will be any different."

"We haven't taken precautions for a flood," Nova said. "How many of our storage units are on the ground? If things get bad in the east, we could lose a lot of stuff. It's really not what we need right now. And if the wind picks up, we can't guarantee that the weaker buildings will stay intact."

"Well, there are a lot of things we don't need around here – but we deal with them, and we move on. It's how it always works."

"I still think we should take precautions." Nova looked out of the window again, her gaze transfixed by the pouring rain, which slammed against the glass with surprising force. Even the small window was taking a battering. "We need to get people inside here. Use this place as a base. It's the safest option."

Erica raised an eyebrow. "Are you sure?"

"Why wouldn't I be sure?"

"Well, it's a dramatic measure," she said. "And it might scare people. I don't think we should do it unless we have to."

Human ErrorRead this story for FREE!