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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Abundance (06/08/06)

TITLE: Flood
By Amy Michelle Wiley


The house was silent. Mother had finally talked herself out and lay napping on her bed. I’d often thought that the running of her tongue made up for the inability of her legs to run. Soon Father would be in and the silence would grow stronger.

I dropped the last potato into the soup just as Father entered. His gaze lingered on the few unwashed dishes in the sink and on the unset table. I could almost feel disapproval oozing from his every pore.

He washed and then set the table while I cut the bread. I did not look at him, ashamed that he had to do my job. We finished and he disappeared into the bedroom to carry Mother to the table. The sound of her chatter preceded them down the hall with barely a pause for his one word answers.

A sudden deluge of rain on the roof paused the meal. I shifted. “At school they were saying that the rivers are near flooding. If it keeps up like this, then the town will flood.”

Father looked up. “Our farm will be safe here on the hill.”

“Yes, sir.” I worried for my friends in town.

The rain continued throughout the next day and evening. My fears mounted with the creek at the bottom of our lane. I lay in bed and listened, until I could bear it no longer. Rising, I pulled on an old pair of overalls and headed for the front room. For a time I paced, debating. What could one girl do to help?

Steps behind me made me jump. It was Father. I lowered my head and waited for him to send me back to bed.

“Get on your boots and slicker. I could use your help with the boat.” He stepped out the door. “Bring some extra blankets.”

It took a minute for the thought to sink in, of my father rushing to the aid of the town in the middle of the night. And to let me come along. To need my help!

The slickers did little good, and by the time we had slipped and slid to the bottom of the hill, we were soaked. We pulled the motorboat out of its shelter and clambered in. A puddle immediately formed in the bottom. I worried that it would sink before the end of the night.

Father did not offer his plan, and I did not ask. The sound of the rain, the motor, and the full creek sent up such a roar that we could not have heard each other talk, even if we had spoken.

It was disturbing to leave the creek’s course and sail over the neighbor’s oat field. The Wilson’s farm was chaos. Mr. Wilson was in the front yard, water up to his waist, struggling with a frantic horse. Father pulled right up to the open front door and motioned for me to take the wheel.

Inside the house, children were wailing and clinging to furniture, attempting to keep out of the rising water. Father plunged down and sloshed in to the nearest child, depositing her next to me.

“You’re safe now.” I smiled at her and wrapped her in a blanket.

Father was shaking with the cold by the time all five Wilson’s were safely in the boat, and the horse tied on the end. It was a bit tricky to get the youngest children and the horse onto the base of the slippery hill leading up to our farm.

“Go on into the house and find some warm milk for the children,” Father directed. “We’ve got more to attend to.”

Mr. Wilson stayed with us, and all through the night we floated from one farm to another. Soon other boats joined us. Lives were lost that night. But more were saved.

The horizon was just beginning to glimmer when Father docked the boat for the last time. The rain drizzled, as though even it was beginning to loose strength. I found it difficult to make my muscles work as I climbed over the boat rim.

“Go on in.” Father nodded toward the inviting smoke that rose from our chimney. “I’ll take care of the boat.”

I was headed up the hill when Father said my name. I turned to find him watching me.

“You did well.”

Three words. One look of pride and love. The years of silence were forgotten.

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This article has been read 1727 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Suzanne R06/15/06
Beautiful. The abundance was clear - in hard times, the main character realized how much she had - right? Great writing.
Jessica Schmit06/16/06
WOW. This is an incredible story. You've captivated the interests of the readers from beginning to end. You set the stage well and delievered a very well, written wonderful piece. I thought the abundance was talking about how the three "simple" words acted as a replacement for the abundance of unloving words shared between the two. I could be wrong though. Great, great work!
Shari Armstrong 06/16/06
A powerful story - I want to know more! what happened to the mother? Great tension -good job.
Ann Darcy06/17/06
That story was wonderful! It was so very creative and beautifully heartwarming. I'd leave a critique if I had one, but I don't. You have such a gift!
Melanie Kerr 06/17/06
The personalities of your two main characters were well written and the action was very tense. I liked the three words "You did well" - they seemed so appropriate.
Pat Guy 06/17/06
This was fantastic! A wonderful read so full of life and love. Awesome.
Dr. Sharon Schuetz06/17/06
You captured the relationship of so many fathers and daughters. This was powerful. Awesome writing, characters, and interaction. Loved it.
Helen Paynter06/18/06
A vivid, well told story. Some lovely phrases - I particularly enjoyed the first paragraph and the part where the father comes in looking disapproving, which I think you described particularly well. Good job.
Jesus Puppy 06/18/06
Tears flow like the rain you write of, and all I can say is... Another winner in my book, Kiddo. Good job.
A. E. Cuthbert06/18/06
Being a new writer I just wanted to say how inspiring it is to read. You can really see and experience the love between the two characters. I know so many people who have fathers like that and I'm sure it touches them. Thanks!
Jen Davis06/19/06
This is a great story and definitely has the potential for a longer one. I loved the father-daughter relationship and was curious to know more about the mother. What about considering your last line to simply read: "Years of silence forgotten."? Very well written!
Venice Kichura06/20/06
Very well written!
Sherry Wendling06/20/06
Tremendous piece, Amy! You hooked me from the first, and did not disappoint. Here you show a wonderful talent for punching out images and dialogue in short, pointed thoughts. The style fits well with the undercurrent of awkwardness between parent & child. Great ending, great read!
George Parler 06/20/06
Dad-bunit. I would have made to the end a left a critique. That is until the last three lines. Now I can't see the keyboard for wiping tears. So all you get is tears. That should tell you enough.
Maxx .06/20/06
very well done, Amy. This piece really grabs the reader. Good use of dialogue and scene. A winner!
Sally Hanan06/21/06
All your writing is so great Amy, but this one is above that level.:) Well done!
Jan Ackerson 06/21/06
Very, very good. The last sentence is a real gulper.
Rita Garcia06/21/06
I'm so thankful you are using your gift to glorify our Father. Great job!
Brandi Roberts06/21/06
This was really good. Having been through the Red River flood of '97, it really touched me - as well as with the relationship between father and daughter. Well done!
Val Clark06/24/06
Excellent characterisation and sense of place, Amy. Really good relational tension between the father and daughter, you showed her pain so clearly. Loved the end, some of us have to wait a long time to hear those words from our dads. Yeggy
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/15/12
I really enjoyed this. I think you did a wonderful job of building the characters. It was also interesting to read some of your earlier work. Even though you already were quite wonderful, the years have still made a difference in your work. I can see this as an encouragement to all writers but especially newbies. Hard work and continued writing does make a difference. You can keep improving even though you are a master and a published author. Your stories give hope to so many, I wouldn't have guessed 6 years ago that you had much room for improvement and you didn't really yet, there is a different degree of writing from then to now. You give me hope because if someone as talented as you can improve then certainly a mediocre writer like myself has potential too--if I only don't give up on myself. Congrats for being one of 400 most read stories! Hugs :)