The story of a small town getting cut off, and the difference between being remote and being isolated. It was in part inspired by a prompt about people being cut off, and the idea of “Under the Dome” by Stephen King, which I never read, but had described to me years ago.
No one was worried when the small bridges around town washed out, it was a common enough occurrence. No one was even that surprised when the storm took down the phone lines, wasn’t the first time after all.
The day the main bridge crumbled under the continued deluge of rain, we all began to worry. There was no longer any way in or out of town, and with no signal up in these parts, and dial up Internet, we had no way of calling for help.
Even then though, the worry was low. The rain couldn’t last forever ,and when it let up someone could take a boat out to the nearest town and get help that way.
The rain didn’t stop though, it just kept going, and while we were high up enough we didn’t flood, it wasn’t safe to send for help.
I was a doctor at the time, and it took everything in me not to join in on the gossip. My questions, while relevant, would only cause panic. I had enough medical supplies for a pretty good duration, in part due to the coming winter, but I knew that Mr. Harrigan hadn’t gotten her delivery of winter non-perishables yet. So the question I had, the most pressing one of course, was how long until we ran out of food.
It was a question that everyone started asking a week later, when the power went out. After 4 hours a crew of us went around to the local stores as usual and collected the refrigerated goods to cook on the firehouse gas stove, but we didn’t have the regular party haul that we were expecting. In fact, due to the low capacity, we took the freezer items as well, and we looked at each other in silence and started to wonder what people’s home freezers were looking like.
Three days later I got my answer ,when we had the first riot over food. I used an embarrassing amount of my winter supplies patching up minor injuries, and in the end the town council decided that a boat would have to be sent, safe or not.
Eddie Gallager volunteered, and a group of us watched him sail off. Two days after that is was Pat Thomas. Then it Jonas Sully, followed Brett Spire, followed by Claire Metas. With each new launch and no word back, hope dwindled.
On the 40th night, the rain stopped. The holly rollers went bat-shit. I guess we should have been building an ark. Two days later the first supply boat showed, with line repairmen, food, and news of our missing compatriots.
Pat, Eddie and Claire would be back in a dew days, held on account of the weather. Eddie’s boat had bit it, but he would be coming back on Jonas’ craft. Jonas, who along with Brett, was in the hospital, from injuries sustained in the trip. They would be released in a week or so, and had agreed to make the trip back together in case of a relapse.
All in all it was good news, no one died, the bridge was rebuilt, the lines rehung, and then 43 people in our town for 200 packed up and headed out. I am not ashamed to admit that I was among them. The isolation had seemed like peace until it was no longer voluntary, and my yearning for the remoteness was washed away with the main bridge.
The town didn’t falter though, the story of the exodus following the biblical rain made headlines that went nationwide, and the population soon doubled. It’s strange, where some of us run away, there is always someone else running towards that same situation…