Rudd’s ten-minute online search leaves him feeling sick. The reports show Beira drowning. He’s never seen anything like it. Now it is every map that shows the storm whirling inland from the Mozambique coast towards the border with Zimbabwe, and then on up into the Eastern Highlands.
Up to here. Right here. Rudd chews the edge of his thumb, heart accelerating. He checks the timings. This evening. It will hit this evening. He runs his hands through his hair. Don’t even think about it. Keep going. Just keep going.
He switches off the computer, pushes back the chair, and sits, hands gripped to the edge of table, fingers drumming.
Some of these guys will have seen this. Tonderai for sure. Who else? No comms up here. But no WiFi needed. This kind of news travels like smoke. Can’t stop it. So when they find out, will they care? These guys? Not a chance. Stop anything? Because of forecasts? Because of the weather? No way. Do they know how bad it is? That Steve guy will. Somehow. No wonder his brother’s not going to make it here.
Rudd stands up abruptly, and kicks the chair back in towards the desk.
These guys are gonna want to keep things going. So let’s do it. Make a plan when it comes. I’m not stopping this.
He pulls open the door and steps outside. He is almost convinced, but not quite. The news from Beira is still shaking in his head.
Those flooded villages. Whole families clinging to trees. Buildings flattened. Rooves ripped. Water stretching in every direction.
He steps out into the daylight and the door shuts with a thud behind him. Solid. Rudd notes its strength, and pockets the knowledge that the old core of the lodge should stand if the cyclone hits. He is not so sure about the new additions – the covered walkway, the roof over the dance floor. Vulnerable he thinks. Feeble.
Too bad. Just got to make a plan … if we need a plan. Just got to keep going. Better catch Tonderai. I think he said he’d be doing the seating.
Rudd steps from the verandah on to the grass. The day feels warm to him, slow and sulky. With a hand raised to shield the sun from his eyes, he scans the golf course below and sees Tonderai, arms full of chairs, under the palm trees on the edge of the green.
“Hi, how’s it going?” Rudd calls, as he walks down the steps to joins him.
Tonderai turns around. “Okay. We have enough chairs. Do you think this Father Norman will do the service?”
“I think so. He’d said he’d come over to find out more.”
“That’s good,” says Tonderai.
Rudd goes to the high stacks of seats to pick up a pile of his own. “How many of these in each row?”
“Ten, with a break in the middle for the aisle,” says Tonderai.
Rudd sets their white plastic down in a fresh arc, and then goes back to collect more. “The weather reports don’t look so good,” he says casually to Tonderai as he passes.
Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023
Hi Georgie, I’m not sure how much feedback you are getting in your story postcard, but I’m loving it! And so much in real time with the cyclone only just dying out in recent days (i think). My husband has been working in Tete for a couple of weeks, and the cyclone was heading directly towards him when he flew in, but fortunately for him turned north when 150km away. Not so fortunately for Malawi again 😦 Can’t wait to see how the story evolves, you are a wonderful writer! Xxx
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Hi Gillian – thank you so much! It means a huge amount to get your feedback, and am so relieved to hear that the postcards (even if you only get to read a few) are managing to hold your attention. I know it’s a hectic world out there. Also seems to be getting hectic on the weather front. The first draft of this story was written after cyclone Idai. It was bit like being haunted seeing these second-draft posts go up as Freddy caused havoc. The poor region. I’m not sure how the story will evolve – it does keep shifting! Thanks for reading and the feedback. Can’t tell you how much it helps 🙂 Hope your husband is home safe now Xxx