“Tom!” Tiffani wailed as she chased after her older brother.
Grimacing not out of annoyance but dread Tom turned to face his little sister. Some might say that Tiffani was an annoying girl but Tom knew better. She used her cunning and had developed the perfect method that would make anyone say ‘yes’ to her by age eight. No one stood in Tiffani’s way when she wanted something. One look by her grandparents into her large soft brown eyes and they caved into whatever Tiffani wanted them to do. Her parents had little resistance to her charm either and often drove home wondering why the shopping bill was so much higher than intended. There had only been one successful in ignoring Tiffani’s pleas…
“Tom!” Tiffani wailed. Grabbing the taller boy by the arm she spun him around until he gazed down into her brown orbs. With every second Tom stared into them they shook a little as wetness brimmed at the corners.
“Tiff, come on! Lay off will you?” Tom grunted shaking her off.
“Tiffani I have to go to the market alright? Mom said we need supplies unless you want to sleep in five feet of water like during Hurricane Ivan?”
“No…” Tiffani muttered brushing her brown bangs out of her face.
The two walked the St. Claude Street of the 6th District admiring the waterways shining in the sun. They bumped shoulders playfully waving to passer-byers lugging bags full of food, blankets, and flashlights. However most people sat out on their porches relaxing in the late noon sun. Shadows cast across the dingy apartments and small houses while the tin roofs shuddered in the breeze.
“Do you think it will really be a 4?” Tiffani asked marveling at how relaxed everyone seemed. Mr. Johnson sat back in his rocker on the porch fast asleep without a care in the world.
“Nah I doubt it will be a 4,” Tom snorted tugging at the brim of his hat, “My teacher said that it would be like a 2 or 3. These weather guys always get the predictions wrong.”
“Yeah?” Tiffani asked rubbing at her arm. A cool breeze blasted against her face and she tugged down her sundress annoyed. For her sake she hoped it stayed a category 2 or 3.
“Mom I’m home!” Bill called out. The young teen sloppily threw his backpack down into the floor and kicked off his dusts shoes.
“Mom?” Bill called out again. The boy wandered into the living room stopping when he spotted his mother sitting on the couch with a hand to her mouth. Bill called out her name but got no response. Simone sat rigid staring at the television anxiously watching the weather channel.
“Bill, go upstairs get your emergency pack we’re leaving.” Simone said blankly quaking as she got up. Bill rushed to her side and helped her up wiping away the collection of sweat on her forehead.
“Mom? Why are we leaving?” Bill asked supporting his mother as they made their way to stairwell. Simone had never fully regained the use of her legs after a fatal accident during a hurricane years ago. A car was flung into the air and pinned Simone under it by her legs luckily Gordon had stayed with Simone throughout the wait for rescue. However after their parent’s divorce earlier that year this would be the first time Bill and Simone would endure hurricane season without Gordon.
“You know my teacher said it is only supposed to be a category 2 or 3.” Bill whispered helping his mother up the stairs gingerly. She muttered something incoherent and glared at Bill disapprovingly. Bill sighed and looked out the window at the peaceful skyline of New Orleans. What could go wrong in such a peaceful place?
“Mom!” Tom shouted dumping the groceries onto the counter. Tiffani squealed and ran to the phone eager to gossip with her friend Kelsey. At the grocery store the cutest boy had come to flirt with her much to Tom’s dislike. Even though she was fourteen the local boys were already starting to flirt with her and Tom being the good older brother that he was chased them all off.
“I’m up here!” Carley called out. Tiffani’s excited chatter could be heard from downstairs as Carley struggled to close a stuck window. The wind had picked up since this morning but Carley didn’t worry. She had lived in the 6th District of New Orleans for all her life and braved some of the toughest hurricanes the city had faced even despite the borough being twelve feet under sea level.
“Jorg! Help me close this damn window all the wind’s getting in!” Carley called out forcing the window to close the best she could. Jorg grumbled getting up off the couch and went to go assist his wife. Meanwhile Tom shook his head and strolled over to where Tiffani was lounging on the couch chatting.
Without a word Tom grabbed the phone and hung up. He could only laugh as Tiffani screamed in protest and tried to get the phone back from her older brother.
“Tom you butt give it!” She shrieked lunging for the phone. Tom only held it up higher causing Tiffani to miss and land on the couch with a thud. Scowling she crossed her arms over her chest and turned in the opposite direction with her nose in the air.
“Hey what are they doing?” Tom asked. Tiffani kept her eyes shut thinking it was trap and continued to pout only until she felt Tom get up.
“Toooom? Give me the phone I need to call Kelsey!”
The gangster stood with his back to her unmoving gazing out the window. He didn’t even budge when Tiffani threw her weight against him mewling.
“Tiff do you see that?” Tom asked motioning out the window.
“Do I see what?” She mumbled peering outside; what she saw made her heart stop. A tall woman walked the streets clad with a backpack and megaphone but it was the lanky black haired boy that made Tiffani squirm.
“Well hello sexy.” Tiffani smirked. Tom sorted out a laugh and pointed to the woman with the megaphone.
“Get out now!” The woman shouted panicked, “Get out now! Save your selves! You must evacuate!” With each shout the boy seemed to sink further and further into himself hunching his shoulders and trying not be noticed.
“So some crackpot is predicting dooms day? Big deal Tom, that is nothing new. However that,” She said thrusting her chin in the boy’s direction, “Is worth drooling over.”
Tom barked out a laugh, “You are such a slut. What would you do without me protecting you from all the guys huh? Run a whore house?” Tom teased shoving his sister in the shoulder.
Tiffani laughed following Tom back to the couch but not before stealing one last glance at the embarrassed boy walking the streets with the crackpot. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach and Tiffani shook her head plopping down on the couch to watch tv.
“Mom I don’t think this is necessary.” Bill mumbled picking at his arm.
“Don’t be stupid Bill of course it is. These people are right in the way of a massive wave if they stay. I’m telling you those levees aren’t going to hold forever. They need to be warned.”
Bill nodded and continued ignoring the strange glances as his mother continued to yell out warnings. Suddenly she yelped and collapsed to the ground. Bill knelt by her side rubbing her back and asking is she was all right. Simone merely nodded before struggling to get up again.
“I’m fine please.” Simone said reaching down for her megaphone. She continued to walk again still shouting out warnings to anyone who would listen but Bill couldn’t help but notice the slight limp she had in her step.
“Oh mom.” Bill sighed before chasing after her.