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Unforeseen Effects

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The inhabitants of the third planet orbiting Sol, an average yellow star near the tip of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, were unlikely to be thankful for the blanket of elemental gases that wrapped their world. Of course, their lives depend on the three mile thick layer of atmosphere held in place by gravity -- but the dwellers on landmass surfaces typically do not think of what it is that they move through, much as fish do not think about water. 

The locals, who call themselves humans, were aware that their planet rotated, but were unlikely to know that the rotation of the planet on its axis created more than cycles of night and day. All humans associated Sol with warmth and energy but did not typically realize that the sun’s attention added energy unevenly to their shallow sea of atmosphere.

In addition, humans were usually unaware that the rotation of the planet twists the unevenly warmed air, spinning threads of atmosphere into currents and currents into yarns of weather fronts -- the rotation of the spindle of the Earth weaving complex systems born from the energy of the sun and the materials at hand on the planet.

Meteorologists, humans who study these systems, know that the air that contains more energy from the sun also contains more gaseous dihydrogen monoxide. Areas of the atmosphere with more of Sol’s energy contain evaporated liquid water, coexisting with the twenty-one percent oxygen, seventy-eight percent nitrogen, and one percent trace elements. The combination of water and air presses more heavily onto the surface, (and in the northern hemisphere) twist deosil, spiraling outward as Earth rotates, part of the tapestry of the sea of breath and life.

The air that is cooler, that holds less energy from Sol, holds less water vapor. The water condenses out of the gaseous state and lightens the mass of the atmosphere. There is less pressure pushing down on the surface of the planet where there's less energy.  In these areas, the dihydrogen monoxide vapor becomes solid. It presents as a cloud of unorganized solids, each individual crystal held aloft only by their individual minuscule mass and the quirk that solid water is less dense  than in its liquid state. These pockets of cooler air spin widdershins in the northern hemisphere, and curl in on themselves. 

The majority of the humans of Earth are unaware of these facts of life other than the meteorologists -- and the wizards. 


Monday, October 22, 2012

Nita Callahan yawned, sitting in the kitchen of her family’s cozy bungalow not far from the center of Hempstead Town. She had a cup of tea in front of her, and was sitting at the table with her wizard’s manual in front of her. Next to her manual was a pile of college applications, and she sighed deeply looking at them. 

Dairine came into the kitchen, and reached up for the instant coffee that Tom had gotten her hooked on, dressed with her backpack on her back. She set the kettle on to boil, and grabbed a banana and a cup of milk in between pulling out her insulated reusable coffee mug. Dairine threw a look at her older sister. “How’re the college applications coming?” 

Nita gave a half smile, knowing that Dairine was both interested in the process of what was happening and completely satisfied with it not being her problem at the moment. “It’s going okay,” said Nita. “I’ve got most of one of the essays taken care of and edited…” 

“If only you could submit one of your spells,” said Dairine. “Something that’s named after you already, you could just avoid the whole headache.” She had barely avoided speaking with her mouth full of banana, and then gulped her milk as soon as her words were formed. 

Nita rolled her eyes. “I’m sure that Tom or Carl has said something wise and incisive over the years that would put you into your place,” she said. “But I can’t think of what it might be.” Then the kettle whistled and Dairine used that as an opportunity not to respond. Dairine grabbed the steaming kettle off of the heat, and spun around to bring the water to her waiting travel mug. 

The whistle of the kettle had startled Nita, and the steam -- cloud like -- set off a deep sense of meaningful dread. This is silly , Nita thought to herself. I just made my own kettle of boiling water. Why am I getting second hand meaning now?

“I had a dream,” said Nita, finding herself talking before she had meant to. She expected some sort of sarcasm from Dairine, because when was Nita not having dreams, but instead Dairine looked up after she completed her twirl putting the kettle back and began dressing her coffee as appropriate, her face mild.   

“Any reason I shouldn’t go to Wellakh after school?” 

“I don’t think so,” said Nita, frowning. Maybe it was something about the way that Dairine made her coffee. She twirled her whole body while holding the kettle, creating a little whirl of steam. But why would that stand out? Spinning, hanging upside down -- that kind of sensory seeking behavior had been part of Dairine’s being since she was small. 

The beach , said Nita’s unconscious mind, unbidden, adding just a little bit of context to what she was trying to elucidate. Something tropical? That didn’t help in the least. 

“When’s the next application deadline?” asked Dairine, putting the lid on her coffee. She licked some of the coffee that bubbled up through the mouth piece, and then made a face and went to wash her hands. 

“I don’t want to talk about it,” said Nita, grumbling. “It’s more like there isn’t a deadline, but rather… all the in-state public schools want your application sooner rather than later so that you can get one of the spots in the incoming class…” She picked up one of her pens on the table, and began doodling in the margins of one of the draft applications, mostly swirling her pen around. 

“I thought you didn’t want to talk about it,” teased Dairine, who had briefly taken off her backpack to sit in a chair and tug on her shoes. 

“I don’t like this uncertainty,” said Nita. 

Dairine looked at her, deadpan. “You, Miss Precognitive, don’t like the uncertainty of the college application process.” She shook her head. “At least you have control over where you apply. As opposed to the other things you’re usually anticipating, which could come out of anywhere and be about anything.” 

Nita wrinkled her nose, laughing.  “Go to school, Dair,” said Nita, "I foresee you being late otherwise." 

Dairine wrinkled her nose right back, knowing that when she joked about her sister's foresight that she was going to take crap right back. "Yeah, yeah," she said.

She stood from the chair, holstered her coffee mug in the side mesh pocket of her backpack, and walked over to the trash can. "Ew," she said, pulling the trash bag out and cinching it shut. She held the bag away from her body, and navigated herself towards the back door with the garbage bag as far away from herself as she could manage. As she opened the door, she said, "Since I'm going to be late to biology, put a new bag in, will you?" 

 Nita rolled her eyes, slapped her pen down on top of her doodle, and stood to do just that. 

"Thank yoooouuu," said Dairine as she shut the door behind her. 

When Nita sat back down, she picked up her pen and looked at what she had doodled… it looked like a series of counterclockwise swirls with many arms. It almost might have looked like the Milky Way Galaxy, except that there was a void in the middle of the swirl. Like a hurricane.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dairine walked into the largest meeting room of the Nassau county public library network and was confronted with the largest group of wizards she'd seen since the Invitational -- but most of them were local. Most from the Long Island area.  Nita leaned in towards her, and whispered "Can you believe these kinds of meetings are common in Ireland?" 

Nita's closeness caused Dairine to shiver unpleasantly; Dairine preferred to pick when and how people came inside her personal space. While her sister was usually welcome for hugs and such, the whisper combined with the hubbub of the small auditorium caused Dairine's teeth to set on edge. "I don't understand why Tom and Carl didn't come to us like they did at the beginning of the Pullullus War," she whispered back. She did her best to modulate her voice and hoped she didn't sound angry. 

Nita shrugged and straightened and spoke in a normal voice. The change in volume didn't help Dairine's sensory overload, but at least her skin wasn't crawling. "I think because the catchment is bigger than just Tom and Carl." Dairine acknowledged this with a non-committal tilt of the head, but she didn't think that Nita noticed. 

At the same moment, Carl spotted them in the crowd and waved Nita over. Dairine stepped to the side of the door while Nita made her way to the front, greeting people as she went. Dairine leaned against the wall to the right of the door, watching Carl introduce Nita to various adults who were at minimum other Seniors, if not higher up the advisory structure -- the usual rigamarole since Nita decided to pursue studying in candidacy for being a Planetary. 

Dairine wondered what her younger self would've thought about her sister's ambition of becoming the highest ranked wizard on planet Earth. Eleven-year-old Dairine, pre-Oath, pre-Ordeal, would've thought Nita unworthy of the role -- she had thought of her sister as weak, unwilling to stand up for herself, and in need of protection. She shook her head at herself, as she knew now that that was far from the case. 

"The noise is bothering you, too?" Darryl said, settling beside her against the wall. They were standing behind the propped open doors, so they were protected on two sides.

Dairine summoned a half smile as she looked towards him. "Sensory overwhelm," she admitted. She surveyed the crowd, looking for familiar faces. Not many she recognized, but she spotted Kit near the front of the room, not too far from Nita. 

It was at that moment that the meeting was called to order, a woman in her late thirties taking the podium. Darryl winced when she tapped the microphone to interrupt the full roar of conversation.  Then, beside Dairine and Darryl, the doors were shut and their protected alcove vanished. Darryl pointed with his head down the wall, and Dairine nodded. They moved down the wall to one corner of the small auditorium. 

"Good evening, cousins," she said in the speech, and the room became quiet. She continued in English, at least for a moment, and Dairine identified the accent as Bostonian. "If you're not sure who I am, I'm the Regional for New England." Dairine raised an eyebrow -- Nita was right about the catchment. "My name is Katherine McGeoghan. As you're likely aware, this past Monday a trough of relatively low pressure air over the western Caribbean sea rapidly developed into Tropical Storm Sandy, which made landfall today in Cuba as a Category 3 hurricane." 

There was no large scale reaction in the crowd as she paused, only a few people making commentary with their neighbors. The Regional nodded to someone who hit the lights. She began speaking softly in the speech, directing reality to her will, to bring up a display that would illustrate what was happening -- and why they were all there. 

Soon, two maps of the East Coast of the United States appeared on either side of the podium, each with a projected path for Hurricane Sandy. The speaker gestured to the map on the right. "This is the current forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association," she said. "It's predicting what we normally see for hurricanes that approach the Eastern Seaboard -- that while it may follow the coast for a while, Sandy should turn right and move out to sea." 

She turned her body and pointed to the other map. "On the other hand, the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather has forecasted since Tuesday that Sandy 'will throw a left hook' and 'aim for a K.O.' somewhere along the coast of New Jersey and New York." The Regional smiled and looked at the front row. "Should've asked you to say that in your Brooklyn accent, Tom," she said. 

"Boston's fine," said Tom. There was laughter and a general murmur, and then someone spoke up. 

"What does wizardry say?" 

Dairine rolled her eyes, anticipating the answer. Though she smiled at the idea of Bobo suddenly showing up to speak for themself. 

"Atmospheric science --and wizardry--  is dependent upon observational data," she said. "And if you were to construct a weather prediction wizardry for this particular situation -- which has been by our Weather Modelling Working Group -- you end up using a lot of the same data that was collected and interpreted by the ECMRWF, and you end up with a similar result." Dairine caught the tension in the room. A direct hit of a storm of unknown strength to New Jersey and Long Island was… 

"Are we using the standard mitigation plans?" someone called out.

"How is this going to be different from Irene?" called another almost simultaneously. 

The Regional, Katherine, sighed. "You may recall that Irene hit at high tide, and while we anticipated that the storm surge plus the tide would cause flooding of the MTA, that disaster was missed by inches. While the data is incomplete regarding the formal strength of the storm when it arrives, we do have some strong foresight" (Katherine nodded towards the front row where Dairine could see Nita stiffening in her seat) "that the storm will be large when it arrives, in addition to the anticipated landfall happening at high tide." 

Nervous noises and shifting started happening around the room, but Katherine forged ahead.  "Due to the large number of variables, and thus the inability to predict if our actions could worsen the outcome, we are going to be using mitigation rather than prevention. The forecast shows that Sandy will combine with other storms as it approaches, and the resulting… excuse me for this… the resulting frankenstorm…" 

As the crowd tittered at the word, Dairine stopped paying attention to Katherine. Darryl had pulled out his wizpod and had begun scrolling through storm related information. He tilted the screen towards Dairine and said, sotto voce, "It looks like the cause of the 'left hook' is this 'block.'" 

Dairine looked over and interpreted what she was seeing. "So, it looks like there's a high pressure system -- good weather -- over Greenland, and it's keeping the hurricane from going out to sea." 

Darryl pointed to the map that was on the extended screen of his wizpod. "It doesn't help that there's a cold front coming down out of Canada through the Midwest. It's kind of… pinching the Hurricane."

Dairine consulted Spot, snuggled in his leather bag, who was nonetheless listening. Out of curiosity , she asked, what would the points of intervention be to let this sucker turn out into the Atlantic? 

A short silence occurred, and Dairine appreciated that even Quicklife needed to think sometimes. Analysis suggests that the high pressure system in Greenland as the primary cause, Spot opined. A successful intervention to turn the storm would require the high pressure system to be resolved, so that the prevailing westerly wind across the North American continent is able to push Sandy out to Sea.

Just then, the main presentation caught Dairine's attention again. "And as much as this pains me to do," said Katherine, "I'm pleading with all of our minors to remain local beginning two days from now for the duration of the crisis. Those of you who cannot be forthright with the adults that are helping you manage your life cannot be separated from your caregivers when we're potentially facing evacuation and sheltering. As much as I want you and your power supporting our mitigation strategies and learning from the experience of older wizards, if minors are perceived as missing during the crisis moments, we risk diverting resources that should be focused elsewhere."

Dairine groaned to herself. Two days from now, she was supposed to be with Roushan, working with the sun simulator. Now she was going to have to stay home just so that she could be counted, on the off chance that a police officer or someone would ask her dad where she was? 

"Bummer," said Darryl. He rested his arm holding the wizpod on one leg, and the other leg bounced at a rapid rhythm. 

"Last thing," said Katherine. "You'll be getting assignments from your Seniors and Advisories via the manual on your role in the mitigation strategy. Go well, cousins." 


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Since travel was limited -- not exactly prevented, but there was a sense of dread about attempting it -- the Saturday before Sandy made landfall found a small crowd at the Callahan house. Carmela, Dairine, Nita, and Kit were sitting in the TV room, each with a book or device in front of them while Carmela also controlled the tv, finding the most interesting things on all of the alien channels. 

Dairine was using Spot like a regular laptop, fingers poised above the keys, even though her attention was on the TV. She almost didn't notice when Kit's messaging alert went off. 

"Hey, Darryl," said Kit. "I'm here with Nita, Dairine, and Carmela. Do you need privacy?"

"No, it's okay, your Kitness. Can you help me with this analysis? I… don't like what I'm understanding and I'm hoping you'll help me figure out I'm wrong, and how I'm wrong." 

"What are you talking about, Darryl?" asked Nita. "We'd be happy to help, but we need more context." 

"It's worse than just the storm surge and the tide," Darryl said. He paused here, emitting a low groan. Without warning, the mode of communication switched from verbal to transcription of mental monologue. "Overwhelmed, maybe meltdown, sorry. Words hard. Verbal impossible. Sending what I'm seeing." 

Nita looked at Dairine and shared a small smile, a little grim. In retrospect, a lot of Dairine's behavior in grief was meltdown related. 

Soon, the page contained a location reference, a wizardry url, and Dairine directed Spot to pick it up. The wizards in the room began looking at diagrams and descriptions of the incoming storm. Carmela leaned into Dairine's display, since Nita and Kit were already cozy. 

What began to become apparent was horrifying -- because of the angle of Sandy's approach (nearly perpendicular to the shore), the wind speed (plenty strong), the speed the storm was moving along its path (slow), the tidal forces -- the storm surge and tides would almost certainly flood a lot of southern parts of Hempstead. Most importantly, the town of Baldwin, where Darryl lived, was going to be flooded. 

"Darryl, Cinnamon Roll , I'm so sorry!" said Carmela. "Are your parents listening to the warnings?" Darryl was significantly younger than Carmela, but when her flirting was pointed out, Carmela defended herself saying that she was treating Darryl exactly the same as all the other male wizards she came into contact with and she did not discriminate.

"I can't," said Darryl's transcription of his thoughts. 

"You can't what, buddy?" said Kit. 

There was a long pause before Darryl's voice came over the communication connection again. He had calmed himself enough to talk, but was clearly still upset. "My parents are fretting about how I'm going to react to going to a shelter. I'm so angry that my home, my safe place, is going to be damaged if not destroyed. I have to do something about it," he growled. "That One is going to hear from me!" 

Nita looked at Kit, and then said in her gently reasonable voice, the one she used on Powers, or those related to Powers, as Darryl must be as an Abdal, "This is a very subtle working of entropy, Darryl. I don't think that you'll be able to find where They are working in all of this." 

Dairine swallowed, empathy engulfing her, knowing how much it hurt to face the destruction of something you depended on, and to feel powerless to stop it. "Don't forget the travel ban," Dairine reminded him. 

"I'll just bilocate," said Darryl. His voice was angry, but the nature of his power as unwaveringly good meant that his anger took on a self-righteous quality. Dairine was reminded of the oft-recited idea -- just because something was good didn't mean that it was safe. 

"I thought Tom and Carl asked you not to do that anymore?" asked Kit. "Isn't there concern that your power levels post ordeal won't support it?" 

"My power levels haven't changed," snapped Darryl. 

"What are you going to do?" asked Nita. 

"Turn the storm," said Darryl, and suddenly he was out of contact, the connection severed, his name graying out. 

"Where did he go?" said Nita, flipping through her manual. 

"How is he going to do that?" asked Kit, just as frantic. 

"Guys," said Dairine. Everyone looked at her. "I know where he went." 


They used Carmela’s closet to get there, but she declined to follow, thinking that even good weather where they were going was still too cold for her taste. When they caught up with Darryl, they found him laying out a large spell diagram on the ice of Greenland. 

It was much larger than any one wizard would be able to implement himself, but that didn't seem to bother Darryl.  His mouth was set in a frown, doggedly drawing out the spell diagram -- one that had been taken out of the Manual wholesale. It had been created in a different hemisphere, for a different biosphere, by a whole intervention group. It wasn't the exact solution Darryl needed -- but Dairine could see that he had chosen one that seemed similar enough

Nita, stepping carefully over the spell diagram, came close to Darryl in the center of the spell. “Darryl,” she said softly, “You can’t do this.” 

“A spell always works,” said Darryl, as short and curt and… angry… as any of them had ever heard him.

“A spell that’s constructed to take into account all the variables, to describe the exact outcome -- and that you have enough power to run always works,” said Kit. “But we’re not here to help -- we’re here to take you home.” 

“Why bother,” said Darryl, his body bristling with barely harnessed energy -- both physical and wizardry. “I won’t have a home in just over 48 hours.”  

“You don’t know that!” exclaimed Nita. “Flooding doesn’t necessarily mean destruction..” 

Dairine crouched down by the outside edge of the spell, and watched as Spot skittered around the outside, evaluating. What do you think , asked Dairine, silently. 

The basic premise of the intervention is sound , Spot answered. But editing needs to occur

This isn’t something that he could do himself, is it? Dairine wondered. 

Spot reported, Evaluation of Darryl’s spell composition ability, even with the assistance of his wizpod, shows that he would struggle with some of the finer points as outside of his area of expertise. 

Dairine considered if she was aware of Darryl having an area of expertise. He seemed to be someone who, like Nita, had a very broad range of interests. What about the power? She asked. 

He can handle the power , said Spot. It is one of the side effects of his role in the world

Dairine noticed that she barely had any twinge of jealousy when Spot said that, and she wondered when she’d matured enough not to be jealous of others whose power levels outshone her own -- or that had not dipped as much as her own levels had post-Ordeal. But why would she be jealous of Darryl? He had his own role in the world by merely existing. 

And when she thought about that -- the role Darryl had of merely being good, inspiring good, and channeling good… she thought about how unfair it was that something so bad was about to happen to him. 

And that’s when Dairine decided that Darryl deserved to get to protect his home. Run the analysis we need to correct the spell, Dairine ordered. 

It was then that a mild voice spoke, in a Scandinavian accent. "Did you not think I would notice that an unauthorized intervention was taking place in the context of a highly observed weather system?" 

Because they recognized the voice as Irina’s, the four of them all froze to the spot and very slowly turned towards her. 

“In addition,” Irina continued, “did you not think that the Eastern Seaboard Area Supervisor and specifically the New England Regional had not set up flags for travel for legal minors out of the area -- especially in the area set to be most critically hit?" 

“Why does it have to be critically hit?” demanded Darryl. “Why does my home need to be flooded and damaged when we can move the storm, by ending this high-pressure system blocking the movement out to the Atlantic?” 

“And I suppose that you’re planning to do just that,” Irina observed, her voice hardening. Dairine suspected that Irina had begun mildly with the hope that they had a valid explanation for what they were doing -- despite all appearances to the contrary. And she had just had all of her worst suspicions confirmed. 

“We were trying to stop him,” said Nita. Her voice quivered, just a little. Dairine knew how much she looked up to Irina, and how Irina had been coaching Nita. 

“He just got so upset,” Kit pleaded. 

“Had you considered the rate at which the storm might move away from the Eastern Seaboard and out to sea?” said Irina. Darryl froze, and Dairine’s blood went cold. Irina couldn’t have any idea of what she had been thinking. As far as Irina could see Dairine had only been part of the party that had arrived to stop Darryl. But Dairine knew.

“If this high pressure system were to suddenly dissipate,” Irina began, “Hurricane Sandy would be pushed out to sea. But instead of a sharp left turn into New Jersey and Long Island, Sandy would make an arch of a right turn -- and would likely hit Long Island more directly, Manhattan more directly.” 

“It would make it worse,” said Darryl, and Dairine watched as the fight drained out of him. 

“We’re already sure that the Manhattan Transit System will flood,” said Irina, not pulling any punches. “But an intervention of the type that you are laying out here would make what is likely a devastating amount of flooding into a catastrophic amount. It would certainly threaten the oldest and naturally occurring worldgates in North America.” 

“What I cannot believe,” Irina continued, “Is that you have not learned from the multiple conversations you have had with Tom and Carl and even myself, Darryl.” She shook her head and crossed her arms, and Dairine couldn’t help but think of her son, Sasha, who was going on three and how good Irina already was as a mother’s scolding. “That you continue to be impulsive and irrational.” 

Darryl looked down at the ground, and Nita, standing nearest to him, reached out to gently touch his shoulder. He didn’t pull away. “Come on,” said Nita, “Let’s clean this up.” 

Kit joined them in the clean up. Dairine came to stand next to Irina. 

They were quiet for a moment, and then Dairine spoke. “I came at first to stop him,” Dairine confessed. “But when I got here, I decided I would help him.” 

Irina remained silent for a few moments, and even though Dairine tried to study her face she couldn’t seem to figure out what was happening in Irina’s mind. 

“Why did you change your mind?” asked Irina. She didn’t look at Dairine, still watching Nita, Kit, and Darryl clean up the scene. 

Dairine looked at her shoes. Spot skittered over the ice and she picked him up, hugging him against her chest. “It’s hard to be neurologically different,” said Dairine, softly. “Wizardry has its own rewards, but it seems so much of the time that being neurodivergent doesn’t have rewards. It’s hard to be in crowds, it’s hard to concentrate when I want on what I want. It’s hard to feel safe. So I empathize with what Darryl was thinking. His home is about to be damaged. Maybe destroyed. He’s probably going to have to stay in a shelter for some amount of time. He wanted to keep himself from that pain. And I wanted to help him.” 

At the end of her speech, Irina turned towards her. “You didn’t need to tell me that you had intended to help him,” Irina pointed out. 

“Honesty is more than speaking the truth,” said Dairine. 

“Disaster,” said Irina, “has two opportunities. First, to react. And then to overcome.” She sighed. “This was the reaction,” she said. “Now you will need to decide to overcome the disaster.” Dairine wasn’t sure of how to feel about that pronouncement. Irina continued, saying, “You continue to surprise me, Dairine Callahan. You continue to do unadvisable things with the purest of intentions and the best interest of someone else at heart. But be careful. Sometimes easing pain may be preventing growth that needs to happen. It’s complicated, this universe with entropy inside of it.” 

Dairine couldn’t help but think that it would have been easier if Irina had yelled at her. 


Monday, October 29, 2012

On Sunday, October 28th, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano had ordered the voluntary evacuation of the South Shore Storm Surge area, which did include Darryl’s home. And Darryl, guarding life, reassured his parents that he would be okay in the shelter, that it was okay to leave their home, that they could collect the valuables and irreplaceables, and that they could live. 

The schools in Nassau county were closed on the 29th, and Nita, Kit, and Dairine were forced to stay at home as the sky darkened and the rain began to fall. Darryl spent the day with his parents, securing their home as best they could and packing up their car with everything they could fit. 

At around 8pm that day, Hurricane Sandy made landfall just north of Atlantic City, New Jersey. As predicted by wizards and meteorologists, the three days of hurricane force winds perpendicular to the shore along with high tides flooded streets, tunnels and subway lines. Power was lost in and around New York City. 

NYU Langone Medical Center, the Hospital Kit’s mama worked at, canceled all non-emergency procedures in anticipation of the storm. As in many crisis situations, all hands were available at the hospital -- and that was important when the back up generators failed, and the entire hospital needed to be evacuated, including the intensive care units. 

In the end, one hundred thousand homes flooded, including Darryl’s. 


Friday, November 2, 2012

“Did you know that they declared Sandy gone?” 

Darryl, startled to hear a familiar voice in the classroom at Nassau County Community College where his family was sheltered, turned around. He had heard Dairine’s voice even with the industrial ear muffs he wore on his ears to keep the constant noise of humans gathered from grating on his nerves. “Yeah,” he said. “Broken up, into other smaller weather systems. What are you doing here?” 

Dairine patted her leather bag, Spot’s favorite traveling-incognito spot. “Came to volunteer at the shelter by providing entertainment for the high schoolers who might be around -- i figured Spot and I could arrange a movie night.” 

Darryl grinned. “Can we do Star Wars?” 

“How can I say no to that?”