Amazing Grace –
The El Niño Legend
It began on a misty low lying foggy hazy day again, the inland vapor clouds had moved inwards towards the empty shore where the remotely located pier was taken a pounding of the El Niño created waves creating a violent backlash of foamy water splashing and trashing its hurricane force waves against the aging and rotted wooden pillars of it long-stretched out structure.
In the distance, you can see the dimming sunlight set slowly on the western horizon of the Pacific Ocean where it touches the sands of these California shore lines that are usually overcrowded and for an unexplainable reason, abandoned and bare today as the waves began to crash into the shore more violent than before.
The arrival of El Niño was so untimely as Carl knew he had so much more to do before the drenching of the tropical rains settled in and create a soggy water logged landscape out of the grassland and mountains that have been starving for rain for over ten years now and dried out to its lifetime drought conditions that would welcome the precipitation but not without creating havoc and flooding in most of the low lying areas.
The weather forecasters have been over analytical of this upcoming storm, they predicted earthquakes, power outages, loss of lives and mass property damage. They said the streets would be filled with ten foot waters as people and animals float down the highways as carcasses without any life left in them.
A predicted apocalyptic event, El Niño was destined to become the zombie maker of the times as the waters were rising every moment reaching epic proportions in areas where water had been a stranger for decades up to now.
Who would have calculated the risks of such a storm? Who would have guessed the waters would rise so high, even the two story houses would be consumed and the rushing waters would cause massive mudslides all over the valley.
On this cloudy day, the world as we knew it was about to change. California, Baja Mexico and even parts of Arizona would soon be under water as the never ending flow of water coming out of the sky began to consume what was once arid deserts into lakes of earthly passions so long desiring rain and begging for such water-logged pleasures.
Nigh time on this day turned into a lifetime of sorrow. Judging by the rainfall this night was going to be more than an overcast event as the waterfalls nearby crashed their cascading water into solid retaining walls constructed to hold the muddy soils from reaching the streets and highways as boulders roll down the hills, tumbling and destroying everything it touches.
Whatever method those highway engineers used to solve the mud sliding and mudslinging problem was not working. The rains overwhelmed the cold stone concrete walls and broke them up in smaller pieces adding to the boulders rolling down with thunderous momentum of dangers.
Carl has sensed this disaster if it ever started raining in Southern California and had prepared himself and his family for such a calamity by building a bunker of steel and concrete deep inside one of the highest hills around his house as he chose to be prepared for the perfect storms lined up on the western horizon.
A natural disaster was simmering on the heated ocean waves and seeking landfall with a tsunami like generated chaos. Unreal naturally displaced forces created on the ocean floors were pushing up waves of tremors shaking the volumes of large intensely created seawaters up to the surface by underwater currents assisted by underwater volcanic activities making their arrival a Mother Nature’s disaster nobody could have properly prepared for in our time.
In the distance, the FEMA emergency sirens were wailing out a message that were ignored by so many masses before when the emergency broadcasts were tested on our television sets and nobody paid attention. Carl knew it was time for hell to come visit us all and the means to survive would be tested forever as greatly for the apocalyptic event predicted had begun.
Evacuating his house, he tried to notify his family and friends of the coming storm until his cell phone had no power or signal. The storms were destructive and tearing down cell towers all around the valley like match sticks falling creating a blackout of communications for some and darkness for many others.
The bunker had no windows except a peep hole made out of reinforced steel and bulletproof glass. A single view of the world outside him, Carl knew a disaster when he saw one and figured to draw his last breath inside this bunker so strong, secluded and hidden out of the view of many creating his own island of bare comforts while waiting out this storm.
Hours passed by as he kept busy with sporadic sudden pacing of the bunker looking for wear and tear on the walls of the bunker. This constantly checking and paranoid mode of operando was reaching nervous proportions as this walking and thinking was wearing him out. Peeking out of the bulletproof glass window, he saw the rains falling down like a surging and tumbling waterfall out of the sky.
The bunker was a large underground cave, carved and divided into five square rooms and all connected with reinforced lighted tunnels running off a huge emergency generator that had dual power sources available.
Carl had ingeniously designed a method of power for longevity in surviving any disaster or war, in both a traditional old fossil fuel gasoline method of feeding the power creating monster or by an array of solar panels, hard wired from the ground up above but hidden from plain view so those flying above the bunker could not see the power source and tracking it back to the sanctuary haven created to hide from the storm or those enemies who mentioned out oud they had voiced a wicked desire to take our country by force or nuclear power.
One of the rooms carved out of the cave was his relaxation room. A room where he could think and drink while he pondered his next move and deal with his adversity under this natural disaster made situation.
One would think Carl wasted his time creating relaxation room that he turned into his solitary sanctuary to allow him to relax and meditate with soft smooth jazz like music piped in the walls with a surround sound system that if pushed to its fullest, shake the walls with music that rocked the entire cave with a switch of a button.
Herein his sanctuary room, he created a pipeline of sophisticated antennas to the surface that allowed his cellphone to reach a signal if the carrier was still active and spreading the airwaves to accommodate users in the area for such service. In addition, he had hard-wired a digital television disc that received satellite programs from all parts of the world and space to accommodate his need for news and pleasures.
This bunker was better equipped than any fancy hotel could be. The sheets on his beds were crispy freshly laundered. The pillows and comforter bragging Oakland Raiders logos were soft like the clouds. His overindulgent spending for more than comfortable living had paid off for him over the years.
His room was breathable and relaxing just like he wanted it to be under confining and duress as well as anxious conditions on the outside of his other world, now under attack and where survival was his utmost concern.
Carl went over to the bar and poured himself a rarely thirst for a drink. Preferring the rum and coke combination, he softly swallowed a potion that gave him a chance to relax. As he looked up to see the large flat television screen he switched the input channels and watched the terrain surrounding his bunker as he had set up surveillance closed circuit cameras all around his cave, to see if there was anyone else out there looking for help or shelter.
As he turned to the different camera locations, he zoomed and panned each one to see if he could find some signs of life out there. The cave was well hidden with shrubbery and man laid stones to cover up any signs of construction. The roof was a natural mountainside carved from the inside out.
Suddenly as he panned one of his cameras he heard a woman’s voice shouting. Zooming in and looking intensely into the flat screen that was over 72 inches wide, he saw a face of a woman holding a child in her arms and looking frightfully lonely.
Maintaining his vigilance of this young woman with child in hand, he listened to her shouting. “Where are you Neil, stop hiding from me!!” she shouted. It was obvious she was looking for someone else who had strayed from the city streets and dwelled in the landscape where there were man-made mountains.
Unrestful eyes kept searching for life outside the bunker. Knowing there were at least three people outside his cave, made his wonder if he should breach the walls and doors and allow them to enter and share his sanctuary until the storms were over.
He knew his soundproof house could not be detected from the outside and hide his presence from the stranded woman outside with child in hand. His conscious was telling him to open his bunker like house to strangers but common sense told him of the dangers lurking outside with looks being deceiving as man, when desperate, can turn on you and take your life or property without blinking.
Irritated, Carl drew himself into a frustration fit and hit his clenched fist into the stone like walls. Feeling the instant pain, he looked at his red-knuckled fists as the blood slowly soothed out with a warmness he could feel as he stood there thinking about his next move about that woman being outside his bunker.
She didn’t hear him yelling out with pain, she was oblivious of his presence as she stood there, outside the walls still yelling and shouting for someone called Neil, and who disappeared from her sight and missing. He turned off the sound to the camera and sat there thinking.
What would the consequences be if he let her into his cave? How would he deal with this stranger and her companions? Would he feel like he owed them something or was he mistaken? The dilemma was too much for him to bear. He started drinking and decided to let time take its course and hopefully she would walk away from his mountain cave and find whoever she was looking for.
The rain kept falling down. The darkness was again falling. It had been a long day for Carl and he was thinking that perhaps all that he prepared for was an overkill and that the world was not ending and the woman he saw was part of a surviving group that had fled the city to find somewhere else to be as a darkened city without light can be dangerous to life itself and cause people to panic and start killing or robbing others under the cover of the blacked out skyline and street lights.
A sense of guilt had overcome him as every minute ticked off the clock. He kept seeing this vision of that woman with child in hand and thought about how sacred his conscious was and how scared she must be out there all alone and in the darkness. He could stand thinking about that woman. He didn’t want to hear her so he muted the sound and turned on his music instead but in his head, he could still hear her shouting.
Minute after minute, almost an hour passed when he decided to pan his cameras one more time and see if the woman had left his man made mountain. The music ended, the mind was focused on the sounds outside as he panned the cameras wide and looked for the strangers.
Although minutes seemed like hours, the drenching rain was still coming and the woman was spotted sitting under a tree that gave her and her child temporary shelter from the pouring rain. Again, his conscious was knocking on his mentally unimpaired mind – should he let her and the child in or should he ignore her.
Panning, zooming and taking up some close ups of the woman he could see how she was shivering from the coldness. Her skin had turned white like hypothermia was setting in and the child was crying. Now he could even hear them both crying as they sat there quietly outside his cave.
Her clothes were soaking wet, she had no overcoat and her skin was clinging to her body like a woman who had just competed in a wet tee shirt contest. He could see what nature revealed to be a most beautiful woman right outside his door.
For a sudden moment his mind wandered. Thinking back on those days when he was the wildest of a group of friends coming out of the Army, he thought about the last wet tee shirt contest he saw in a dark lit bar on the beach.
Surrounded by what appeared to be lingerie models dressed in white tee shirts and alluring transparent bikinis, he soaked up the rays of his younger days with the pleasures of tropical sands and women how had proven assets to be as some of the most beautiful creatures he had ever seen when spending his days at the beach.
A flashback had occurred and suddenly, Carl was back to reality. Harshly punishing himself for the moment of lust and passion driven by the thoughts and desires of the past, he glanced once more time through the lens of the camera that revealed a woman in a sopping wet garment that did little to cover her stunning figure as she shivered from the coldness of the mountain air and holding child in hand.
Stiffening with rage at himself, he decided to let her into his domesticated cave and give her warmth and shelter. He knew she could be a carrier of the plague of people who are consumed by the dead out there but looking at her eyes and watching her closely, he could tell, she had not been bitten and was not displaying any traits of the zombies that roamed the streets and highways, looking for someone to be eaten.
She showed compassion, a will to live, giving her child the comforts of her own body heat that zombies don’t have or possess in traits or manner. She reached out to her child and showed her love for him to the highest point a human being can display.
Surely there was no doubt this woman was human and not one of the undead but caution in the wind, Carl had to be certain before opening the entrance to his cave to strangers. He had witnessed a few radical and extreme acts of the undead in the war when he was overseas. His memory was vividly alive as he witnessed death and destruction by those animal turned once humans who roamed the isolated deserts and torn down war damaged cities with vengeance and lust for blood of those still living.
His eyes filled with tears. He could see her suffering and as he choked a little on his own emotions, he reached for his raincoat and boots to go to find her and bring her into his sanctuary where she could recover and dry up until the morning sun comes back out and give them all a new life and a chance to ponder over how to solve this problem that had found Carl’s cave without a single word spoken.