Sendoff for a Snitch

Sendoff for a Snitch by KM Rockwood

Book: Sendoff for a Snitch by KM Rockwood Read Free Book Online
Authors: KM Rockwood
behind it.
    The direction I was heading was away from the river, on higher ground. In my neighborhood, steep streets led down to the water. Downtown, with the county complex and the churches, was fairly flat, and then the town rose gently through neighborhoods with nice houses and a view of the river. The new high school was beyond that.
    As I approached one of the railroad underpasses, a couple of cars were stopped at the edge of a big body of water. Someone driving a big 4WD SUV had driven into the flooded area and stalled. People think because they’re 4WD, they can go anywhere. But they’re just machines, with limitations like any machine. Big, expensive machines.
    I stopped next to a bus shelter, where another gawker had tried to get out of the rain. The bench inside it looked just as wet as the bench outside.
    Water continued to surge into the flooded underpass, swirled lazily around, and continued into a dark tunnel under the embankment beyond. Trash can lids, a lawn chair, tree limbs, and other debris bobbed on the surface.
    In the little bit of time I stood staring, the water rose to the window level of the SUV. I hoped the occupants had gotten out and waded to safety.
    No such luck. The front window on the passenger side rolled down, and a woman’s head and shoulders emerged. She inched herself up so she was sitting on the door, her legs still inside.
    Was she going to climb out and try to wade out of the water?
    A few cars had stopped at the edge of the water. The driver of one got out and shouted something to the woman, but I couldn’t pick up what he said, and I doubted she could, either, over the sound of the pounding rain and the rushing water.
    I stepped over to the man. He had on an expensive overcoat. It was probably as soaked through as my grungy jacket, but had cost a lot more. He had to have a cell phone.
    I leaned close and raised my voice. “She needs help. You gonna call 9-1-1?”
    He looked stricken. “I tried. It’s busy.”
    “9-1-1 is busy?” That shouldn’t happen.
    The man shook his head. “I’ve tried a few times. I just can’t get a call through.” He looked toward the stalled vehicle. His voice rose even louder. “Oh my God! She’s got a kid in there.”
    Sure enough, the woman was wrestling to shift something from inside the SUV and through the window. It was a toddler. She finally got him—or her—free of the window and hefted the child onto the roof. We couldn’t hear much, but he was struggling and crying. When the woman got him deposited up there, she ducked back inside and came up again, this time shoving an unwieldy car seat through the window and upward.
    She finally got it heaved up on top and struggled herself to a half-standing position on the door frame.
    The water was still rising, coming precariously close to the window opening.
    Scrambling up on top of the SUV herself, she gathered the child and the car seat to her and looked pleadingly at us, panic in her eyes. The thin fabric of her shirt was plastered to her shoulders and breasts. Her hair hung in strands to her shoulders. She must be freezing.
    Somebody had to do something to help the little family. Surely a first responder of some sort—police or fire rescue—would arrive any minute.
    If one happened by. Or someone managed to get through to dispatch.
    I glanced around, but aside from the apparently futile fumbling with a cell phone, no one was inclined to try to do anything to help.
    There would be assistance just a few blocks away, where I’d been turned back. It shouldn’t take me more than five or ten minutes to hurry back there, and less for them to get here, since they’d be driving.
    A big tree branch hurtled down the street, carried on the torrents of water, and slammed into the side of the vehicle, moving it a foot or so.
    Ten minutes might be too long.

Chapter 7
    I tossed most of the stuff I was carrying onto a bench by the bus shelter and fished out the clotheslines I’d just bought. Maybe

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