The thing that always comes to mind first isn’t the how though, it’s the how much. Russell still does the math too: 15, 5,400, and 8,550. 15 inches a day, 5,400 a year, and 8,550 feet since the start.
We have no idea if it’s accurate. But it’s important to think about it, he says, because it reminds us to keep moving. I’m Tanner. Russell plucked me from the rain when I was two.
Fourteen years ago we left Philadelphia. As the water rose, we moved west, hoping the elevation would keep us warm and dry. Pittsburg, Indianapolis, Sioux Falls, Rapid City. Now we’re stranded on the islands in Wyoming. Russell thinks they used to be the Bighorn mountains. But we can’t go back now. There’s no warm and there’s no dry anymore. Just a rumor about a place where it isn't raining. So we’re going to try to make it—520 miles south to Leadville. But we can’t drift east, the Great Plains have become waterspout alley, a raging tomb of moving water.
Together we push on, surviving, heading to Leadville. But something is wrong with him now. He says it’s nothing. But his breathing doesn’t sound that way.
Exposure, pruned hands, and infection. But since, Rapid City, it’s the face eaters too. And the crack in the canoe that’s growing. And the ice I think I see on the water. Russell thinks it’s my imagination.
We cling to the last strips of the veneer. And each other.