Thursday evening, fishing boats returned to harbor with stories and cell phone footage of lights underwater, out beyond the kelp beds. Local news ran two three minute pieces with the least jittery video, unanimously declared the phenomena to be evidence an algae bloom, and advised residents to avoid ingesting sea water.
One transient man serving as a temporary hand insisted he heard bells on the ocean, ringing in time with the lights. The local reporter nodded and pretended to take a note.
Friday morning one Miss Rosalie Turner failed to appear to teach her elementary school class. A small piece of flowered stationary was handed to the office staff, complaining of a sudden death in her remotely located family. Miss Rosie, at that time, was standing outside a slumped trailer handing the keys of her car to a youth she knew to procure substances for the high school kids, and several teachers. She declined compensation and walked the seven miles home.
Late Friday evening the tsunami evacuation sirens began to wail, and the emergency broadcast station was activated. Fire and police from surrounding areas arrived to direct traffic from the area. Residents were advised to take their pets, just what they could carry, and shut off their water and breakers. They were reassured that this was likely just a precaution. Better safe than sorry. Miss Rosie heard the sirens, but did not turn on her television. She watched the headlights of escaping families from the dark behind her living room curtains.
At one o’clock on Saturday morning, she went to her small backyard greenhouse, and began to pry up the wood plank floor. She had dug several feet by the time the police knocked on her door. As there were no lights, and her car was gone, they marked their sheet accordingly and left her crouching silent in the yard, watching them. Her car was found weeks later in a city where she would have had no reasonable business, as she intended.
The box under the greenhouse was plain. It could have come from any antique store that littered the coast. There was no lock and no clasp, but Miss Rosie did not open it. She had seen the contents once before, when she was a child peering through the staircase railing rather than being asleep in bed. Sometimes she would try to recall what exactly it was, but could only clearly remember her father and uncle’s faces, set and still looking down onto the table. They looked like her family, but there was nothing at all in their eyes.
At ten o’clock Saturday morning the last representation of authority removed themselves to higher ground. They noticed no malfunction with their communication system, but failed to receive a number of calls from the PTWC in Hawaii. Their staff could not find any evidence of a potential tsunami threat, and had no schedule for a drill in that area.
At ten thirteen Miss Rosie rose from the kitchen table and picked up her box. She left her house unlocked and the door ajar. It took only moments to walk to the park overlooking the sea.
All there was to do then was wait.
The original image is: imgur.com/mrFnueM