The Plagued Parent

posts about surviving our children, the Baby Boomers who raised us, and everyone else with an opinion...

Flash Flood Warning

A rising wall of black water hits hard, enveloping and sweeping fast away all the carried things they lugged from the parking area three quarters of a mile up canyon.

The roaring rush scoured laughter and relaxation with silenced desperation and raging fear.

A father holds fast to his baby and a bending tree.

A mother is found but not a teen boy who reached deep for his cousin and two others.

Nine lay dead.

The experienced steady themselves and prepare to accept the worst.

A rescue worker vomits seeing feet protrude from a deep bank of muddy debris.

Eyewitness photo of Arizona flood this past weekend

A 99 word fiction for Carrot Ranch. The prompt was “an unexpected landing”.


A Note:
Yesterday, news broke of a flash flood that ripped through a popular recreation area in Tonto National Park in Arizona just north of Phoenix.
For whatever reason, I cannot shake from my imagination these images culled partially from online news reports and an NPR broadcast on Monday.
I write this fiction with the deepest respect and sympathy for the unimaginable loss endured by the families who went to a popular swimming hole to celebrate a birthday.
At times we become lulled and complacent by the relative ease with which our lives unfold that unexpected instances of pain and loss shock our souls of those who bear witness to suffering.





Updated: July 18, 2017 — 1:20 pm


  1. Wow. I can’t imagine.

  2. Where the prompt leads…
    I sorta heard about this in my no media time, but your words made it real and immediate as this is and deserves to be. It is not a sound bite; it is a prayer for the victims and their families.

    1. I’m glad that came across. The mere thought of being with my family and then suddenly having everyone and everything swept away in seconds proves terrifying. Thanks for readings and taking the time to comment.

  3. I can’t stop thinking about that either and you’re story brought that right to my mind. I remember when I was planning my trip in the southwest, there had been some flash floods and a couple, that left their teenager at the hotel, died in one of the slot canyons.

    1. Thank you Jennifer. I can only imagine what that poor teen must have been feeling sitting there in that hotel room.

  4. I thought you delivered this haunting literary exploration of a horrific unexpected event with great respect and realism. Two facts I learned about flash floods in the southwest during my time on Mars: first, their paths are unpredictable. You see this truth flying over the southwest in an airplane — fingerling channels cut like a tangle of tree roots across plains and down barren mountains because water does not always take the same path. Second, it takes very little water to create a flash flood. Enough water liquefies sand and clay and that’s why you can’t swim your way out. I have huge respect for flash floods, 16 people died not far from where we camped only two years before. Read Craig Childs’ book of essays on flash floods. He, too, writes with respect, capturing the horror and human tragedy.

    1. Thanks Charli. I have heard of Childs’ book and need some interesting non-fiction to read so I will definitely get it from the library. As always your prompts are challenging and appreciated.

  5. Ah. The strength we’re called upon to show at times.

    1. As I mentioned to Tony in an earlier comment, I don’t know where people find the strength to deal with such unexpected traumas.

  6. The fact that this happened with no warning; the idea of a flash flood there and to this extreme is almost inconceivable and wholly tragic.

    1. I could not agree more. I cannot begin to fathom how one deals with the psychological and emotional aftermath of such an event.

  7. So very sad. A striking reminder of quick changes and devastating tragedies coming uninvited.

    1. So very true. Thank you for reading the post.

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