The town is being flooded. The ocean is slowly rising in the east, water trickling forward in cracks in the asphalt and from ditches and canals slowly overflowing. From the west, a huge storm is sending nine-foot gushes of blue-green water over our town. As each wave crashes, the water gets closer from either side, slowly from the east, and in these breakers from the west. The sky above us was clear and blue, the sun was warm. A young man is with me, a year or two older than I am, with mid-length black hair. He is dressed in a very utilitarian garb; work boots, a black t-shirt, and jeans. He is very intelligent, together he and I are trying to decide how to escape, as all the other people in the town are either dead or panicking. The surviving people are gathered on the road with us, looking at the impending death coming from either side. I suggest that we may be able to head north to escape, and he says that at this rate, the storm waters may meet with the rising ocean before we get a chance to escape. Going south is out of the question, as the lower southern region has already flooded. I walk a few blocks north to see if we have been trapped, although the speed at which I walk is the speed I usually ride my bicycle at. The northern area is flooded, so I return to that small block where the surviving members of the town are gathered.
I said that we should find the highest ground possible, and the guy with the black hair suggests a recently opened mall, because it is the tallest structure on the highest ground in our city.
At this point I realize that this man is a repository of useful information. Any idea that I come up with, he provides information for. When I'm not running ahead of this mass of people, I'm following this man.
Another wave comes, and we run. It is larger, and crashes behind our feet. We get to the mall, and run inside. Like most malls, there are areas where the floor is raised three feet higher by stairs or a ramp. We run to this area, but someone tells us that the water is rising, and we need to get higher. The man and I seem to be on the same wavelength. We both run to a desk, using it to jump up and knock out ceiling tiles. He seems to know exactly where a ventilation shaft is, and that one side is not reinforced. I knock out the tiles on that side of the shaft to allow as many people to follow us as possible. They pile in behind us. The man with the black hair is in front of me. He says he knows of a vent that should lead to the roof.
We reach the vent that leads to the roof, and realize that it is too small. I slam the front grating out of the vent, but nobody could fit through. The man with black hair sits and pulls his legs towards himself. The soles of his shoes squeak against the metal. His arms resting on his knees, looking meditatively forward, realizing that we are going to die. I'm struggling with a parallel vent, but he acknowledges that it is useless. I look at him and know he is right.
Hindu cow, I thought.
I realize that I can't swim in this roiling, freezing blue-green water.
I realize that there was a fire escape ladder strapped to the pale peach stucco of the wall outside, that by running in here I've been trapped. I console myself in the knowledge that no matter where I was, I was going to die in this storm, that this is THE end, the whole state of Florida is gone. I look at this man and I realize that there is an element of myself in him, and vice versa.
He feels like an older, more experienced version of me.
The metal is growing cold. As people moan, curse, and die behind me, I wish that I would have gone to the roof, so that I could have at least felt the sun one last time, alone.
I wake up.
It should be noted that the newly refurbished mall in the dream is the abandoned mall that had recently been partially demolished. It is set to be rebuilt in a year or two. The mall is actually on a street two blocks south of the one that I was on as we scrambled to find a way away from the flood. As far as I know, the mall is actually on one of the lowest pieces of land in the city and prone to flooding in moderate rain, which is why it was difficult to sell and considered abandoned for a few years.