Although the news bulletin confirmed her decision to evacuate, Elise didn’t want to hear another minute of forecasts, preparations, and predictions. Brad searched until he found a nice easy listening channel, and drove through the rain on surprisingly deserted roads. Apparently, the rest of the city heeded the warnings long before the Steiners. As the car ventured through the quiet stillness of the calm before the storm, the children slept, while their parents and grandparents sat in silence, looking out at the Louisiana wetlands bordering the interstate highway.
At one point, in their lonely journey, a caravan of paramedic units and ambulances passed them up, in the left lane Elise felt her flesh creep as she watched these people go by, imagining how frightened they must be, dealing not only with the pain and uncertainty of an illness, but also, their sole reliance on total strangers to fi nd a safe haven for them during the storm Each of those patients was someone’s mother or father, a grandparent, or a sibling, or, worse yet, someone’s child. “Thank you, God,” she whispered, again, and turned around to look at each member of her family, as though she had to make sure everyone was still there with her.