Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky. Stormy weather. Since my man and I ain't together, keeps raining all the time.
From Stormy Weather by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler
I woke early, during that time when dark is transitioning to dawn. A soft rain was falling. The drops were so light that I could just barely hear them.
I rolled over in my bed and stretched luxuriously. It had been a relatively cool night so I had slept very well. The summer heat in St John was intense most of the time, even at night.
Not yet fully awake, I curled up and sighed happily. My body wanted to go back to sleep and the sound of that lovely summer rain was lulling me back into dreams.
I smiled. I was happy. Happier than I had been in years. All thanks to St John.
St John had been so unexpected. I had no idea that New Orleans would call me like a siren. St John is my creation. Mine. No one else's. I poured nothing but myself and my love of New Orleans into it. I have not had a sim that was so purely mine since Caledon Carntaigh, which I had left at the end of 1908.
I love St John. I love its residents. Sweet, sweet St John.
I smiled again and started to drift to the sound of the rain...
It's raining. It's mid August. There is something...something I need to remember...
What is it....
Oh my God!
I leaped out of bed and ran to my desk. Oh God....! I started tearing through the drawers. No...where are they?
I found what I needed at the bottom of stacks of papers in the bottom drawer. Thank God I saved these. I tossed a packet of papers on to the desk.
It was a packet of telegrams. Telegrams I had sent from New Toulouse in 1910, 1911 and 1912.
Hurricane Adolphe. Hurricane Bernadette. Hurricane Charles.
I did not even stop to put on clothes. I yanked on my robe over my nightdress, grabbed the packet of telegrams, ran down the stairs and out the door of The Nightingale, heading for CC's house on Rue Arsenal.
CC had kindly taken on the role of St John's meteorologist as a part of her estate manager duties. My former weatherperson had been Captain Starling Alecto, but he was spending the majority of his time at sea these days. I knew CC would be ideal for the job. She would be able to gather the data we needed very quickly.
It was still barely light out when I pounded on her door. She was there in an instant, letting me in. The rain was still light, so only my hair was slightly wet.
"Gabi...what on earth...?, she said.
I interrupted her. "CC, I need you to check your weather instruments *now*! I need you to send a telegram to the U.S. Weather Bureau *now*!"
CC looked at me, alarmed. "You don't think....? But it's only sprinkling!"
"No, I don't think, I *know*. I can feel it."
CC learned years ago to take my "psychic Gabi vibes" seriously. She ran upstairs, heading for her instruments and I was right on her heels. CC is so smart and lightning fast when dealing with technology and data. I knew we'd have answers quickly. She sent the telegram to the U.S. Weather Bureau. The response was scarily quick. That was not a good sign.
"You are right Gabi. It's a tropical storm that is turning in to a hurricane."
"CC, please watch this. Also, "
I handed her the stack of old telegrams.
"I need you to send these. Some of the addresses have changed but I know you know all the current ones. I have to go. I have to go get Emma."
And with that I was dashing back down the stairs, slamming through the door and running up the street to the docks on the North side of Saint John Parish.
I heard CC's voice behind me. She was calling out her window. "Gabi! It's Hurricane Diane. That's what's coming. Diane!"
Bloody Hell. Bloody hurricanes, I muttered.
The rain was steadier now but still not strong. My robe was wet. I looked down. Bare feet. Lovely. I forgot to put on slippers, shoes, anything!
I grabbed one of the rowboats on the dock and started rowing like a madwoman out to Emma's island in Lake St John. The water was calm. It was just rain coming down, so I made it to her porch relatively quickly.
Emma responded to my pounding. There I stood, on her porch, completely drenched. My nightdress and robe hung dripping. My hair had escaped its ribbon and hung down my back, also dripping.
"Well, Chère", she said. "Ain't this an odd time for a swim?"
"I wish. I need your help Emma. We have Hurricane Diane headed right for us. St John has never been through a hurricane. Many of our residents have never been through a hurricane."
Emma nodded. "Alright then," she said. "I'll start emergency procedures right away."
"Excellent. Thank you," I said. "It's our first year with our own emergency team! We never had that in New Toulouse. The crew from New Babbage was always so wonderful to us."
"I've got this Gabi," Emma said with a smile.
"Of that I have no doubt sweetie! Let's do this," I said.
I hopped back in the boat and headed back to St John Parish. I needed to get the sandbags out on the wharf and to let the residents know about them...and the hurricane.
I sighed heavily.
St John, we are in for some stormy weather.
STEAMLANDS UNION TELEGRAM
SELENA ANANSI WINTERFELL
MOSSEVENO TENK NEW BABBAGE
TOTALLUNAR ECLIPSE STEELHEAD
DESMOND SHANG CALEDON
LUCIEN BRENTANO MARIKESH MONDRAGO
KLAUS WULFENBACH EUROPA WULFENBACH
HURRICANE DIANE APPROACHING ST JOHN LANDFALL IN NEXT 24 HOURS REQUEST ASSISTANCE ADVISE HEAVY CAUTION