Three days and nights of solid rain and the ground disappeared.
Luckily they’d built a boat and were riding things out more or less in comfort, though the cramped cabin life grated on all their nerves. The women gathered together under the eaves and picked fights with each other to relieve the monotony; the men just avoided everyone as much as possible, preferring exposure to the elements over company.
Day twenty. Another ship. Greek by its markings. Shem, on watch: “Ho there, what news?” Old man and woman, mild-faced, waved from the aft deck.
“None! No land, nor people either until just now. Mother and I were beginning to think we were the only ones left.”
Japeth laughed, teeth oiled and flashing in the sunlight. “We came through it somehow, anyway, though it was a close thing a couple of times. How are you for supplies?”
The old man spat over the side. “Getting pretty lean, but I suppose we’ll make out all right. We’ve got assurances.”
The Old Man came out on deck, his weak eyes blinking in the light, wrists loose with the wine. “Sing praises,” he mumbled. “The raven didn’t come back.”
“Any trade, stranger?” Ham, the curious, the enterprising.
“None, I’m afraid. We made it away with only enough supplies to keep Mother and me alive and a double weight of stones for ballast. The bones of the earth are our only company, all our progeny. Count yourself lucky, who have weathered the storm with your family still by your side.” His tone was mournful, but his face was still. Quiet.
“All gone,” said the Old Man. “Carried away by the waters behind the doors of the earth.”