Part I. Family dinner

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It was nine o'clock in the evening. All members of Jane's big and versitile family gathered at the round dinner table. The heavy rain was drumming from the roof and sometimes it seemed to her that it would flood a front and a back yard, a small shed, a solitary driveway and in the end would creep into their house and wash everything away with the invisible but powerful hand.

"Jesus, just look what is going on outside, Gwen!", her dad said cheerfully. Today he was wearing his best light-blue shirt, which suited his fair hair, sparkling eyes of a cornflower colour and engaging smile. He was in the mood to find good  in every hardship even though the weather was obviously as dreadful as hell. Recently he had gotten promoted so that he couldn't hide that fact from everyone he met. He reported the news with the expression of pure rapture on his face, which at the age of 47 wasn't touched by a slightest hint of a wrinkle. 

Gwen squinted at her watch, then at her cell phone. "Strange" - she thought. "He must have forgotten to text me from the airport". She was in her mid forties but she managed to save her natural beauty and men always found her alluring even when she wore a robe or an overall with her working boots, which Jane called jokingly "shitkickers".

The table was laden with the choicest viands. Promotion had always been a special day in their family  -  it gave them a sense of dignity and exceptionality after all. Aunt Clare was bustling with crockery trying to settle down her two children, Meg and Tom, who were bothering everyone with their energetic games and importunate questions.

Jane looked out the window. All she could see were the blurry outlines of trees and suburb scenery, which seemed to drown in the wall of downpour. That picture reminded her of the world, which was flipped upside down and the sky took place of the ground. A sudden gust of wind knocked down smaller objects and gave Jane goose bumps. She noticed her mum look at the phone screen more often than usual. She even caught the faintest tremble of her hands. Her father was about to unscrew the bottle of champagne. Her sister and aunt were chirping about the latest village fair relishing all the juicy details of lives os their neighbours. Grandpa was skimming "The Sun" frowning a little. Suddenly this peaceful family idyll was interrupted by a deafening knock  on the door. Jane shuddered, a sudden bad premonition seized her heart which started hammering. She whispered: " Who on earth should be that human who was able to survive in such "end of the world" weather conditions?" 

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