Welcome to my weekly Wednesday Brief flash fiction entry! This is just a free piece of flash fiction (between 500-1,000) words based off of a prompt. I’m part of a wonderful group of flashers 😉 and I’ll have a link to a site where you can read other stories, after my piece.
The sky was a sickly green, the horizon and clouds tinged with yellow. Day had turned to night, the sun blocked out by thick black clouds. The wind howled, whipping the corn stalks back and forth, humidity making the air thick and viscous, clinging to exposed skin. Paint peeled under her fingers as she gripped the porch railing. Zoe leaned out over the railing, peering out into the expanse of black and shivered. The air had taken an electric turn, static rising the hair on her arms and the back of her neck. Thunder rolled, low and ominous.
She didn’t have to turn to see him–he was burned in her mind. Tall and imposing, arms heavily muscled, clearly on display from the cut off shirt. His eyes would be trained toward the sky, irises the same play of green and yellow. He had a serious case of bed head, and despite a strict regimen of products it stuck out at all angles. Dark scruff, cultivated and effortless covered his jaw, crept up his cheeks.
The one person she couldn’t have was the very one she wanted so very badly to taste against her tongue. His footsteps fell heavy and flat against the aged wood of the porch, the warm wood groaning under his weight when he leaned against the railing next to her. His hands were tanned and weathered, knuckles tattered from working outdoors.
“How bad do you think it’s going to be?” She asked, forcing her eyes to stay toward the brewing storm. Flashes of light illuminated the clouds, thunder chasing soon after.
“We should get into the basement. Wait it out until tomorrow.” Thane said.
“Tomorrow?” Zoe finally looked at him. His jaw was set in a harsh line, worry in his eyes.
He nodded, and jerked a shoulder toward the door. “Head on down, I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
“I can help, you know.” Zoe shoved her feet into a pair of dirty, unlaced chuck taylors. “You’ll be able to move the animals faster if there’s two of us.”
Thane didn’t answer her, instead he thumped down the wide stairs and started down the path to the barns and animal pens. Zoe jogged to catch up, and keep pace. One of his steps equaled two of her own. In the open the electricity was almost tangible, the immediate press of humidity a solid wall.
“This doesn’t feel right.” She muttered, struggling to pull her hair into a bun as the wind whipped the blonde strands around.
“That’s why I told you to go underground.” Thane said. They had reached the first barn, Thane pulling the heavy door aside. “Put the halters on the horses, and I’ll open the door. Take them two at a time.”
Zoe quickly slipped halters on the work horses, leading them down the concrete ramp to the underground, concrete enforced space. There they were given fresh water, food, and Thane had already spread a thick layer of straw on the hidden stable floor. She secured each stall door, before returning to the surface.
“Finish here, lock the door and meet me at the second barn.” Thane brushed past her as she took two more horses down the ramp. “Zoe,” He paused at the top, broad frame lit from behind.
“Yeah?” She called over her shoulder securing one of the horses.
“If the storm drops, stay with the horses. I’ll make it to the other barn. Don’t come out unless I come for you.”
“I know.” She pushed her bangs out of her face, wiping away the sweat that cropped up on her face. “Hurry.” She pushed the worry and fear down, dashing back up the ramp to fetch the last three horses. The overhead lamps swayed and shook, the power staying due to the underground generator. One of the larger male horses shook his head, shifting uncomfortably, pressing against the stall door rather than going in.
“Come on…” She tugged on the halter, scrambling out of the way when the horse finally entered the stall. She secured the door, ran up the ramp, lowering the heavy trap door. The horses would be secure for two days, the underground hide away Thane’s idea after losing everything twice to the savage storms that wrecked their land. She secured the barn door, and took off at a hard run for the second barn.
Lightening arced across the sky, thunder booming split seconds after. “Shit, shit shit….” She muttered to herself as fat rain drops started to splatter onto the dry ground. The scent of ozone and dirt filled her senses. She looked toward the sky, a familiar shape forming in the clouds, the rolling mass of gray clouds mimicking the rolling of her stomach. She stood there, transfixed, watching as the anvil cloud formed, grew larger, heavier. It was a few miles off, but massive, the largest she had ever seen. One corner of the cloud extended, twisted, battered and buffered by the winds, extending, elongating forming a spiral.
“Zoe!” Thane’s voice carried on the wind. “Come on, we have to go.” She looked toward him, his body against the door of the barn, struggling to keep it open. A roaring had filled the air, dangerous and loud, wild. Debris and grass lifted, swirling in mini dust devils at her feet. The spiral from the clouds had touched down, anchoring against the earth, growing in size as it spun faster and faster, the winds warping it into a monstrous twister.
Thane screamed at her. In the unnatural haze of the storm she could see that he was ashen and pale. A second roaring filled her ears, and she turned, her stomach dropping lower. Another twister had touched down, spinning larger and wider than the first. It moved fast, ripping up dirt and trees, swallowing the crops and one of the sheds that was in its path as it weaved along the flat ground.
She had run out of time.
Check out the other flashers! Show them some love. 🙂
Wednesday Briefs Flash Fiction Site
Chris T Kat
Julie Lynn Hayes