I don't usually blog on weekends, but I happened upon the Weatherfest at A Little Slice of Nothing last night. Given that my current creativity challenge prompt is a storm, I couldn't resist.
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One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand. The trees trembled and the ground vibrated.
Sammie cursed. It was getting closer. No storms for two months, and the day she and Tex went hiking, the thunderstorms were right on top of them.
Sammie looked at the hillside, trying to find a good place to shelter. No hope for caves. These mountains were too young for that.
Nothing here would do. She scanned the hill on the other side of the stream and saw what she was looking for.
“Tex.” Sammie turned to look for him, but he’d disappeared. Unbelievable.
“Tex! Where the hell are you?”
Another flash. One one-thousand, two one-thousand, thr—
The thunder rolled across the mountain like a wave. As if on cue, rain began pelting down from the sky.
Sammie tugged her hood over her head and scrambled up the hillside.
“Here.” Sammie heard the call to her right. She found him lying in a ditch.
“What are you doing? Get up.” She grabbed his arm and tugged. “You’re going to get yourself killed.”
Tex pulled his arm back and shook his head. “Ditches are safe during storms.”
“Dammit, Tex, there won’t be any tornados. Lightning.” Sammie pointed up. “Think lightning.”
Tex half-rolled to see where Sammie was pointing. He scrambled to his feet.
“Don’t hide next to the tallest tree on the mountain,” Sammie said. She turned and headed downhill.
Tex caught up with her. “Where are we going?” She could hear the tremor in his voice.
She pointed. “There. Come o—”
The bolt of lightning was close. The trees threw long shadows before them and the ozone stung Sammie’s nose. One one-thousand, two—
Thunder hit like a sonic boom and made them both jump.
“Hurry!” Sammie said. They slid down the hill toward the stream, the ground slick with rain and mud. The stream was flowing fast, now: miniature rapids tearing around the rocks.
Sammie jumped across, landed on a rock, and slipped. Her knee cracked against the rock. Tex landed next to her and helped her up.
Limping, leaning against him, Sammie guided Tex toward the aspen grove.
She paused at the edge. Tex tried to pull her in. “We’re almost there. Let’s go.”
Sammie shook her head as she pulled off her rings.
“Take off your belt,” she said.
Tex stared at her. “What?”
“Take it off.” Sammie tugged the earrings out of her ears. “Do it, Tex. No metal.”
Tex fumbled with the buckle on his belt. His fingers were slippery from the rain.
“Here,” Sammie said. She undid the belt and yanked it free. She dropped it on the ground next to her mud-splattered jewelry. Then she shrugged out of her pack and left it, too.
Tex followed suit and they scrambled to the center of the aspen grove.
“Don’t sit, just crouch down.” Tex did as Sammie said.
Sammie’s knee wouldn’t bend. She stuck her injured leg to one side and crouched low on the other, head down to keep the rain out of her eyes.
Moments later, the world turned purple-white and Sammie heard sizzling. An instant later, thunder ripped the sky open. Sammie’s teeth chattered with the vibration that ran through everything: the trees, her bones, the mountain itself.
Sammie’s ears rang from the thunder. The scent of ozone was sharp, but as it faded, Sammie noticed a pungent note. Like a campfire. She looked at Tex, confused.
He was looking over her shoulder. “Fire,” he said.
Sammie turned to see flames at the edge of the grove.