Saturday, August 14, 2010

Weatherfest entry

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. 

* * *

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.


  1. Reminded me of some dangerous storms I saw back home in Arizona out in the desert.

  2. Hi,

    Nasty weather, that's for sure, the characters getting a rough time of it. The cliffhanger ending a real tease: fire! But, that's good author lure - must read on.


  3. "He was looking over her shoulder. “Fire,” he said"

    That gave me chills.

    Wonderful entry!


  4. That was great, Alison. Palpable tension. As in, I actually feel physically tense now. Thanks! I also liked the rare observation of mountains being "too young" for caves.

  5. I like the beginning. It's fun to see something like that used to set the weather scene of the story. I've done the counting before and probably will do it again. :-)

  6. Ted: This was based on the storms I experienced growing up in Colorado. I've been lamenting the boring weather in Berlin, of late.

    Francine: I am tempted to keep writing on this, to see what happens next. There are a number of rather nasty things that could happen, and I'm curious how Sammie and Tex will get out of it.

    February Grace: Thank you!

    Franklin: Thanks. I'm glad to hear it had the intended effect.

    Dawn: Counting is the one thing that keeps my kids from getting too frightened during a thunderstorm. We had one the other day (they're rare here), so it was on my mind. :)

  7. Alison, this had a feeling of truth behind it. I see you have experienced something like it. I felt the tension. Great work..:)

  8. L'Aussie: My experience wasn't nearly this dramatic. My mind is quick to think of possible scenarios when I learn something like thunderstorm-survival techniques. So I ran with it. :)

  9. That was so well written! Your sensory details were so vivid...the zone, the mini rapids around rocks, the fire...awesome job!

  10. your description of the lightning and the thunder and how immediate it was, is really well done and you left us with a great hook at the end!

  11. I'm curious too Alison. Is this a WIP? With recurring characters? Wow, this was vivid, intense, realistic, and mysterious. I'm ready for the rest of the story.


  12. Raquel and Amalia: Thank you!

    Donna: It's not a WIP, although I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I wrote it. So it may develop into one. Or maybe into a short story for the Writer's Digest Short Story Competition. I'm glad you liked it.

  13. I think you struck just the right tone and voice. Very well done! I was feeling that electricity on the back of my own neck.