Saturday, May 9, 2009

STORMY WEATHER - Short Fiction

This short story is in response to

How it works: Raven supplies two sets of words (or phrases) to use in a piece of writing. One can choose the ten- or five-word challenge ---or combine both into a fifteen word challenge.

Ten-word challenge:
gentle spring rain, mammoth, soap opera, worry, bubble gum, garden gate, seizure, of Biblical proportions, paralysis, wrinkles
(Words from the challenge are in bold face in the story.)

I’m not sure if I will always do this, but I have chosen to continue with the same characters as I used last week, for my first attempt, "A Moving Moment."

Short Fiction

        After ten months of higher than average rainfall in our area, Hurricane Ruth headed up the coast, far north of the normal hurricane zone. This was not going to be a gentle spring rain. Parker and I had spent the previous evening rolling up the awnings and moving the potted plants, patio furniture, grill, and garden tools into the basement and garage.
        Midmorning, black clouds had rolled in. Then the troubled sky opened up. It sounded like someone had aimed powerful fire hoses at the house.
        I worked at home as a graphic artist. For two months, I had been preparing a major ad campaign for a bubble gum company. My worry was that the storm would cause a power outage, putting my project behind schedule. I worked on the computer all morning, saving my work every fifteen seconds in case the power lines went down.
        A little after noon, when it was already as dark as dusk, I allotted myself only twenty minutes for lunch. Between bites of a toasted cheese sandwich, I turned on the TV. I flipped channels, but there were no weather updates.
        I turned to a soap opera, the one I refer to as “The Young and the Rest of Us.” Suddenly, that slimeball Victor, who was in a hospital bed after a seizure, stopped in slurred mid-sentence, interrupted by a weather update.
        The reporter said. “Hurricane Ruth is a storm of Biblical proportions. Because the earth is already saturated to its limit, flash flooding is expected throughout the tri-state region. The Blue Heron River is expected to reach flood stage by seven this evening...”
        When we purchased our home, no one bothered to tell us that Maple Creek, only a block away, frequently overflowed its banks. Basements of homes a half block away were flooded occasionally, but luckily the water had never reached our house in the eighteen months we had lived there. After seeing the damage done to neighbors’ homes, we had opted for flood insurance, probably a wise decision.
        As I rinsed my plate, the wind kicked up. Looking through the kitchen window I discovered the garden gate whipping back and forth in the gale. I feared it would be pulled from its hinges.
        I searched under winter gloves, scarves, and hats on the shelf in the hall closet for my old rain slicker, flattened into a sheet of plastic wrinkles. I slipped it over my T-shirt and jeans, and ran into the yard with rope to tie the gate closed.
        Back in the house, I tore off my wet shoes and socks, and replaced my jeans, soaked from the knees down, with flannel pajama bottoms and slipped into fleece-lined slippers.
        I called Parker from my cell phone.
        “They let us leave early,” he said. “I thought I’d be home by now, but I guess everyone else left early, too. I haven’t moved one inch in the past hour. Every time it drizzles, everything gets jammed up. With this much rain, the whole city suffers from traffic paralysis.”
        I eyed the TV while he talked.
        “Hey,” I said. “A news truck is down the street at the intersection of Aurora and Washington. The creek is ready to overflow its banks.”
        “You’re breaking up,” Parker said. After some static, I heard him say, “...soon as I can. Love you,” before the call dropped.
        Within seconds, on the TV screen I saw a mammoth wall of water sweep the news reporter off her feet. Then the lights went out.

(Read the rest of this story in STORMY WEATHER Part2)
(©2009, C.J. Peiffer)


Dr.John said...

You write very well. I love it when the horrible words Raven gives us are worked seamlessly into the story. You do that so well.
I look forward to next week's episode.

Fandango said...

We hate rain. It keeps us from shooting fire. Your whole story causes fear in the hearts of us dragons.
well written.

bettygram said...

Good writing. You can feel the tension. Waiting to see if her husband is OK.

Dianne said...

seamless is a good word for your work

I loved 'the young and the rest of us' - that's priceless

the tension of waiting for a storm really came thru!

Jeff B said...

Nice hook at the end. makes me want to hear more of the story.

Nessa said...

Great job putting the words in a story. Can't wait to see what happens next.

Richard said...

It felt like I was there. Welcome to Wordzzle. I look forward to the next story.

Raven said...

As Dr. John said, well written. I love "The Young and the Rest of Us...' I hope the river behaves itself after it's initial burst of bad behavior, that Parker makes it home... that the story has a happy ending. Hopefully I'll find out next week.

gabrielle said...

Then the troubled sky opened up. what a beautiful line, filled with forboding. I look forward to next week's installment.

Stephen said...

It was a very realistic story of a atorm and a person's reaction to it. The situation at the end appears to have abruptly gotten a lot worse, with possible flooding ahead. A good cliffhanger.

Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA