Writing Fiction posted June 2, 2020


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A middle-aged woman prepares for an approaching storm.

The Approaching Storm

by sherrygreywolf


The storm was coming closer and I gazed around the home I'd lived in for most of my adult life. Surrounded by huge ancient oak trees, the porch spread all the way across the front of the sprawling farmhouse. My grandparents had lived here when my mother was born and after their deaths, I'd moved back to the family homestead. It was here that my kids had grown to adulthood. As I looked around me, I remembered watching my grandpa turn the crank to make homemade ice cream and helping my grandma pull weeds from among the dozens of rosebushes. I remembered the volleyball games played in the backyard and the dozens of dogs who'd shared the place over the years. The house had seen its fair share of birthday parties, weddings and even a few funerals, one of them my husband's three years ago. He, as well as my grandparents, now rested in a family cemetery at the back of the property.

I walked out into the yard and breathed deeply, smelling the sweet scent of the flowers and herbs that filled the front yard. They, like so many of my neighbors, were oblivious of the destruction heading their way.

In my sixty-plus years, I'd been through storms before and weathered them all. But I felt in my bones that this one was going to be different.

When it began appearing on our nightly news, I'd known it was building strength as it blasted its way across the country. I had hoped its fury would be spent before it reached my peaceful little corner of the world. But it appeared that my fervent prayers had fallen on deaf ears and that God had no intention of intervening to save me from destruction.

I had done what I could to prepare the house and property for the fury heading its way. The gas had been turned off at the meter. Heavy shutters were closed to protect the ancient wavy glass of the huge picture windows. All doors, except for one, had been locked and covered with thick plywood. I didn't know whether it would do any good, but it was the best I could do. I placed my palms on the trunk of the property's largest oak and silently apologized that I could do nothing but send good wishes its way.

I was glad that I'd had the chance to talk to both of my children and the grandkids this week. The last I'd heard, they were all safe and I hoped they would stay that way. I'd urged them to come home, but it seemed it wasn't going to matter - even here the coming storm was going to wreak its havoc.

I walked through the house to the kitchen and grabbed a cold soda. I took several swallows, crushed the empty can and then reached for a bottle at the back of the counter. Several shots of tequila served to calm the quivering in my stomach and steady my shaking hands. As I began to hear the sounds of the rapidly approaching storm, I stepped out onto the front porch. Clouds of dust and smoke began to appear at the far side of town, heading in my direction. It would not be long now.

I walked back inside and gazed at the photos of my grandparents, my mom and dad and my children that covered the mantel over the fireplace. Reaching up, I removed one of the pictures of my husband, kissed it and folded it before placing it in my pocket. Sighing deeply, I crossed to the highly polished cedar cabinet and leaned my forehead against its cool surface. For a moment I questioned my decision to stay and then I turned the key in the lock.

The noise was increasing. I looked across the room, through the open door and into the face of the storm. It was time.

The rage of the mob had grown from the shock and despair of seeing a black man murdered by a white police officer and had quickly exploded into a rampage of bitterness fueled by over a hundred years of discrimination. The riots, fires and looting had resulted in the destruction of whole neighborhoods and cities across the country. And it was now outside my door.

I was dismayed by the needless death, and would have defended the protesters' rights to peaceable assembly and protest, but I did not understand why the mob felt it could, with impunity, destroy the lives and possessions of people who had nothing to do with the officer's horrible act. Though I knew in my head that my actions would make no difference in the outcome, my heart would not allow the senseless desecration of the land and home that my family had lived on and loved for more than five generations. My own personal protest would almost certainly end in my death. But mine would not be the only blood to soak into the soil tonight.

I reached into the gun cabinet, chose my husband's favorite hunting rifle and stepped outside to face the approaching storm.






Storm Approaches writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a short story where a storm is approaching. Minimum length 700 words. Maximum Length 4,000 words.

Recognized


The senseless murder of George Floyd has resulted in pain for his family and friends and a storm of rage across the country. But the riots and destruction of property need to stop.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.


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