Hello, and welcome to another week of delightful and delectable snippets based on a word or picture prompt. This week’s word is writing. Thank you to all the wonderful authors in this group who allow me to participate. It’s truly an honor to be considered a peer.
In this week’s offering, I’m continuing, Hello Again. To recap: Charley, an English teacher with a penchant toward auto-mechanics, is on her way to a new job in Saskatchewan where she hopes she’ll be able to put the past behind her and move on. Her husband, Michael, was killed in a motorcycle accident six years earlier, and she still grieves his loss. RCMP Sergeant Bill Murdoch, a Metis whose origins are a mystery, avoids relationships and takes comfort in his job, one that is fulfilling yet dangerous.
So, here you go:
Charley looked in the rear view mirror and watched the darkness following her, getting closer far more quickly than she’d anticipated. Leaning over, she popped the CD out and tuned the radio, hoping to pick up a weather update, but all Matilda could offer was static.
Fat raindrops splashed down on the windshield. Pulling over to the side of the road, Charley reached for her cellphone, hoping to connect to the Internet and The Weather Channel, but the lack of bars doomed her.
Damn! No service. So much for forking out that extra hundred dollars to be part of the nation’s largest network.
She was still at least forty kilometers away from Regina, and there were no farms anywhere around her that might offer shelter and safety. The writing was on the wall. She wasn’t going to outrun this storm. Lightning flashed and thunder rumbled almost continuously, rattling the car as the rain increased in intensity. Sighing, she unfastened her belt, leaned back, and closed her eyes, prepared to just sit it out. The wind rocking the vehicle was strangely comforting rather than disturbing, reminding her of the evenings she’d sat on the porch swing in Mike’s arms. Drifting down memory lane, she was startled when the steady rat-tat-tatting on the windshield, was replaced by the hard the ping of hail.
Shit! Reality roused her. Black clouds, heavy rain, hail, this heat and humidity … What the hell was she thinking? She’d seen the damn news last night. This was the perfect combination for a tornado, and since there wasn’t much around taller than her car, staying inside like this wasn’t the smartest thing she could do. She missed Mike, but she didn’t have a death wish, and sitting in the car like this, out in the open, was suicide.
The Emergency Preparedness Guide Miri had insisted she memorize was clear. There was no perfectly safe thing to do in a situation like this, but, in the event of a tornado, if she could safely exit the car and get lower than it, she should. The hail and rain came down so hard, she could barely see through them, but there was a drainage ditch beside the road–no doubt one that would fill up with water, but what choice did she have? As the saying went, she was caught between a rock and a hard place.
She donned her jacket and reached for two of the pillows on the back seat, grateful she’d worn jeans today despite the heat. She opened the door and the wind whipped it out of her hands. Fighting the pull, she got out of the car, walked around the trunk, hanging on for dear life, and threw herself down into the muddy drainage ditch beside the road, placing one pillow under her head and the other atop it. So far, there was no accumulation of water, but at the rate it was coming down … Since she was so close to the car, it might provide some shelter from flying sticks and stones.
The golf-ball sized hail pummeled her body. No doubt she’d have a few nasty bruises when this was over. Maybe she’d made the wrong choice. Perhaps she should get back in the car and take her chances. Before she could act on that thought, something larger than a chunk of ice landed across her legs, sending a shaft of pain through them. She was trapped, pinned under what must be a branch–hell that had to be a whole God damn tree, and where had it come from? She hadn’t seen a tree anywhere near here. How would she get up, assuming she didn’t have a broken leg or something, when the storm was over?
The increased thunder warned her things were about to get worse. Without seeing anything, she knew the tornado was near her, maybe atop her. She heard a loud, low roar, and what sounded like metal clanking over and over. That had to be Matilda, caught in the funnel. Thank God she’d gotten out of the car.
More terrified than she’d ever been, Charley clung to the pillow over her head despite the sting of dirt and other debris ripping at her hand.It seemed to go on and on–she felt water moving under her as the ditch began to fill. She was going to die. She was going to die alone in this ditch—die the way Mike had when that drunk driver had hit his motorcycle and sent him flying into that rock wall.
The thought calmed her. I’m coming, Mike. Something hard and heavy hit the pillow over her head, and she spiraled into oblivion.
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