“Listen, June, I’m not going out there with you.”
June blew a hair off her forehead and turned, shoulders hunched. Plunging her hands back into the soapy water, she picked up a plate and glared out the window. Pregnant and anvil black, no less than three thunderheads congregated over the house. She dared the storm to begin, willing the lightning to strike as water splashed onto her feet.
“Jesus Christ, June! You’re getting water all over!”
She turned, smiling through tight lips, and dropped the plate back into the sink. Stretching her arm for the towel, mouth twisting into a scowl, the first dry crack of lightning struck as she snatched it off the counter. The hair on her neck and arms stiffened. Her guts vibrated with the force of the thunder clap. A crash and the tinkle of breaking glass cut through the ringing in her ears.
“Dammit! Junie, can you help me clean this up?”
Dropping the towel to the floor, she opened the back door and glided outside, bare toes wicking through wet grass. The smell of fresh rain and ozone crept up her nostrils.
The lake stretched out in front of her. The corpse of a tree, the one from her old front yard, poked out of the surface. As the wind pushed the storm across the water, the waves rocked. Her mind’s eye saw the rotted, fish eaten cadavers of dolls and tea sets, waterlogged walls and floors, algae coating everything in a green sheen.
The lightning cracked again, pushing air up her nose and down through her ears where it met in her throat. Feeling mud squish up between her toes, June looked down and saw she’d made it to the shore of the lake. Water lapped over her toe nails. She wiggled them, digging into the wet, sucking earth. The corpse tree swayed with the current. The water pushed itself over her ankles and the lightning crashed again, the explosion of thunder following so close the two may as well have been conjoined.
A scream from inside the house followed close behind, and a sound like crackling firewood snapped and popped from the side yard.
She turned, orange light flickering in her eyes. Ozone, a sharp scent of burned air and singed nose hairs, mingled with fire smoke. From behind her the stale flat stink of the lake pushed against her like a wall. As she watched the fire from the lightning decimated tree creep toward the house, the rain began.
Not a light, refreshing sprinkle. Hard and heavy, the drops were nearly hail as they pounded the ground.
Turning back to the lake, she took another step toward the buried carcass of the old house. The surface of the water rippled, inviting. From her back, the wind pushed like a hand, caressing her shoulder blades. As she took another unbidden step, the wind pushing as the mud sucked and pulled, the light changed. She looked up. The sun peeked out as the same wind that pushed her broke the storm and shredded the clouds.
Soaking from the rain, feet encased in lake mud, she watched as the lightning moved on, blowing across the lake.
She sat in the water, mud and sludge soaking through the ass of her pants and oozing over her belt. Plunging her hands into the water, she brought out double handfuls of stinking wet clay and watched, tears mingling with rain, as it drained through her fingers and back into the lake.
I hope you enjoyed this little piece of flash. It was written based on a random photo (the one at the top) flash fiction challenge posted by Chuck Wendig over here on his blog. I have to admit, I was dealing with some pretty new feelings when I wrote this. It was an excellent outlet for them. A perfect time for a little capsule of story to come along.