Speed Writing #15 – Heatwave

  The power was out, as it had been for the last three days.  Caleb sat on the front steps, leaning against the railing and fanning himself with the lid from the largest Tupperware bowl he’d been able to find.  The neighborhood was smothering in the sticky silence of the second brutal heat wave of the summer.  Nobody on this side of town could afford generators to power fans and refrigerators, and it was nearly too hot to move.  For some of the city’s elderly folks, moving too much had been a fatal mistake.

 Transformers were popping faster than the utility company could repair them, and it had become normal to hear the big diesel trucks rumbling around the city at all hours.  They still had water, but even it was warm, and he had to keep reminding himself to sip the liquid to replace what he was rapidly losing.

  The house was stuffy and oppressive.  The front porch was marginally better; there was a hint of a breeze every so often.  It wasn’t much, but he suddenly found he didn’t really need a lot to be content.  Maybe it was the lack of sleep, or the fact that eating just made him feel sick, or it was the increasing certainty that nature really had it out for him, but suddenly life was a whole lot simpler.

He closed his eyes and focused on his breath, the only real sound he could pick up.

 An almost inaudible low rumble rolled in the distance, and he slowly raised his head.  The sky was still gray, it had tricked people into expecting rain for a week or more.  But there was movement in the clouds now, sluggish, like the city, but present nonetheless.  He stared into the sky, half expecting it to be his mind playing tricks on him.  A bolt of lightning arced across the sky.  Moments later, thunder answered.

He didn’t want to get his hopes too high, and given the lethargy, it was easy not to.  He simply sat and waited to see what would come of this.  It may just be a cruel tease of nature, or it could be salvation.

Time didn’t matter so much, as he sat and sipped his tepid water, fanning himself with his plastic lid.  Eventually the breeze picked up, and with it, the neighborhood seemed to slowly come awake.  Neighbors who had been hiding in their bathtubs or basements crept out onto their front steps and yards.  The pretty lady across the street, who Caleb hadn’t quite gotten the nerve to introduce himself to, settled herself on the railing of her front porch.

 There was a new tension in the air.  While he could hear a little quiet muttering, no one seemed too keen to break the silence.  It was as if they were afraid too much talk would turn back the shower they all desperately awaited.  It wouldn’t have.  Caleb could see that in the clouds.  There was too much power wound up in this storm.  Under normal circumstances, he would have been more than a little worried about the potential for devastation, but now he embraced even that.

 It seemed only minutes and the neighborhood was plunged into twilight, though true night was hours off.  With no streetlights, it felt eerie, like a ghost town.  Next came great gusts of wind.  That alone started stirring people up.  It wasn’t exactly cool, but it had a cooling effect on a sweaty body.  Then the fat drops starting to fall,  rare and scattered few before becoming regular.

 Caleb levered himself off the steps, raising his face to the rain.


Prompt: thunderstorm after a menacing heatwave and we’re both getting weird looks for dancing in the rain

Note: I’m still off my game from the cold apparently.  Never even got to the dancing part, which is a bummer.  It was going to be epic.

Speed Writing #12 – A Soggy Start

Morning dawned gloomy and threatening rain. The campground was filled with the nervous energy of people packing up as quickly as possible to beat the weather, or adjusting their tarps and rain flies to tough it out. By the time the first fat drops fell, those who remained planned to see it through.

Chai tossed a book and fuzzy blanket down on the couch of her motor home and went to put on the tea kettle. As she waited for the water to boil, she gazed out into the mostly deserted campground. There were only two tents left and herself. One of the tents was a high end enormous structure that looked well anchored down. The other, closer tent, was a tiny backpacker model designed more for weight and insect protection than severe weather. She frowned, wondering if its inhabitant was ready for a day long soaking which would surely seep through the light rip-stop. There was a green internal frame pack leaning against the closest tree.

Chai settled on the couch, snuggled into the blanket with her tea and book. She loved the low rolling thunder in the background and the gentle pounding of the rain. After a while, she set aside the book and closed her eyes to enjoy the weather.

She was startled out of her reverie by a loud crack of thunder. As she got up to refill her tea cup, her eyes were drawn out the window to the hiking tent. She felt her forehead furrow as she frowned. Water was ponding throughout the campground, and the tiny tent was surrounded. It wasn’t really warm enough to be comfortable thoroughly soaked. She understood the desire to be close to nature, but this just seemed too unpleasant.

Grabbing her umbrella and slipping on her hiking boots, Chai pushed open the lightweight side door and stepped down into the mud. “Excuse me,“ she called as she approached, hoping to be heard over the pattering of rain. “Is anyone in this tent?”

“Yes, I’m here,” a woman replied.

“Are you okay out here?” Chai asked. “It’s not that I doubt your abilities or anything, but I’ve camped in this weather before and was thinking you might be a bit wet.“

There was a shuffling noise of nylon against nylon. “Yeah. It’s more than a bit wet,” the woman agreed.

“Well if you’d like to get out of the weather, you’re welcome to join me,” Chai offered. “I’m your neighbor in the motor home, and I’ve got tea and cocoa.“

The zipper sounded as the woman opened her tent. “I’d love to.” She looked to be in her early thirties, and quite damp. “Is it all right if I bring my pack?“ She gestured to the tarp covered lump by the tree. “I may have something dry to change into.”

“No problem,” Chai said. “You can leave it in the shower enclosure to dry once you’ve changed.“



Prompt: “you’ve been camping in a crappy tent next to my really comfortable caravan/motor home and it’s been raining cats and dogs for ages, do you want to come in and have a hot cocoa to warm up?”

Notes: This was written in two chunks, the first started on a Saturday while waiting for my daughter’s dance class to wrap up. It was finished on a Sunday when I was sick and asthmatic. So my brain was less quick and agile, which may be apparent. I thought about not posting this, but figured it serves as an example that not every writing day is a good writing day, and that’s okay. It’s part of the process, and it’s true for any art.