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2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 13

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write about the weather.
Flash Fiction Challenge

How’s the weather where you are? Let’s use that as inspiration. Today, let’s write about something that includes weather.

Remember: These prompts are just starting points; you have the freedom to go wherever your flash of inspiration takes you.

(Note: If you happen to run into any issues posting, please just send me an e-mail at mrichard@aimmedia.com with the subject line: Flash Fiction Challenge Commenting Issue.)

Here’s my attempt at writing up a storm:

Chasing the Storm

There are three things I’m absolutely certain of as I stand over Ben’s grave:

  1. The storm is almost here; I can smell it coming, that hot-earth smell that’s almost metallic coating the back of my tongue.
  2. I am nervous, mostly because all the animals are gone, hidden away from what’s coming.
  3. I’m not that late.

As if on cue, Ben’s hand bursts through the loose soil on top of the grave, a pale claw caked with dirt. I grimace and plant my feet, snagging his hand in both of mine.

With the two of us, it doesn’t take him long to claw through the rest of the dirt, wriggling up and out onto the soft lawn of the cemetery. I kneel next to him, swiping rocks and dirt and whatever else from his eyes and hair while he hacks and coughs and grabs at my clothes.

“Relax,” I say, like I have any idea what it’s like to come back to life.

Ben seems to be thinking the same thing. He gives me the finger, shoving it right in my face. I sigh and bat it out of the way. After I tug him up to sitting, I hand him a bottle of water. He takes a quick swig, swishing it around and gargling with it before spitting it back out onto his grave. His breathing evens out while I take a handkerchief out of my pocket and wipe his face clean.

“You’re late,” he rasps.

“I’m not.”

“What time is it?” When I don’t answer, he reaches out and flicks my nose. “Thought so.”

“Learn anything?” I ask, hoping to derail him.

He takes the bait with a scoff and takes a large swallow of the water before recapping it. “Of course not.”

Our sister was always a trickster, but I never thought she’d be able to hide from Ben in the Underworld—that’s his turf. Not for the first time, I wonder why she’s hiding from us at all. I give Ben a hesitant smile, but he’s too busy squinting into the dark to notice.

“This is just like her,” he gripes. “When we actually need her for something, she’s flounced off somewhere out of reach.”

“I think she probably didn’t choose to die,” I say awkwardly. “Not all of us are necromancers. And she wouldn’t have wanted the storms to get out of control like this.”

“Mark my words, Key, this is all some sort of scheme of hers. I just know it.”

A drop of rain hits my cheek. I pocket the soiled handkerchief and reach into my bag. “Hungry?”

He snatches the carefully wrapped food out of my hand, not even pausing to see what it is before jamming it into his mouth. He’s always starving when he comes back; I’d always wondered why but never felt it was appropriate to ask.

A raven lands on Ben’s tombstone and screeches. Recognizing it as one of mine, I nod and flap my hands. It takes off again, into the trees. Is it sticking around to keep an eye on me?

“Wassit say?” Ben asks around a mouthful.

“Storm’s almost here.” I stand to kick all the grave dirt back into the weird, Ben-shaped hole. It’s a haphazard job, but it’ll have to do.

Ben swears and shoves the rest of the sandwich into my mouth. He tries to stand and accepts help from me when it’s clear that his body is still too wobbly. We make our way to my car, half-leaning, half-dragging each other. I get the locks popped and Ben into the passenger’s seat right as the first bolts of lightning start ripping up the ground around us.

“Key!” Ben howls.

I ignore him, pitching myself into the driver’s seat and gunning the engine.

“Goddess of Storms, what a laugh,” Ben snarls. “I’m going to Raise her when I find her, and then I’ll—”

“Relax.” I dump my bag into Ben’s lap and we’re off like a shot. Lightning strikes a telephone pole as we pass it, showering my little car in sparks and splinters. “We’ll find her.”

Ben huffs but stops his ranting. I turn my attention to the road in front of me and focus on getting us home, where lightning can’t find us.

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