Off in the distance there’s a storm brewing. Intense neon flashes cut through the looming black, and the sun hangs like a portrait in the corner of the world, its peach tint nearly beyond the horizon. Delicate reverberations drift from nowhere to here, the echo of underlying softness comforting and benevolent. Between gusts of cyclonic wind skating clouds across the sky, the iridescent glow of the fading sun is sometimes sallow, and others, a bloody red. Ahead, the dangerous black thing inches forward, and through the soft chimes dancing in the air come screaming thunderous booms that vibrate the asphalt beneath my feet. In the shadows of dying sunlight there’s a fuzzy static in the sky. Then it hits me. Clear specks cover my clothes in spattered, temporary stains. Sprinkling showers. Then, three-carat diamond size marbles of ice. Within seconds, the gust is so strong that its pulling air out of my lungs. Like sticking your head out of a car window going sixty, I’m gasping for air, and these marbles from the sky are pelting my skin leaving tiny, open welts.
Long ago there was a structure here. A sturdy brick box with a concrete foundation and crimped metal roofing. Over time, the mortar began to fail and, storm after increasingly violent storm, these healthy hunks of clay and concrete crumbled and withered from nature’s elements until it was nothing more than a skewed, tattered, two-foot-tall mausoleum. Now, it’s a pile of rubble and distorted sheet metal.
Glittering above me, the storm is at it’s peak, drowning the surrounding field, the ice ripping my clothes, and the wind stealing my air. Jolts of skin-melting electricity shoot into the ground nearby, and the soft, calming chimes in the distance are gone. So deafening is the storm that I try to yell, and it is nonexistent in the roaring thunder, like it was stolen from the same thieving wind that continues to take my breath. Looking back at the pile of rock that was once my shelter, the wind calms for only a brief moment, enough for a quick swallow of wet, chilled air that stings when it hits my lungs.
The sopping mound of stone sits silent, poker-faced, and stern, offering no tranquility or resolution. Opening my arms, I exhale as the last spark of lightning streaks across the sky, painting a single violet-frayed finger in the darkness that points exactly to where I stand.