Kevin challenged me with
“Write a story that takes place entirely outdoors and includes a discussion of
a natural object or occurrence.”
Here is the photo from Ermilia.
“Hurry, or we’re going to be late!” said Roger, holding two folios under his arm while glancing back over his shoulder to Jenna, who was obviously struggling. She could tell he wasn’t going to wait for her, and mentioning her high heels wasn’t going to make him slow down. Why had she worn them today at all? She’d known they’d need to cross town to get from one court house to the other, a good ten minute walk through pedestrian-filled uneven sidewalks.
There was a stillness to the air. It was hot, and humid, making her feel more rattled than usual. She knew why she’d worn the shoes of course. “I’m right behind you,” she said in a fake breezy voice that belied her challenge, while dodging a pushy teenager who was listening to music so loudly that the guitars could be heard from a meter away. She hurried behind him, keeping to his pace but feeling a tiny hot spot appear on the top of her big toe, that pinched with every step. On top of that she had started to sweat. To provide a distraction, she allowed herself to openly gaze at his body, as she walked.
His arms were strong and muscled, the shape just showing through the long sleeved jacket of his suit. The clean lines of the tailoring showed off his broad shoulders, and athletic torso. Lowering her eyes she appreciated his determined gait, and started to wonder what it might feel like if she just grabbed his bum and squeezed it a little. Or had both hands on him, pulling him toward her in a heated embrace. Or …
“Oh no!,” Roger said, turning and stopping so abruptly that she ran right into him, feeling his solid chest and inhaling a heady mix of his scent – that seemed to rush through her cells creating confusion. She tried to look composed, stepping back a little. He didn’t notice. “It’s a T8 storm signal,” he said, holding out his iPhone to show her the glowing screen. As if on cue, rain started to sheet down and the sound of thunder filled the air. “We’ve got to try to beat the height of the storm. Are you going to be OK?” he said, concern filling his eyes as his gaze dropped to her shoes and back up to her face, making her shift uncomfortably from foot to foot.
“I’m going to be fine, but what about the papers?” Jenna said, imagining the reaction they’d receive from the judge if they tabled soggy papers, themselves soaked in rain. “I don’t have an umbrella,” she said, indicating her grey ostrich-leather office bag.
“I can run ahead with the folio, grab a brolly, and meet you back here,” he said hurriedly, looking at the sky. She’d not seen this side of him before. Caring, thoughtful and considerate. She knew him as the hungry go-getter, willing to do anything to get the deal done.
“That would be wonderful,” she said, and in the next moment he was gone, one hand shoving his phone back into the inside pocket of his suit while he ran, the other wrapped around the work they’d labored to finish over the past three months.
She slunk over to the shop window and felt her breath return to normal as she peered into the display of jewellery. She lifted her arms a little, and enjoyed the escape of heat. She liked the princess cut diamond, in a cluster of smaller gems. She imagined what it might look like on her hand, second finger from the left. Or in a box. In a box, being held by Roger, who was smiling at her. Holding out the box, on bended knee, imploring her with his heart-stopping eyes.
Lost in her thoughts, she didn’t notice that the sidewalk on her side of the street was all but completely empty. She turned from the shop window and felt something cold on her feet, and looked down to see that water had already risen to cover the cement, and gushed up in a fountain instead of running down a nearby drain.
The sky darkened purple, then black, and rumbled ominously. She noticed lights come on in the office towers across the street, as if it were night. She felt a peculiar sensation in the air, and noticed that her hair had started to stand up on her scalp. She could smell something strange too, and tried to remember when she’d smelt that scent before. Inhaling deeply, she saw a white flash of light in her mind – the photocopier. Ozone. Her ears started to buzz and she felt an unusual warmth. A siren rang through the air and car horns sounded in the distance. Water continued to rush over her feet. She decided to stop waiting for him and get inside. She could see an open cafe on the other side of the street, but she’d need to dash 20 meters uncovered to get there.
She stepped out into the rain, and it immediately soaked right through her cotton blouse making it stick to her body. She tried to run, but the strong current of water caused her feet to feel sticky, heavy and slow in motion. Her skirt wouldn’t allow her knees to bend high enough, so she had to walk, a well of water rising past her calf. Suddenly she dipped in the road, and her shoe caught on something. A loud ‘BOOM’ resonated through the air and she looked up to see a giant flash of lightning, forking into not one, but 5 streaks of power through the sky, seeming to make land right at the office tower. She screamed, and tried to budge her foot, but it was stuck. ‘BOOM!’ rang another penetrating bass crash, and she saw the blue fork at the same instant, less than a meter away. “Ahhhhhh!!” she cried, pulling her foot out of the shoe, only to fall into the watery road, splaying the contents of her office bag into the stream. ‘BOOM’ the sky bellowed, and she saw nothing but light.
Smoke. Light. Everywhere blue. Green. Buzzing. Water, streaming, gushing. She drifted up above her body and saw her form lying in the middle of the road. She watched the agonized faces of those who could see her from the cafe. They were crying, screaming, hugging each other. She could see another figure approach her body through the rain, and then she was tunneling down a slippery dip, a million miles an hour, feet first.
The sky was concrete and water. Feet walked through, leaving no footprints in the watery clouds, until her mind registered that she was upside down. Whispered voices attached to misty faces arced in front of her, looking right into her eyes. She felt her waist held steady by strong arms, light everywhere, weightless and free. She drifted between flying, and an awareness of a body that covered her like a skin. In the distance she listened to a beating drum thrumming in a rhythm she had heard a million times before. Voices.
“Jenna? Jenna? Are you O.K?” It was a good voice.
“Damnit, I shouldn’t have left you!” it said, pained. She became aware of her hand. A warmth surrounded it, that reminded her of sunset. The glow of amber across the horizon.
“Jenna. I’ve been wanting to say this for a long time now,” the voice continued. “I’m in love with you,” he whispered gently. She knew that voice. She liked it. Could she open her eyes?
“Don’t leave me now…,” she heard. A sniffle, and her hand felt more pressure.
“Don’t leave me Jenna,” he sobbed.
She strained against the light, ignoring the crowd behind her eyes that questioned her. She pulled with all her power, feeling herself stretch into a fine line as she flew across golden fields of wheat, over an entire lake of shimmering water, growing thinner and thinner. From deep within her essence, she felt an orb float upwards in a pulsating glow, resting behind her eyes.
Colour filled her senses as she snapped her eyelids open. Misty, impressionist painted people drifted before her until one face, so close she could smell his cheek, focused.
He smiled, and planted a gentle kiss on her cheek, relief written in his eyes.
Roger, she said to herself, wondering if she was dreaming.
He loved her too?
Why don’t you check out Sir’s response to my challenge “The restless waves curse over the rocks, and the sea is the colour of my sorrow”.