Every Bit of Thunder – Story

Another Short Story by Shorts Illustrated

artwork by Johnny McDaniels @fiddlinpig

Blinding rain buffeted my truck. Another tropical storm was passing through. I had stopped for gas, and a chance to stretch my legs. It would be sunrise soon enough. Alina had slept through the night. The placid face that could sleep… well, did sleep through a thunderstorm. The rain fell in surges that sprayed across the road, like someone was playing with a garden hose. I watched as the readout on the pump kept climbing past sixty dollars. Gas had gone up again. What was the point of all these wars in oil rich lands, if we were still paying through the nose for gas? Everything was annoying me tonight.

Streaks of lightening, accompanied by the sound of a cracking whip, tore through the heavy dark clouds, and illuminated the night sky. ‘One thousand one, one thousand two’ I counted to six, before a rippling roll of thunder dragged along the canopy of pregnant clouds from the Mobile River, and west toward Big Creek Lake. Like a fighter jet buzzing overhead, it rattled the roof of the gas station. The storm was not far away, as another flash from the heavens, worse than the last, lit up the docks at the Alabama shipyard. The glow from the lightening seemed to linger, reaching out its electronic tentacles in several directions. Rusting metal hulls that seemed right at home in this storm, sparked as the lightning struck one of them. They had weathered a lot worse. And so had I.

It was a reprieve to be out of the car. Sitting next to Alina, all I could think about was the reason for this nighttime drive to Florida. The things we did for our children, even at the cost of eternal damnation. I shook my head, my heart still conflicted. It was cold, and wet, the squally rain still managed to reach me as I snuggled between my truck and the fuel pump.

Five hours ago, we had left Beaumont Texas. Two people angry, flustered, but I was resigned to what she wanted. As she was prone to do since she was a child, the moment we left the driveway, she curled her legs up and fell asleep.  It meant I could no longer argue with her. Perhaps argue was not the right word, but I felt like I had not said what was on my heart. But I was committed to listening as a good parent should.

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