The Storm | The Inkwell Prompt #16

Image by FelixMittermeier from Pixabay

Hey everyone! Here is my story for @theinkwell's prompt for the week. You can find the prompt here! The event I chose for my story is a lightning storm that killed 4 people in Argentina on January 12th, 2011. It caught my eye because it didn't seem like something necessarily that significant to find its way onto a "On this Day in History" list. You can find an article about it here.

The Storm

“Those clouds are getting really dark,” Kasper said. “I’m getting a little worried.”

“We should be able to head back in about five minutes,” Julie replied, trying to reassure him that they would be out of harm’s way soon.

“...okay,” he said as he stared up at the nearly black sky. It had been a beautiful shade of blue not even twenty minutes ago. He had watched as the clouds rolled in and rapidly darkened in color, warning of an incoming storm. He had told Julie the second they had started to turn grey.

This time of the season was nothing to mess with. Kasper had heard many stories about storms that seemed to take on a sort of sentience. Unfortunately, they used that sentience to track unsuspecting people down. Lightning had chased people until they were either finally hit or made it to safety. Kasper hoped that they were just stories, meant to scare the youngsters. Judging by the faces of those that told him, though, he didn’t think they were just stories. They had all looked haunted, scarred, and scared.

“Julie, I really think we need to get out of here. Now.”

“Oh, stop it, Kas. You can’t actually believe all those wild tales.”

“It just looks really crazy up there.” The clouds had started to swirl slightly, making his stomach drop. On top of his fear, Kasper was beginning to feel annoyed. Julie hadn’t looked up at the sky once and she was completely disregarding his concerns. They always had this kind of power struggle just because Julie was two minutes older than Kasper. The joy of being twins.

“Just one more minute. I’m almost done and then we can just take the truck home. We’ll be safe in it. Promise.”

“Okay,” he sighed.

What felt like a lifetime later, Julie finally finished what she had been working on. By then, it had started to sprinkle rain. It was steadily picking up speed, though. Kasper was getting even more nervous.

The siblings piled into the old rusty truck. Julie got in the driver’s seat. She never let Kasper drive. She turned the key in the ignition. Much to both of their dismay, the engine didn’t roar to life like Julie insisted that it would.

“Shit,” she muttered as she pounded her fist against the steering wheel. “I thought for sure that spark plug was the problem.” She looked over at her brother, trying to look apologetic.

“I told you we should have waited until tomorrow. They’ve been calling for this storm for days.”

“I know,” she frowned. “I just thought I had it figured out and we would make it back in time.”
“At least we should be able to ride it out in the truck. We should be safe,” Kasper replied, attempting to make his sister feel better. Deep down, he was afraid that the truck wouldn’t be that safe. Sure the rubber tires should ground them to the Earth, but what if they didn’t?

“I’m gonna try one more thing,” Julie said. “You stay here and I’ll be right back.”

Kasper tried to say something to stop her, but she was out of the truck before he had a chance to even utter a syllable. He watched silently as she lifted the hood again and disappeared behind it. He stared anxiously at the sky instead, his knee bouncing uncontrollably. The rain was really coming down now. The rumble of thunder was coming their way. Kasper began to drum his fingers against the dashboard. He was getting impatient.

As a bolt of lightning lit up the black sky, Kasper rolled his window down. “Julie!” he yelled.

“I’m almost done, Kasper!”

“You really need to get in here before you get yourself ki--”

A loud crack of thunder cut off his sentence. Kasper about jumped out of his skin.

“Jules?” he called, suddenly worried that she had been hit by lightning he somehow hadn’t seen.

“I’m fine,” she replied, her tone obviously annoyed.

Lightning streaked across the sky, again. This time, the thunder was only a few seconds behind.

“The storm is too close, Jules. It’s not worth it!”

Lightning struck in front of the truck before Julie even replied. Kasper heard her scream. His heart was pounding in his chest, his hand on the door handle in preparation to go check on his sister. Before he found the willpower to open the door, the hood of the truck came slamming down, shaking the whole truck.

Julie’s face was pure white. She ran to the door, yanked it open, and jumped in. She was drenched to the bone and shaking. She didn’t say a word before she turned the key in the ignition. Once again, they were met with nothing but clicking. Julie kept trying frantically, hoping it would start.

Kasper grabbed her arm. “Julie, it’s not going to start. I’m sorry.”

She didn’t meet his gaze. Instead, she stared straight ahead, tears streaming down her face with the residual raindrops.

Lightning hit in front of the truck again, causing both of them to jump. The thunder was so loud, it shook the truck. Immediately after, another bolt of lightning hit on the driver’s side of the truck. Both siblings screamed.

Within seconds, another bolt hit in nearly the same spot. They stared out the window in horror. Maybe the stories had been a lot more than just tall tales.

Another strike.

Julie tried to get the engine to turn over again, her eyes as big as saucers. Still, it just clicked.

Lightning hit in front of the truck and right outside of Julie’s window simultaneously. Rain was beating down on the truck like hail. The thunder seemed continuous as the storm continued to attack them. It seemed determined to get Julie.

The world became incredibly bright around them. The storm became so relentless that there seemed to be no time at all between bolts of lightning.

Julie continued to try to start the truck, refusing to give up hope.

Without warning, everything stopped. Kasper and Julie sat completely still, not knowing what to expect next. The world seemed too still. They feared if they moved, the attack would start again.

They watched as the dark clouds began to dissipate. Little slivers of the bright blue sky began to peek through. Still, neither of them moved or said a single word.

“You were right,” Julie admitted once the sky was clear of the last black cloud. “I was stupid and I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Kasper said as he squeezed his sister’s hand.

Julie tried the ignition once more. To their relief, the engine roared to life. Neither of them said a word on their way home.

That night, the news announced four deaths caused by the storm. All of them had been struck by lightning. Kasper knew for sure now, the stories had been true. The storms were on the hunt.

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