This is more of a scene than a flash fiction. Raw writing inspired by the storms that blew through during the night.
“Grandma used to call a storm like this a gully washer.” I scratched idly at his ears as I talked. My voice along with the physical contact seemed to calm him. A little. Maybe. “I remember when I was a kid and we sat out on the porch watching the rain. It was kind of amazing.”
I smiled down at Old Gus and patted at his side. “You probably wouldn’t have liked it, but I thought it was pretty cool. We sat in those rocking chairs and just watched the storm. It was almost like it was something alive.”
Gus settled at my feet and started snoring lightly. It was hard to say whether it was my narrative or the fact that the storm was letting up that finally helped him settle.
I woke with a start, disoriented; sure that the storm was picking back up. But no, Gus wasn’t back to whining, and there was no tell-tale patter of rain on the roof.
I wondered what had woken me, and realized it must be the crick I got in my neck from falling asleep sitting up on the sofa. I stood and stretched, careful not to disturb the still-sleeping hound at my feet.
I headed toward the kitchen to warm up a cup of coffee when I heard it. A scraping, tapping sound coming from the front window. A bird maybe? Something had gotten trapped out in the deluge.
I flicked the switch and opened the front door. Warm, humid air assaulted me, heavy with the loamy smell of wet earth. I looked left and right, hunting for what might have been the source of that odd sound. There was nothing obvious.
After a moment of hesitation, I stepped out to do a more thorough search. Something might be hurt out here. I’d feel bad if I found a dead animal in the morning that I might have been able to save tonight.
I walked the length of the long veranda, briefly pausing to push on the very chair I’d sat in with grandma all those years ago. The memory made me smile.
It was clear there was nothing on the porch, so I stepped down the wide stairs to look behind the bushes. A flashlight would have helped, but I didn’t want to go dig one out of the kitchen junk drawer.
Just as I was prepared to write the whole thing off to my imagination, I heard it. Something was definitely there, behind the rhododendrons.
I pushed the bush to one side to try and get a better look. Whatever it was must have been hurt. It didn’t dart out when I disturbed it’s hiding place.
“Great,” I said to myself. “It’s probably going to eat me.” I leaned in anyway, certain now that I could see what appeared to be a small furry animal, cowering.
“That may not be wise.” I jumped, yelping, and managed to get thwapped by the wet bushes as they sprang back into position. “I fear my … ah … pet may not appreciate your ministrations. He is not fond of this planet’s weather.”
I felt myself go weak in the knees as I struggled to comprehend the small body, large eyes, and green flesh of the being that stood before me.
He flashed what I assumed was a smile. “I fear the rain has disrupted our travel plans.”
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