The Gathering Storm

Story from Yorkton Story Slam 2019

Editor's Note:


Other entries from Story Slam will be published daily through until Oct. 23

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I was sitting outside enjoying my tea when a shadow fell across the book I was engrossed in. I looked up to see dark clouds. “It looks like rain,” I commented to my partner, Sam, who looked up and shrugged, “yep, I’d better go close the sunroof,” and got up and headed for the car.

I closed my eyes and listened. Everything seemed too quiet outside, no birds chirping, just dark clouds gathering overhead. It hot as hell.

Within minutes, it was dark outside. I got out of my lawn chair and wandered around the house to the front yard. Not a drop of rain had fallen yet and the air felt humid and heavy. I gazed fondly at the oak tree in the front yard. It had always been there and it gave me a sense of comfort to look out the window and see it standing tall. Right now, it was a bright beacon of green against the backdrop of the blackening sky. Sam came up behind me and said, “It’s going to be a bad one.”

“How do you know?”

“I have a sense.”

I laughed. “Oh, I forgot about your magical powers of weather detection.”

Sam just smiled and went inside. I returned to my chair and my book but didn’t get very far into the magical world of Neverwhere when I heard a loud crack of thunder. The wind picked up almost instantly and I felt the first drops of rain on my face. I sat back to watch it roll in, feel the rain, and watch the lightning streak across the sky.

The rain began to fall in heavy drops. Well, fall was not really correct, the rain was more being driven in sideways by heavy gusts of wind. I ran for the door, already soaked by the pelting rain. The wind made the screen door difficult to open and it slammed hard behind me as I slipped through.

“Wow, it’s really coming down out there,” I said as I toweled my hair off.

“Told ya,” was Sam’ s reply. I rolled my eyes.

I heard a bang. My lawn chair had overturned and blown across the yard, hitting the fence. My book was a lost cause, soaked with it’s pages blowing in the wind. Gusts of wind were slamming the house and the windows were rattling with every clap of thunder. The rain was coming down hard and I couldn’t see more than a couple of feet in front of the house.

Anxiety getting the better of me, I remarked to Sam, “better turn on the tv.”

Sam flicked it on and turned to

Sam flicked it on and turned to the local station. A red bar flashed across the bottom of the screen and the telltale beeps of a weather warning could be heard through the speakers. High winds and heavy rain, potential for hail and the formation of funnel clouds… and then everything went dark. Power outage.

Suddenly, there was a bright, blinding flash of light in the front bay window followed by a deafening crack and then, glass crashing in around us. Sam and I dove for the floor and barely avoided something crashing through our front window. Rain was now blowing into the front room, soaking everything. The tv fell and crashed into the glass coffee table littering the hardwood floor with tiny shards of glass.

I looked down at my arms, cut up from the glass, but, otherwise, no other serious injuries. Sam was about the same. We were lucky. I could hear sirens in the distance. Fire or police, but I hadn’t called them. The sirens got closer and I saw the local fire truck with it’s red and white flashing lights pulling up. We met them outside and the firemen wrapped blankets around us and I heard something about an ambulance on its way. Apparently, our neighbour had seen what happened and called 911.

The wind had died down significantly but the rain still fell heavily. From the outside we could see what had happened. The oak tree in the front yard had been struck by lightning and crashed through our front window. The tree was nearly split down the middle, the wood singed from the heat. A large portion of the top of the tree was now in our living room. It seemed very surreal at this point but I just sat there, rain pouring down in front of me, contemplating the death of a tree.

The full article on Story Slam 2019 is seen here.


See Ryan Matin's 'Beaucoup de Stress' here

See Ross Green's 'A Loonie for Your Thoughts" here

See Rebecca Genovy's 'Honourable Mention' here

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