• Meghan Douglass

Oncoming Storm

This short story was long listed for the Australian Writers' Centre's May 2021 Furious Fiction competition.

An enormous storm was building, I could feel it, the rumbling reverberating throughout my entire body. I could feel its swell and perilous fury about to break free, it was building fast. The unseasonable heat caused trickles of sweat to run down my forehead.

Yesterday seemed so far away, so much peace and calm compared to the tumultuous storm brewing now. My mother’s words echoed in my ear, a prophetic, knowing warning, “Choose wisely honey, you know the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Why hadn’t I listened? I should know by now, mother always knows best.

I’d been sitting on the fence about my decision all day long, I’d heard her words but I was pigheaded and now I was paying for it. Caught now in the worst storm of my life, if only I’d chosen differently.

The grumble was growing, sooner or later the flood gates would open and no one would be able to stop what was coming.

A feeling of dread and regret was snowballing out of control, making me panic, I felt so stupid. It was my birthday and I’d just wanted to enjoy myself. I’d hoped that just for one day, the storm could be held at bay but my mum was right, it had always been the same for her as well.

The party had been so much fun, and then the cake. The most amazing ice cream cake of my entire life, decorated so perfectly with the most decadent, creamy, rich chocolate ice cream. It had been truly divine. Everyone, me included, had gone back for seconds, well almost everyone, and now this storm was ruining everything.

I’d began ushering everyone out of the house, trying to wind up the party but of course chatty aunt Kathy just wouldn’t leave. I know she’s lonely, but the way this storm was shaping up, she would not want to get caught in it.

After saying goodbye for the twentieth time and promising to call her in the next week, aunt Kathy was gone. I shut the door, the sweat now soaking through my new party dress, it clung to my skin making me shudder, the trapped feeling magnifying my anxiety.

All that was left was to get to safety before this raging tempest broke free. The hallway looked longer than ever, but the warm light of safety at the end beckoned like the glowing beacon of a lighthouse.

All of a sudden the storm broke and I ran. I should have moved faster, it was coming and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I made it to the bathroom just in time, the safest room to ride it out. The storm which had been menacing broke free in a torrent. The violence of it shook me to my core.

The calm after the storm gave me a moment to reflect, damn my lactose intolerance.

storm clouds

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