Welcome to the Spot Writers. This month’s prompt was to look out the window and write about what was out there. Today’s tale comes to us from Val Muller, author of the horror novel Faulkner’s Apprentice (Kindle edition just $2.99).
Author’s Note: This is a tale I wrote one dark and stormy day. Not too far from my town, a tornado touched down—and this in a part of the country that doesn’t usually see such storms. I was lucky to be on the “outskirts,” but as I sat revising this post, my husband called to let me know he’d be late: a major tree had gone down on the narrow road leading to our house, and he had to drive all the way back into town to pick up a different route home.
By Val Muller
It was a dark and stormy day,
The kind with rainclouds that won’t go away,
When the sky can’t decide when it wants to weep,
So the humidity lingers and inches and creeps
Until the mist reaches critical mass
And the thunder booms and strikes at last.
On such a day, I started to write,
A nearing deadline was my plight.
The corgis trembled there on the floor
And glanced warily at the kitchen door.
They scooted and inched onto my feet
And trembled more as it started to sleet.
The baby, too, could sense something wrong;
She clung and clung to her frazzled mom.
I peeked outside to see what was pounding
On roof and patio—‘twas hail resounding!
I called my spouse, I called my mom
And in my voice was some alarm.
My mom said, “Hail? Inside—go!
You can be safe—sounds like a tornado!”
So to the basement I went with the dogs
And the baby still clinging fast to my arms.
I managed then to bring the laptop
(since it had its battery backup).
I set it up upon a tray
To do some work despite the stormy day.
I started typing my story out
When the dogs jumped after a thunder clout.
Onto the couch they came with me
(Two dogs and a baby—what could the trouble be?)
The three of them sat, vying for attention,
The storm-neutralizing touch of mother’s affection.
The dogs crawled closer on my lap
And baby clung higher on shoulders so that
My arms no longer could reach the keys,
So we listened instead to the blustery breeze.
It stayed quite still, given the stormy conditions,
But my mom was right—I’m glad I listened.
Not far from us a tornado touched down,
Causing a path of destruction along the ground.
But inside my basement lair I was secure
With the storm raging, locked outside of my door.
The dogs still trembled, jumping like fleas
While baby took solace in pounding the keys
And watching the characters jump on the screen.
It was my nightmare; it was her dream.
She managed to choose a particular keystroke
And giggled and cooed like she’d made a joke.
I turned to the screen to see all windows closing,
And I hadn’t saved my story, I thought with foreboding.
And sure enough, Word had shut down.
The baby was smiling, but I wore a frown.
With deadline approaching, it was getting too late.
What in the world, now, could I write?
So after the storm, when the dogs calmed a bit
And the baby had ceased her giggly laptop fit,
And the dogs were cuddled down for a nap,
As was the baby (we’re all thankful for that!),
I powered on the laptop and reopened the screen
And thought of the storm and dark tales like Halloween.
But nothing was more troubling to my writerly mind
Than the horrifying tale one could only find
In a household run by two dogs and a baby
Whose antics make mom laugh but also drive her crazy.
So I penned then a tale of horror and woe,
Of a creative story the world will never know,
For it was deleted by chubby baby fingers,
Though its miasma in my house still sort of lingers.
Instead, I give you this tale of strife
And a tiny little slice of my life.
The Spot Writers—Our Members:
RC Bonitz: rcbonitz.com
Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/
Catherine A. MacKenzie: http://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/
Tom Robson: https://robsonswritings.wordpress.com/