Thursday, February 21, 2008

Entry #6

Still Standing
by Dianne Lindstrom


"Weather's comin', Ma."

Hearing her son's voice, Ida leaned over the kitchen sink to see what was going on. The sky was green. She turned away from the window.

Walking briskly past the couch, she grabbed the sleeping cat. Then Ida grabbed a flashlight and went down the inside cellar stairs, closing the door behind her.

As she put the flashlight on the rickety wooden table, the outside doors opened with a whoosh. Her son was there, fighting the wind to get the doors closed. He won.

"Tornado's headin' this direction," locking the doors with a heavy chain and padlock. Turning to face his mother, the young man took off his coat.

"We're safe now," she indicated an old overstuffed chair. "Come sit down and we'll play some cards 'til it's over."

Dropping into the chair, his mother moved the wooden table close to him. After dragging a wooden chair to it, she sat and took the playing cards out of the box and shuffled them.

Just then the most god-awful roar engulfed them. The cat streaked behind the ancient washing machine while the mother and son froze where they were. In an instant, the ceiling was gone and they could see the dirt and debris circling above their heads. Neither one moved. As quickly as it happened, it was gone. And so was their house.

As they climbed the stairs together, the only thing they could see was one lone tree – still standing.


[Dianne Lindstrom writes flash fiction stories. She's also working on a novel. If you'd like to see more of her work, please contact her at dlindstrom at diannelindstrom.com.]

19 comments:

JLB said...

Dianne, I like the way you used the image for your story - the green sky was especially vivid as I read.

paisley said...

very well told... that is how change comes sometimes isn't it... whoosh and it was gone.....

DBA Lehane said...

I think by the end of this competition that tree is going to be the most indestructable thing left on the planet! ;)

Beth said...

The house goes, the tree stays.

Missy said...

They are so calm and serene in their preparations, grabbing what matters - each other, the cat. I could feel the wind pulling their hair up as all else disappeared. Godd job!

ChristineEldin said...

Stubborn tree.

Nicely written! I'm afraid of tornadoes for all those reasons...

pattinase (abbott) said...

Strong roots, huh. Very well-told.

Sarah Hina said...

Dramatically told, Dianne. I could really see this tornado lifting off their roof, and leaving the tree untouched.

I liked the details with the cat and the card playing. It lent a very authentic feeling to your piece. Nicely done!

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

I echo what Sarah said, the details of the cat and the card playing make this a very dramatic piece of realism. Well done.

SzélsőFa said...

I liked the details of preparation, too.

pjd said...

I like the green sky, too, and the movement of the chairs and the playing cards. But if the house is taken and there's no roof on the basement any more, wouldn't everything in the basement get taken, too?

Still, I like that you chose "survival" as your response to the tree.

Dianne Lindstrom said...

To everyone - thank you for your comments. It helps to know what people like about a story. :-)

PJD - tornado's are completely unpredictable. Sometimes only one room in a house is destroyed; sometimes one house disappears completely and the house next to it isn't touched. Recently, a house was completely destroyed and the baby who was in it landed unhurt in a field. That's what fascinates me about them. Thanks for your comment.

Dianne

pjd said...

Diane-- thanks for the reply. I figured it must be something like that. I've lived in blizzard country and earthquake country, but never tornado country. So my entire experience with them (thank goodness) comes from the Discovery Channel and the movie "Twister."

bluesugarpoet said...

Yes, it's bizarre how a tornado can demolish one house while the house across the street is unscathed. I knew when I read "green sky" that one was coming! The characters began to play cards in the basement, and that tells me they've been in this situation before - but I bet they didn't expect to see sky for ceiling! Nicely done.

BernardL said...

Beautifully done.

Aerin said...

I grew up in tornado country, and there is no way I'd be calm enough to play cards, even to this day, with a green sky. That was a brilliant piece of detail!

jason evans said...

I could really see that last scene. The disbelief of it.

Aine said...

I like how calmly they react to the threat. Clearly they've taken those precautions many times before. And the non-dramatic way in which the destruction occurs in a short moment seems so realistic-- people don't process the reality until after the moment has passed. I liked this.

Dianne Lindstrom said...

Thank you, Jason, for this opportunity. Congratulations to the winners!

And thank you to everyone who took the time to read the story and leave a comment, especially Aine - who liked it. :-)

Dianne