Thursday, August 05, 2010
Despite the grime and dried blood from the wilderness, the hairs on Ulrich's arms stood.
His head had been hung, dozing, when the tickling snapped his chin up. He watched the dark wisps of hair peel clear of his skin and reach outward. He didn't dare to touch anything. The bizarre static charge felt huge. A brush from his fingertips would probably spark his entire arm numb.
Then, he noticed it.
Something deep in the ground.
A grinding, papery sound that buzzed vibrations through his toe bones.
Very, very strange.
A searing light exploded on the ridge like a fountain of lighting. The purple pillar whirled and writhed, anchored to the Earth.
Earthquakes could build huge static discharges, he knew that. Maybe he'd seen something like it on TV from an erupting volcano. But nothing that lasted more than an instant. Nothing like this.
A bolt sliced out and slammed a nearby tree. Wood and steam detonated in a spectacular cloud of debris. Shaken, he fell back.
Another bolt hit and rained splintered wood even closer. Rational or not, he felt like the thing was targeting him.
He scrambled on all fours. Glanced back at the fire and smoke. They twirled at the base like a surreal tornado.
To his left, a towering pine boomed. Needles and branches fluttered down.
He dove behind a rock.
The sky flashed with discharges. He cowered.
Another bolt barely missed, convulsing hard through his muscles. The current was following the roots back to where it came from.
Before it could dance closer, the pillar flashed out with a deafening clap of thunder.
He tried to catch his breath.
The Earth had stopped whispering.
(This piece is selection from my work in progress, EARTHTIDE.)