Boots half-tied, goggles hanging loose, I run.
Laughter trails my clattering way up and down steps, rattling railings in my rush. I keep my eyes on the Grand Chambers above, yawning into the early morning, and pray. I can’t be late – not today.
‘Tamar!’ I skid in, heart pickpockpicking.
‘Sir.’ My tongue like stale bread in my mouth.
‘Shouldn’t you be at your station?’
‘Sir,’ I agree.
He stares, eyebrows raised.
‘Sir,’ I nod, taking off again.
I slide, windless, into my booth. Precip levels good; speed good. My fingers shake as I switch switches and flick levers.
The alarm drives everyone to their seats; strapped in, we wait.
The guttural boom of the storm-seed deep within the Chamber makes us start; then, there it is, curling forth like smoke, its dark heart already alive with lightning.
Our first thunderstorm of the season, and it’s looking fine.
‘Tamar!’ crackles my radio. I jump, and press ‘Release.’
‘Sir,’ I whisper.
The usual rules apply over at Flash! Friday this week – a story of between 140 and 160 words based around an image of the ancient monastery/settlement at Vardzia, Georgia, which also features a thunderstorm. Jeesh. They don’t make it easy. I’m not sure where the ‘storm-seed’ for this one came from, but I’m just glad it did. For a while, I worried I’d have to sit this one out. I hope you enjoyed this small tale of the craftspeople who bring us our storms – you didn’t think they just happened, did you? – and that you take a look at the other stories over on the Flash! Friday site. They’re masterclasses of ingenuity and wordplay – and maybe you’ll be intrigued enough to give it a go yourself.
Happy weekend, everyone.