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Tuesday, July 14

Stormy Weather

"Stormy Weather"
Short fiction - Fantasy/Sci-fi
by Rod Drake

It was a classic summer day. Endless sun, no clouds, only the gentlest of breezes, comfortably warm.

Marley sat on the window seat beneath the attic’s turret window, her favorite location in the old house. At three stories up, she could survey the entire neighborhood from here. Today she saw the girls her own age sunbathing. There was Carly, with baby fat visible in her too-tight suit; Katie, thin and flat-chested as a boy; and Nicole, cute and petite in her two-piece suit.

But the queen was Ashley, amazingly developed for a thirteen-year-old, and not shy about showing it all off in a new skimpy bikini. She ruled this little group, the neighborhood and the cool cliques at their middle school.

Marley was excluded, of course. She was desperately pale with dark hair and inquiring green eyes, but that wasn’t why they didn’t invite her. Marley was not one of the group or any group for that matter.

Markley kept to herself mainly. In the neighborhood and at school, kids avoided her, and she didn’t seem to mind. There was a strangeness about her, had been since childhood. Her family moved a lot.

Marley heard the girls’ laughter drift up into the open window. Ashley was combing her long, luxurious blonde hair, natural, she told everyone repeatedly. Then Marley heard her name mentioned and put down the book she was reading.

“Maybe we should ask Marley to join us,” Katie quietly said.

“Eew,” Nicole replied, slathering on the sun tanning lotion.

“She’s a freak,” Carly commented. “A spooky freak.”

“Well,” Ashley drawled out, adding the final word as was her imperial right, “She is a bit . . . pasty, so I don’t think that she likes the sun. I doubt that she even owns a swimsuit.”
Sarcasm at a moment’s notice was Ashley’s specialty.

“Yeah,” Nicole jumped back in, “and if so, it‘s probably black and so out of style.”

It was true; Marley didn’t worship the sun. And she didn’t really fit in with teenage girls.

“Um, she has pretty eyes,” Katie offered in a small voice.

“Oh please – they’re big and buggy,” Carly cut in. “Like an alien or something.”

“She fixed them on me once in the cafeteria,” Ashley began, adjusting the snugness of her swimsuit’s top, “and I was almost physically sick they were so creepy. And she just kept staring at me, like she had never seen a human before.”

“She was probably just jealous of how beautiful you are,” Nicole kissed up quickly.

“Well, we can’t all be bronze goddesses, now can we, girls?” Ashley laughed a hollow, condescending laugh. “Someone has to be the funny-looking one.”

Nicole and Carly laughed uproariously at that, knowing their role in the entourage. Katie managed a brief smile for appearances’ sake.

Marley pushed the tiny window farther open. Then she extended her slender fingers through it, and the air around her dropped a dozen or so degrees. Marley eyes opened wide, and she froze like a statue for a moment.

Suddenly ominous dark clouds appeared overhead and the breeze picked up, flapping the pages of the girls’ teen magazines. They looked up at the sky curiously, sun tan lotion still in their hands.

A booming crack of thunder shook the whole neighborhood. Before the girls could react, a downpour exploded, drenching everything. As they ran screaming for shelter, Carly slipped on the wet grass and fell, crashing into the bird bath, bruising her cheek. Nicole stumbled over Carly and fell into the rose bushes, scratching her legs badly.

Ashley refused to run as it didn’t befit her dignity, so as she headed regally into the garage. Then a sharp, twisting streak of lightning struck her, knocking her across the back yard. Ozone hung thick in the air and steam rose off of Ashley’s body as she sat up, dazed but alive.

The other girls ran to her and stood stunned, their hands over their open mouths. The lightning had singed off all her blonde hair, leaving only a few blackened tufts, like charred trees left after a forest fire.

The rain slowed then stopped. Marley hummed an ancient melody and went back to her book, Principles and Techniques of Mummification.

That summer, Katie’s boobs grew from AA to a full B cup.

Rod Drake’s first Marley story, “Retribution,” was published right here in Fictional Musings. Check out Rod's other fiction in Six Sentences, Powder Burn Flash, Flashes of Speculation, Flash Forward, MicroHorror and AcmeShorts.

1 reactions:

Kelly Parra said...

Thanks Rod!