Daily Prompt 2/10/2016 | The Perfect Storm

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/10/2016 | Sudden Shifts

“You’re at the beach with some friends and/or family, enjoying the sun, nibbling on some watermelon. All of a sudden, within seconds, the weather shifts and hail starts descending from the sky. Write a post about what happens next.”

Liam! Nooo!” I shrieked, as my one-year old son dropped a fistful of wet sand into my head. I pulled out my ponytail and shook my hair violently, trying to disperse the itchy particles from my scalp. My little terror smiled brightly, turned on his heel, and took off in the opposite direction toward his father, who was doubled over with laughter.

I rolled my eyes, giving up on my hair, and leaned back into my lime green beach chair. My eyes adjusted to the shade provided by my comically large beach umbrella, and I sighed in defeat. I looked over at my husband and son, who were happily attempting to build a sand castle, with little success. Life with a one-year old, never a dull moment. I smiled, and turned my head to survey the rest of the beach. Families and groups of friends, both big and small, were scattered across the vast, sandy beach, frolicking beneath the warm, July sun. It was the third day that week that we had spent the day at the beach, as the weather had been perfect, and despite having to dig out sand from every nook and cranny of my body, and having a slightly pink complexion, I was definitely not tired of it yet.

Is it supposed to rain today?” I heard my husband’s voice, and turned my head lazily to face him.

No, I think it’s supposed to be sunny the rest of the week. Why?” I asked him, sitting up in my chair to embrace my tiny toddler, who was now climbing into my lap.

He made a confused “hmm” noise, and turned away from me, staring out toward the water. I suddenly became aware that the sun was no longer shining brightly down on the beach, replaced by the shadows of storm clouds, dancing across the sand. A chill entered the air, and I wrapped my beach towel around my son and myself. Kyle turned to me, opening his mouth to speak, when suddenly, something heavy landed on top of my umbrella, startling us.

What the hell was that?” I asked, picking Liam up tilting my umbrella to investigate. A large ball of ice slid down my umbrella, and landed with a thud in the sand. Confused, I looked up into the sky, now dark with storm clouds, and shivered. Was that hail? Was it hailing? How? I heard a loud curse from behind me, and turned to see Kyle bending down to pick up another large ball of ice from the sand, while rubbing his head gingerly.

My eyes widened as he presented a baseball-sized piece of hail to me, and we stood there speechless. All around us, concerned voices, as well as cries of surprise, rang out, and families and friends ran to gather their belongings. Without another word, we quickly packed up our chairs, towels, and other beach accessories, and ran as fast as we could toward the parking lot. I held my umbrella over heads as best as I could, nearly tripping several times.

This is crazy!” Kyle shouted, but it was still hard to hear him by my side over the roar of hail falling around us.

We got to our car and quickly barricaded ourselves inside. The pounding of hail rang loudly in our ears, and I was surprised to discover that my tiny toddler was remaining calm, and seemed to be amused by the balls of ice raining from the sky. We sat in silence (well, not really), and watched hoards of people as they dove into their cars in desperation. I couldn’t help it, and I began to laugh at the bizarre shift in the weather. I turned to Kyle, and saw the intensity melt from his face, and he too began laughing, reaching for my hand, and squeezing gently.

He started the car, and we followed the herd of other vehicles to the main road. Less than a mile later, the sky opened up, and the sun made a welcome appearance. We drove home with smiles on our faces, both ignoring the fact that the outside of our vehicle now likely resembled the craterous surface of the moon. I glanced in the rear-view mirror at my son, now sleeping soundly in his car seat, and sighed contently. We drove home in a happy silence, hearing only the sound of our tires crushing the occasional ice ball on the road. What a beautiful day.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

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Imperceptible | Part 1

Wally, you can’t keep this up,” she whispered sleepily into his shoulder, “I need you. I need you here with me. Please, don’t go… not again…

Wally pulled her closer to him beneath the warmth of the blanket that draped lazily over them both. He did not respond to her drowsy plea. He had grown so used to her speech, so used to her pain, but there was nothing he could do anymore. They had never really been apart for more than a few days, a week at the most, but when they were reunited, it was electric. She was his home. He was really going to miss the spark that the two of them shared. He was going to miss her.

He gazed down at the now sleeping woman lying wrapped in his arms, sighing with a mixture of relief and sadness. She was so beautiful, and too good for him. Too good to be wrapped up in his life, in his problems. She deserved better, and that was why he was leaving.

I love you, Wenda. Always,” he choked out quietly, brushing a strand of deep, auburn hair from her face, before gently pulling his arm out from beneath her slender frame. Walking quietly to the other end of the room, Wally gabbed his wallet, his hat, and a bottle of water from the fridge, before slipping out of the apartment that they had shared for the last four months, leaving his lover, and his entire life, behind the closed door.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The cold streets of New York City were packed with people. Wally breathed into his hands, trying to get any feeling back into his frozen fingers, before shoving them into the pockets of his sweatshirt. He stuck out like a sore thumb in his red and white, striped hoodie, but it was all he had. He owned very little, even after moving in with Wenda, he couldn’t attach himself to anything. He always knew he would have to leave, he just didn’t think it would be so soon.

Wally ducked into an alley, and exited into a large, empty lot. There was an old man sitting with his back against the large, brick building, huddled beneath his filthy coat, trying to keep warm in the cold, November night.

Wally, my boy!” the man exclaimed, reaching out his hand as Wally approached, “What brings you, lad? Come to give an old man some company?”

Wally smiled, “I wish I could say that were the case, old man. I’m here to say goodbye.

The smile faded from the old man’s grimy face, and he stood abruptly. His mouth opened in protest, but Wally held up his hand, and he relented.

Leaving? What about Wenda? What about your life here? You can’t keep running from-”

I’m not running, old man. I am protecting the woman I love, and my friends, from them. I am leaving to keep you all safe!” His clenched fists trembled in the pockets of his sweatshirt, “After what happened to Wilma… I can’t put Wenda through anymore. I can’t keep looking over my shoulder, worrying about when the next move will be, or who they will get next. I can’t do it anymore.”

The old man sighed, his eyes filled with sadness, and something else. He shook his head, “What would your parents think? Running away like a coward, instead of staying and defending your people. They wouldn’t want this life for you, running from city to city like this. You belong here, son. You belong with Wenda, with others your kind. We are stronger in numbers, and losing you-”

Losing me will be the best thing for everybody,” Wally choked through clenched teeth, “I can’t be here anymore, Whitebeard. I just can’t. I’d rather run on my own, than put everyone around me in danger. I thought you, of all people, would understand that.”

He regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth. Whitebeard had left his life behind him years ago. He was once a successful business man, with a wife and a young son, and now lived on the unforgiving streets of New York City, living the life of a vagrant to protect his identity. He had sacrificed so much to keep his family safe, so why couldn’t he understand that Wally needed to get as far away as possible? If Wally’s parents had just run, instead of staying to fight, they would still be alive. They would be there to protect him, to keep him safe. But they were gone, and had been for nearly 6 years, taken away from Wally just days before his fifteenth birthday. And poor, innocent Wilma… He missed them every day. He blamed himself every day.

Goodbye, old man,” Wally said quietly, turning away from the old man. He did not respond.

Wally ducked back into the ally, and headed in the opposite direction of the apartment where the love of his life lay alone. Tears stung at his eyes and he quickly wiped them away. The Watchers, and their leader, Odlaw, had taken too much from him already, too much from his kind. He could not allow them to take anything more. He pulled his red and white, striped beanie from his pocket and pulled it over his mess of ebony hair. The matching hat and hoodie had been a gift from Wenda for his nineteenth birthday, while they were still living in Boston. While he secretly hated the bold colors and pattern, he wore it every day to show her how much he loved her. Hopefully, she would be able to see that he was leaving for the very same reason.

To be continued…