99 Word Flash Fiction: The storm (1 and 2)

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

With Charli’s prompt this week she had me time travelling through the various extreme weather events that I have experienced. Many floods, storms, cyclones and fires. In the scheme of these disasters I have to admit that I have come out of them unscathed or nearly unscathed but lucky compared to many. I could not help myself — I had to write two flashes for this prompt. The first was about a wind with 200km/hr speed that cut a narrow pathway through my suburb in Sydney and continued out to sea. The damage was severe. These photos are of my house and our cleanup, the street I lived in and as I said our damage was light compared to some. Help came from everywhere and the casualties seen in hospital were higher from cleanup accidents than the actual event.

Suddenly, unexpectedly the sky darkened, emitting an eerie green glow. It sounded like an express train passing at speed when the wind came, followed by the crash and splintering of wood. The tin of the roof buckled under the weight of the fallen trees, that had twisted and snapped like twigs. It passed, as soon as it came, continuing on its path of destruction. Shattered people emerged, surveying the damage. Emergency services eventually reached the needy, clearing the roads and tarping the rooves. Unaffected friends helped.

Three days on, power unfixed, we listened on the car radio – Desert Storm.

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

© irene waters 2015

We did not have power returned for over a week. The clean up took much longer. After three days we were forgotten however as Desert Storm operations commenced. Disaster is after all relative.

Another cyclone we lived through in Vanuatu gave me a different story.

Prepared for the worst we bunkered down after giving rations, water, torches and extra blankets to our guests. They’d be safe in their bungalows, as  these had stood against cyclones of greater strength than now predicted . Nevertheless, as the wind howled bending the trees double, we worried about them. At great danger to himself, in the calm of the eye, before the storm turned with its destroying ferocity, Peter visited them and checked they were alright.

They left when the airport reopened gushing their thanks.

A month later: a complaint. We hadn’t served breakfast. Please refund money in full.

In response to Charli’s prompt where she asks:

August 26, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about the need for help in an extreme weather event. Is the help local or global? Does it arrive or the plea go ignored? It doesn’t have to be fire. Think about extreme weather occurrences and consequences.

Respond by September 1, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. Commenced a masters by research in 2014.
This entry was posted in creative writing, fiction, flash fiction, Historical Perspective, photography, story telling, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to 99 Word Flash Fiction: The storm (1 and 2)

  1. noelleg44 says:

    Irene, your words put me right back to 1996, which Hurricane Fran swirled around our house with little mini-tornadoes. All of our cars were crushed by trees, and we had three that landed on and in our roof, with one that was driven into a bedroom. It took us three years to recover. There is power in your story!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Excellent flash — both. Beautifully done. The first one…yikes. The second one… *sigh* I can imagine that, unfortunately.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Your stories put it all in perspective – counting blessings goes much farther than calculating opportunities. I hope you gave the tourists $1.89 for their missed breakfast.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Charli Mills says:

    Tornadoes were a new phenomenon for me in Minnesota and I dodged several, never getting a full on hit from one, but seeing the devastation in towns elsewhere. An amazing twist in your first flash and how global news can distract us even from disaster. Your second is a head-shaker. Life-threatening event averted but no breakfast? Reminds me of the mentality of deniers. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Smoke on the Horizon « Carrot Ranch Communications

  6. Annecdotist says:

    Ha, you hadn’t served breakfast! I think some people travel to far-off places to have a dream holiday, with no concept of the demands they make on the local communities. Pity your guest wasn’t able to learn anything from this experience.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. julespaige says:

    Be prepared. Can we ever be. We had lightening strike a tree twice in the same summer. Once a piece fell knocking down a young cherry tree – the other time another large trunk fell across the creek (also at the end of the yard). No one offered us any help. Hubby, sons and another friend at various times finally got a majority of the wood out of the creek. (And yes we are still cleaning up…) The only benefit is that we got and get exercise preparing the wood and using it for our fire place (though that is not our primary heating). In our all electric neighborhood we are lucky that the power lines are buried. But that doesn’t take into account where the above ground lines connect – so we still get power outages due to some storm or accidents of cars knocking down the supporting poles.

    Good to be in a place with so many helping hands… that second story though… some folks just never have a nice thing to be happy about.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m sad you didn’t get the support of your neighbourhood but thank heavens for family and friends at those times. It’d be more fun to get exercise in another way that’s for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • julespaige says:

        Our property/creek is right on the border of two townships and a utility easement…none of which wanted to help us. But we had to take care of it because all the debris coming down the creek was getting caught right by our land. Odd what some folks toss in water and think it will just disappear. We had to tell a new neighbor a few years back that the water run off drain was not the sewer for draining his lawn mower’s oils.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It sounds like (apart from the pollution) that you live with a nice outlook. Sad other people don’t think what they are throwing out. Oil especially can harm so much wildlife in a creek.

        Liked by 1 person

      • julespaige says:

        Our family also does hazmat or hazardous materials training… milk can be hazardous if spilled in a waterway.

        I think that one neighbor just didn’t know and thought the drain went to the sewer… but it would be nice if he had found out first. Suburbs are different from cities, from farmland etc.

        I do like where we live 😉 Some folks think though that they can dump their grass clippings in the creek because it is ‘natural’. The only problem with that is all the chemicals they put on their lawns to keep the weeds at bay. Thinking seems to be in sort supply – sometimes.

        Sounds like you run a resort? Guess for you spring will be arriving soon. Will autumn is just around the corner… it is still a tad hot – at 8:45 am it is about 90 F (32 C) this morning.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Good on you for being so aware. Just wish there were more like you. As you say some actions are done just because people don’t know better.
        Yes we are coming into Spring now. We used to have a resort but that is now in the distant past. Memories only.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Norah says:

    Oh that devastation, Irene, and all those trees. During the 2011 floods we were without power for six days and had some of Bec’s friends stay while they were cut off from their house. We were isolated, but only for a couple of days. Nothing like the devastation you suffered, which you have described so beautifully in your flash. And then your second one. It’s amazing what straws people will clasp at for a refund! Don’t they realise we are all in this life together. Tearing apart someone else’s livelihood is not going to improve theirs in the long run. Thanks for sharing both your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s