06 April, 2019
The Farmhouse #AtoZChallenge
The whirlwind came out of nowhere. No tornado sirens alerted the farm hands, just Crank, who had been working on the hitch at the back of the tractor and happened to be facing the right direction as he rose to stand.
"Whoa." The word muttered under his breath was quickly followed by a loud shout. "Take cover!"
Panic rippled across the farmyard as shouts spread the word and men scurried to protect what they could before racing to the cellar door. Once inside, the men expressed their shock.
"Did anyone see that coming?"
"There was no hint in the forecast that this might happen." Pete turned on the weather radio in the shelter. There seemed to be no commentary, just business as usual.
"Who saw it first?"
"Crank shouted, and Eddie and I were closest, so we spread the word."
"What do you think, Crank? Sudden storm? Big? Small? What's up?"
The burly man in overalls wasn't one to speak before thinking. Crank looked at each face around him in turn, before answering Davey. "Sky's all wrong. It's a whirlwind of some-such, I know, I saw it." He shook his head with a grim look. "But this ain't no tornado."
Confusion spread across the room until someone asked, in an exasperated snort, "What?"
Eddie scoffed. "Then why'd you raise the alarm?"
"I see a whirlwind comin' down on top o' the farmhouse, whatever it is, I raise the alarm. You'd'a done the same."
There was a juicy silence as that sunk in. Crank was older than most of the guys, which meant they showed him respect, but also thought he was out of touch.
Finally Ray spoke up. "Screw this. No sirens, nothing on the radio, we got no way to know what's happening. I'm gonna take a look." He looked around for confrontation. The others all looked at each other to see if someone would try to stop him. No one did.
Ray moved to the steps, looked back over his shoulder once, and climbed to open the cellar door. Light flooded in from the bright sunlight that had been skulking outside. "See?" he called down. "No storm." With that, he moved away from the cellar toward the edge of the building.
Davey moved to the steps to join him. As he climbed, he heard Ray mutter, "Whoa. What the heck?" from outside. He looked back at the guys, who didn't hear Ray's exclamation, and said "uh-oh" as he took the steps two at a time.
Ray was looking around the corner of the machine shed, as one-by-one the others joined him. They all looked up to see a huge orb hovering over the farmhouse. The orb was big enough to envelope the house, and appeared to be growing larger by the moment.
Crank ambled up last of all. He looked up at the swelling orb for a moment before asking, "Did anyone run inside to warn Old Tom?"
As a beam of light sent pulses of various colors into the house, the men each turned to look at Crank with eyes wide and mouths agape.
Thank you for visiting my #AtoZChallenge! My theme is "Audience Participation" (read about it, here) and now it is your turn. Each day will be a new story based on suggestions from your comments. Suggest anything: a word, scenario, character, location... I will be keeping a list of suggestions, so if yours isn't used tomorrow, it may show up later.
Today's post was inspired by the prompt "farmhouse tornado", suggested by Brett (of Transformed Nonconformist), given in comments on my B post (here). My apologies for any technical errors regarding how a farm handles a tornado. I'm not taking time to research these stories.
WITH APOLOGIES: During the first week of A to Z, I have a house guest. I am already taking time out each day to read/reply to comments and write a fresh post. Please forgive me for not visiting your blog until next week. I will visit the blogs of every commenter when my house is empty again.