Forces of Nature
Forces of Nature
What would happen when a bomber from the nearby Air Force base is flung by a fierce tornado into the county’s largest shopping mall? Begin the day with the mall manager, his assistant, the security officer and Howard the Weatherman, whose predictions are always uncannily accurate, and in this case, deadly. More
FORCES OF NATURE
It was going to be a two-shoe day.
Howard the Weatherman woke with what he referred to as That Certain Dread and a bad taste in his mouth, to boot. The birthday party for his youngest granddaughter the previous evening was the cause, even though it was just ice cream and cake and no booze, befitting his solid Southern Baptist background.
The feeling lingered on the fringes of consciousness until he was fully awake.
Glancing over at his sleeping wife of forty years, he considered waking her and telling her about his dream. No, he would prepare for work first, and let Neva sleep a while longer.
He eased out of bed and padded into the adjoining bathroom. He allowed the shower head to spray stinging hot water over his face and body, all the while he was reciting his usual morning prayers: “Father, I thank thee for this day that thou hast made. I will rejoice and be thankful in it.”
He continued with his intercessory prayers for his family and friends, and for the nation as a whole. “And so I beseech thee, Dear Lord, heed my prayers. I pray in the name of my savior, Jesus Christ.” Normally, his prayers would have ended at this point with a heart-felt “Amen”, but this morning he added softly, “And Lord, if it be thy will, spare us the agony of this day, and keep us safe from harm. Amen.”
Neva was up and in the kitchen when Howard stepped out of the shower. Wrapping his robe around him and combing his thinning hair, he walked down the hallway past the empty kids’ bedrooms and into the kitchen.
“Morning,” Neva said, setting a cup of coffee at his usual place. “Sleep well?”
Howard paused before replying, “Fine.” There was no sense in telling her now. “You?”
“Fine, until you began tossing and turning. What was that all about, Howard?” She sat across from him and studied him over her coffee cup.
“Nothing. I don’t remember,” he evaded, knowing full well what Neva was going to say next. Why did he even try?
“It’s the dream again, isn’t it?”
He sighed, then nodded. “I knew I couldn’t keep it from you. You know me too well.”
She smiled softly.
“Honey, it’s going to be a bad one today.”
“They’re all bad, Howard. Even small tornadoes that don’t send people to the hospitals, or kill them. Property damage, schools, businesses, all suffer.”
Howard finished his coffee and shook off his wife’s gesture of handing him a plate of bacon and eggs. “I’m gonna be late if I don’t leave now. I should have the official National Weather Service information the first thing when I get to the station. Then I’ll have to butt heads with our new station manager about interrupting the regularly scheduled programs for weather bulletins.”
“It’s going to be that big?” Neva followed him into the bedroom.
“Stay close to home today, honey. I want you close to the cellar.”
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