This is one of those skewed-POV things I like to do. Enjoy.
by JB Steele
The storms were coming again. Violetta turned to the children and looked at them for a moment. She didn’t know what to do, not after hearing the stories from the refugees. It had been hard to hear. The families torn apart, the homes ripped down, the loss and despair – all of that was agonizing. The old man down the hall had stories about what he’d been through. Violetta couldn’t remember his name. She looked anxiously out at the shadows approaching. Tom, that was it. Tom was his name. She thought about what he’d told her once.
Tom had told her hushed stories about the storms. He didn’t even touch his meal as he spoke, and she noticed that it was growing colder by the minute. He’d always shown a voracious appetite for his age, and to see him disregard food told her how serious the subject was.
“It’s quiet for a long time beforehand. Sure, there’s the usual noise you hear everywhere, but when a storm arrives, you can’t mistake it.”
She wondered if he was spinning a web of tall tales, but the grim look in his eye and the bad leg he had convinced her that he was totally serious. Violetta had swallowed hard and asked him what to listen for.
“The noise level is incredible. You can’t hear yourself think, and the sheer vibration from all the noise feels like it’s shaking your body apart.”
He paused for a moment, then grunted. “I’ve seen friends shaken apart. Remember the storm of ’08?”
“No, I don’t. That was before I came to town. That was a bad one, from all accounts. Lot of lives lost. Property damage. Just a very bad time.”
He had been silent, staring off into the distance. Before Violetta could make up her mind to shake him and see if he was all right, his attention came back to her.
“That is right. Very right. I’ve lost many friends to the storms, and there’s no way to stop them or even prepare for them.”
The rest of the dinner had been silent and Violetta had returned to her home shaken. She kissed her sleeping babies a little more before going to bed. Her sleep was not restful that night.
Now, she looked out as the apartment building disintegrated, knowing that there was nothing that she could do. Violetta glared at the approaching winds and gathered her babies around her. Tom was already gone, and she knew it would be their turn soon. She wasn’t going to run. Violetta was going to die on her feet, protecting her babies the best she could.
The man switched off the vacuum cleaner and lowered the hose attachment. He gazed at the spot he’d just cleaned out. His wife heard the machine turn off, wiped the sweat off her brow, and turned to see him staring at the wall.
“Jimmy? You ok? What happened?”
He shook his head, bemused.
“The strangest thing. I was cleaning out in this corner. This is an old house, and there’s a lot to do.”
She frowned. “You’re right, and just standing there isn’t going to get it done, you know.”
“Oh, I know.” He reached for the switch, but his wife stopped him.
“What was so strange?”
“It was the strangest thing. When I cleaned out that spider web that was there in that corner,” he pointed with the wand, “there was a spider with eggs that seemed to be staring me down.”
The woman harrumphed.
“Oh, well. I don’t want spiders in my new home.”
He snorted at the thought. After a moment, the vacuum cleaner started whirring again.