Monday May 13th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the storm shelter.

There's definitely a storm brewing out there. The light after sundown tonight was... electric. Like there should have been lightning forking across the sky.

I went down to the basement to grab some laundry and felt like I was going into... well, today's prompt had to come from somewhere, right?

Big day tomorrow. Going to try to get some extra sleep tonight.

Which might be hard, considering Max has just come down with his second cold.


Rain lashes against the walls in fruitless fury, making nary a dent upon its surface. Wind uproots trees and hurls them toward the building like a giant's javelin, and those huddled within notice nothing. No cup is overturned, not even a stray drop falls wasted to the floor.

It had been built to withstand the end of days, and this storm was a far cry from doomsday. Cracks were nonexistent, foundations dug deep into the earth. Too deep, some said. Ancient things might be disturbed at such depths.

Such concerns were met with scorn and summarily ignored. The shelter would keep them safe from any disasters Mother Nature might think to hurl against its exterior.

Disasters born within those walls, however, were an entirely different matter...


Greg said...

You're going to have stop counting Max's colds eventually you know ;-)
That sounds like quite the storm in your story today; and quite a storm shelter given that tornado-strength winds can push halms of straw inches deep into tree trunks! Though I see those sheltering have run into the age old problem that this earth was owned before them... :-D

The storm shelter
The storm shelter was actually a habitat dug into the centre of a ex-meteor, being the cheapest way to construct something that could stand up to the vicissitudes of Jupiter's storms. GeoMineCorp simply landed a craft on the meteor while it was still passing Saturn and spent the next two years refining the naturally occuring ores and building a shelter inside the rock that simultaneously increased its structural strength tenfold. A shaped charge then nudged the meteorite into a new path that caused it to skim the surface of Jupiter, and once the atmosphere could be used for braking, it was comparatively easy to navigate into an orbit inside the storm system that gave rise to the Great Red Spot.
Nerissa was nominally the Head Analyst of the Shelter, but she spent most of her time obsessively studying the latest structural reports, worrying about the integrity of the Shelter. In fourteen years now there had been no incidents, or near-incidents, or even a "could be an incident in the right light" but she couldn't stop worrying about it. Today, at last, she thought she had something.
"Look!" she said, pointing. "Structural stresses outside of bounds!"
Leman leaned over and peered where she was pointing. He rubbed her screen, removing a smudge.
"Still well within bounds," he said.

morganna said...

The taxi pulled up in front of the crumbling mansion. Emily frowned. It had been ten years since she last saw the family home, and it seemed there were even more shingles missing from the roof than before. Soon, there wouldn't be a roof. Well, hopefully she would be long gone before that happened.

She hopped out of the taxi and paid the driver. "You sure you don't want me to wait, miss?" he asked doubtfully.

"I'll be fine. You must be new around here. This is my family home. I grew up here."

He frowned more. "I heard about the girl who up and left ten years ago. Things aren't the same, miss. I'll just wait a few minutes."

Emily smiled at the over-protective driver and bounded up the front steps. What a considerate little man. As if she couldn't handle her own family. She opened the front door, and walked into pandemonium.

A scrawny naked man ran past her, as three maids stood by, shrieking. The naked man was pursued by a large woman who might be a housekeeper, by her dress. "Get back here, Lord Pultney. You cannot leave the house without your bath!" That awful old man couldn't possibly be her father. She must have heard wrong in the chaos. She continued to stare at the hall. A person dressed up in a fuzzy dragon suit cavorted in the rear of the hall, surrounded by at least three, maybe five, barking dogs. The only person Emily recognized was her mother, coming down the stairs in the regal manner she remembered so well.

Emily opened her mouth to speak, just as a noisy crash resounded. She looked toward the noise, and saw a large crystal vase of flowers lying smashed on the floor.

"Stop!" The woman on the stairs bellowed that single word, and everyone in the hall froze in place.

She continued, in a slightly lower tone. "As you can see, we have a visitor. Samantha has chosen to grace us with her presence once again. Silence!" This last, as everyone started speaking at once. "Father, go upstairs and get dressed at once. Morgan, get out of that ridiculous costume and come greet your sister. Mrs. Lawn and the maids, you may return to work."

Emily watched as her mother's orders were obeyed in silence. Obviously, her mother would be her best shelter from the storm of family chaos, but could she count on her mother after all she (Emily) had done over the years?

MosesMalone said...

My daughter is a chronic sleepwalker. She just turned 17. I feel pretty badly about it. She has never been allowed to sleep at a friend’s house, and with college creeping in… well; this is going to be a tough moment in her life. Marisa does weird shit while sleepwalking. She has bathed our cat, Duffin, a grand total of 6 times. She has cooked an omelet to completion before we woke up. It was pretty good. I ate it after we put her back to bed. Her favorite sleepwalking activities seem to be a toss up between laundry and watering stuff with the gardening hose. She gets things mixed up like the time she watered the inside of the minivan. We now have alarms, but she broke the code twice. You should see what her brothers can do with parental controls on the computer. My youngest locked me out of the internet for a week after I missed his basketball game. I won that war when I stole all of his shorts and pants. Bam! Father of the Year. I digress. Marisa has only had 3 episodes of sleepwalking during her high school years. The last being almost 2 years ago. The specialist had thought she out grew them. Then Friday happened.

The cat kept crying, and then the storm sirens went off. We raced to each of the kid’s rooms to bring them to our storm cellar. Marisa wasn’t home. We kept calling her cell phone while we raced to the cellar. We opened the cellar and found Marisa sound asleep on the floor. We woke her up, and she was very confused like normal. She wanted to go back to bed so we tucked her in. She said she must have sleepwalked. My wife and I were devastated while we rode out the tornados. We really thought she out grew the sleepwalking. How is our baby ever going to grow up? She has never done anything wrong ever. I sucked in high school. Sports, girls, school, repeat. This poor kid.

Then today, she grabbed the wrong phone going to school. So I was given the rare opportunity to have complete control over my daughters cell phone for an entire day. It turns out, according to 4 friends, my daughter lied to me! She did not sleepwalk to the storm cellar. My precious SICKLY daughter was being a normal teenager and partying! Can you believe it!!!! So what does any good father do? I forwarded every text to my phone for her viewing pleasure.

To be honest, I’m pretty proud of her for coming up with such a great lie that I absolutely believed.

Marc said...

Greg - nah, I figure he's only having one or two more after this one. Any more beyond that seems quite unnecessary, thanks muchly.

I do not envy Nerissa's job at all. I think I'd be seeing trouble in smudges as well!

Morganna - quite happy to see this influx of Emily tales :)

Hah, that is quite the scene she's wandered into! There's a whole world of stories that could spring from this.

Mo - love the various sleepwalking activities, especially the cat one. And I must say she had me fooled as well!