Thursday, 16 January 2014

the 15th not the 16th even if I had to wait until it was cool enough

Start The Year Off Write prompt for the 15th plus response.

15th Prompt #10: Take an ordinary moment from your day today (or sometime this week). Then toss in a wildly unexpected, freak-of-nature occurrence. How do you (or your main character) react? What happens next?

The heat sucked the breath out of me as I climbed from the car. By the time I made it to the door I was gasping and my arms had turned to silly putty. The handle of the metal screen door melted at my touch and the asphalt bubbled in glossy black blobs. A magpie with wings extended gasped in the tiny strip of shade the spindly twig in front of the house afforded. I looked at it and it looked at me with glassy eyes.
“Water” we both croaked even if magpies can’t speak human I figured that was what it was trying to tell me. I was in better condition than the magpie so I turned and made my way through the waves of heat to the garden tap and filled a plastic container to the top. It took no more than five seconds for the magpie to stagger its way with feeble flaps of its wings to where the water glistened in the sunlight. It plunged headfirst into the dish. I tried to stay in the shade of the doorway to watch that it resurfaced but the heat was trapped there along with slow buzzing flies and sluggish spiders. I almost fell into the cool dark hallway.
I dropped my bag and pulled off my shoes and jeans, scattering pieces of clothing all the way to the bathroom. The water from the shower head was warm and stank of chlorine but it was cooler than my glistening skin. I let the water cascade over my face and soak my hair. Slowly the water temperature dropped until at last I started to shiver.
That was odd. I shouldn’t be shivering not when the temperature of a normal mid-summer day like today was 47 degrees Celsius. Then I noticed the noise and switched off the water. An almost deafening rattling and pounding tattooed the roof. I wrapped the biggest towel around my goose pimpled body and quickly found my winter dressing gown to wrap over the top. My teeth were rattling in counterpoint to the drumming from outside and I swung open the front door.
The sodden magpie had found refuge under my car in truce with its enemy the neighbour’s cat as both avoided the enormous bouncing lumps of ice plummeting from the deep angry grey clouds overhead.
“Where in hell did that come from?” The magpie looked at me as if it too was wondering the same thing. The temperature had dropped 20 degrees in the time I was in the shower. The dry brown lawn was hidden under a blanket of white bobbles and more fell, looking for all the world like popcorn in a hot pan bouncing up with tremendous energy.
In five minutes the whole thing was over and the ice melted faster than it had arrived. Ten minutes later I had shucked the dressing gown and opted for shorts and a singlet. Steam rose from the driveway and the roof. The cat was gone, the magpie back in the bowl of water giving itself a good bath. It warbled a relieved trill that lifted an echoing smile from me. Typical summer.