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Stormy Weather
Flash Fiction by Mary McCluskey

It's raining. That hard, slanting rain that taps like music, slides down the glass. She can hear a low, rumbling thunder, too far away to worry about. It won't be storming there. Not where he is. It's too far. It's too hot.

The sun will be harsh and bright and unrelenting and will show the dent in the bed where she isn't and the space in the kitchen where she is not cooking breakfast with her kids waiting. Waiting for cereal and the little plastic figures to fight over.

He loves them, loves his kids. It's better for them. Of course it is. Security. A sensible father. With a chunk of a girlfriend with wide hips and hair that has never been bleached. Who doesn't drink. Doesn't cry.

She cooks. Of course she does. With hips like that, she must cook up a storm. It's better for them. Isn't it?

The thunder is closer. She wonders what would happen if she walked back in there and said—NO! If she said it loud enough. If she said—look, get out wide hips. I am back and these are my kids and I am not somebody who can be driven off. So I drink? Everybody drinks.

What if I were the storm? A fierce fury; a terrible, unrelenting force.

She hears a soft melodic rumble and then it grows. The storm changes. It's getting louder. It's big enough, strong enough, deadly enough. It's here. She could ride it. All the way home.

§ § §

Mary McCluskey is a British journalist, usually based in Los Angeles, presently in Gloucestershire. Her fiction has appeared in numerous zines and literary magazines in the United States and the UK. She has completed one novel—now with an agent—and is working on another.

Reprinted from Ink Pot #5, available now

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