by Sheree Shatsky

I sit on the couch and watch rain pelt the windows. I didn’t install the hurricane shutters this time around, my experience being any preparation guarantees the big bugger won’t show. This one does, twirling hurly burly a few spins shy of the driveway. The weather seems confused and disorganized, it’s January after all, well after hurricane season, and my guess is, judging by the squat size and stature, the storm is a child.

I pop up my umbrella and head outside. The hurricane rages in torrents of its own making. The bluster, the puff up, if this deluge had fists, it would bare both. The tiny tempest perks up a bit at the sight of me, then decides to play tough guy and blow dirt up my skirt.

‘Stop that. This second! What is going on here?’

Settling down a bit at the sound of my mom voice, the wee one gives me a pout. ‘I’m here to blow you into the middle of next week,’ it squalls, but the youngster is hard to take seriously, considering its size is no bigger than a soggy dust devil.

‘Oh, is that so?’ The chaotic fuss shakes and shudders and lowers its big glaring eye at me. ‘Put that thing away,’ I say. ‘I’ve seen bigger.’

With a harrumph, it fizzles into a mere whirlwind, sucking up wet pine needles littering the drive. ‘You must be Samantha,’ I say, ‘the Cat 3 keeping the weather guys up at night.’

‘That’s my mom. I’m Sammy.’ He wavers, looking up and down the street. ‘I can’t find her. I broke away somewhere near Orlando. She promised to take me to Disney World if I stuck close and I did, until I saw the cows. So many, lying on the ground, making themselves small, in case I cast a lightning bolt into the pasture, but never, ever would I do that. I like cows. I wanted to play rodeo, rope them with my tail and the next thing I knew, Mom was forty sheets to the wind.’

‘Maybe we can find her.’ I press open the weather app on my phone. Doppler radar plots her path zigzagging erratically from the Magic Kingdom our way to the coast. She’s looking for Sammy. ‘You should sing your favorite song. As loud as you can. So she can hear you.’

Sammy sucks up oxygen from the four corners of the neighborhood, a whistling mournful wet inhalation of hope and loss. I plug my ears against his effort and at the peak, as the roots of the mighty oaks tremble around me, a small melodious voice of an angel reaches to the heavens. ‘I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain…’

He looks at me, a puddle streaming from his eye. ‘Go on,’ I say. ‘Go on.’

‘What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again.’

The anemometer in the front garden spins off the post. My umbrella turns inside out and the clouds spiral purple heavy. The house windows rattle and I imagine time’s run out to put up the shutters.

All hell breaks loose around the bend, pummeling us with sustained wind speeds high enough to rip off eyelids. ‘SAMMY?’

‘Momma? MOMMA?’

With a whoosh, he blasts towards the part that makes him whole, engulfing his sweet lost self into the tropical force of his mother. The two roar off united and I wave the spines of my umbrella to wish them blue skies.

Sheree Shatsky writes short fiction believing much can be conveyed with a few wild words.   Recent work has appeared in Bending Genres, Virtual Zine, Defenestration and New Flash Fiction Review with work forthcoming at The Runcible Spoon, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and Saw Palm: Florida Literature and Art.

Sheree tweets @talktomememe.