Storm Clouds

Lori sat on the lush grassy hilltop beyond the creek that wound its way through her grandfather’s back yard. The autumnal equinox wasn’t for another week, but already the air was cooling and the light breeze carried the white fluffy seeds of cattails. For awhile she simply enjoyed the uninterrupted chance to let the sun warm her scuffed knees and freckled forearms. Her grandfather was splitting logs near the shed, and she watched with a hypnotic fascination each swing of the ax, followed a brief but measurable moment later by the crisp sound of steel against hawthorn.

When he was finished, her grandfather set down the ax and came to meet Lori on the hilltop. She stopped twirling her hair long enough to accept the bag of strawberries he’d brought her. She ate them too fast and resumed her hair twirling.

“Storm clouds are coming in,” he told her, pointing behind her with a tanned and wrinkled arm like brown butcher’s paper. She rolled over onto her stomach, kicking her feet into the air. Sure enough, she saw the storm clouds closing in, sharp angled Platonic solids against the blue sky. The charcoal colored pyramids and cubes swelled up and broke into fractal pieces that grew into full size clouds themselves.

Lori watched the storm clouds gather and multiply, never worried about being caught in a downpour. Her grandfather was well-off—her mother had told her so—and he always paid the premium to save the rain for the nighttime hours. The microscopic robots in the sky followed the rules to maintain their allowance, just like Lori. No, it wouldn’t rain this afternoon. She twirled her hair round and round and her grandfather fell asleep in the afternoon sun.

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