Dani’s story “The Great Flood” has been published in Fiction International issue #48: Fluids. Read the snippet below and purchase your own copy at Fiction International!
The Great Flood
Later they will tell us it was a squall line. Later still, they will call it the Great Flood of 1993. But now the thunderstorms form in a finger snap, fanning across the plains from the Missouri to the Mississippi. Clouds web together and darken. Warm air rises to coat cool air, choking it, squeezing out its condensation. Electric charges spark and stammer in quick breaths like nervous lovers. The pressure increases.
Animals are always the first to sense a storm. Stray cats seek refuge in cracked drainage ditches while collared housecats slink under couches and mildewed porch steps. Dogs press against chain link fences. Deer cock their heads behind sagebrush, wondering at the quick darkness and the wind that now shivers against their crouched flanks. Spiders cling to flinging webs. Ticks tuck into trees while half-blossomed leaves fold against the branches.
The wind gathers strength, muscling hay across tilled fields. Soybeans flatten against the dirt and cornstalks bend like cattails. Horses prick their ears, bodies coiled, ready to burst across the dust and away from the clouds, toward the splintered blue sky. Cows moan, low and heavy, behind wooden fences.
Thousands of people in the postage stamp corner of South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska pause with the atmosphere’s intake of breath. They wait, unmoving, before the air releases its first sonic boom. Televisions blink off, then on again. Fingers clutch chair arms, countertops, steering wheels, other fingers. Chests tighten and release like accordions. Heads turn to windows; eyes look up to the curdled sky.