The lightning was close now. Too close to ignore.
He sighed, looked around his little world and tried to imagine what was waiting for them in the next few hours – and he didn’t like what he saw. “Dina, you’d better go below now.”
By the tone in Henry’s voice she knew this was a command – yet she stood her ground. “No, I will stay with you,” she said, reaching out and taking his hand.
The feel of her skin on his was pure electricity now, her love palpable in the darkness – like something he felt hovering beyond the uncertainty pacing back and forth within the growling wind. She was knowledge, and knowledge is strength. The same old story, he thought. Every storm is a teacher, right?
A stroboscopic series of blue flashes split the night as fire services and EMS went racing by, headed for the port and the leading edge of the storm; Henry flipped on the radar and tried to measure the distance to the leading edge. He used the cursor and mapped out the distance – eight miles – and then knew that was that, the wait was over. The storm was making landfall – right now – and so the fuel storage tanks would soon be feeling the first impacts of 180 knot winds. He looked to the southwest and saw the writhing snakes, so guesstimated a bearing and placed the closest waterspout on the radar display. “Just about there,” he murmured.
“What?” Anton asked as he came into the cockpit.
“The waterspouts are just about on top of the fuel storage yard.”
The aviator nodded and turned to look at the sky.
“How about some juice?” Dina asked, her voice a life preserver. When everyone nodded she ducked below, then started passing up plastic cups full of fresh squeezed OJ, and Taggart watched her little ballet with more than a sense of wonder. Everything she had done since Amsterdam she had done out of strength – and with Love. Was that what had attracted him in the first place? Had he seen this moment coming back in May?
Because right now he was almost sure that he had.
Britt and Rolf – and that fiercely glowing lump in his breast – had taken him from the uncertainty of his voyage to the sheer certainty of her Will – and yet everything since had been leading them all to this moment, to this confrontation.
‘Because every storm is a teacher,’ he repeated. ‘Right, Dad?’
Then – ‘Dina is my storm, my teacher,’ he realized as he watched her come up the companionway steps. Their eyes met. They never wavered, never once looked away, even as the feelings of strength and love returned. Then she nodded – just once – when she saw understanding in his eyes.
Another flash. A few seconds passed – then the deep rumble of thunder still a few miles distant.
He drank his juice, marveled at the simple strength contained in this magic liquid…
Just as more lightning hit. A massive, prolonged volley – the following thunder sounding more like a burst of rifle shots not even a second later – then he saw a billowing mushroom of boiling flame rising over the port area, and the tank farm.
Within seconds the blast wave hit, sending Time Bandits reeling and knocking Mike and Rolf off their feet, and yet this first blast was only a precursor to the second, much larger wave that hit seconds later. Henry instinctively turned away from the searing heat – just as the wave of the storm hit –
A searing pain in his chest announced the arrival of the first hot gusts, and he watched the outside air temperature readout leap from 118 to 135 Fahrenheit, just as scalding rain began slamming into exposed skin. Henry looked at the fabric awning that covered the cockpit and wondered if it would hold up to this assault – while Mike and Rolf leapt to get under its protective embrace.
“Yeow!” Mike yelled, holding up his arm while he inspected the rising welts. “This shit is hot, Henry. I mean, like, really hot.”
Anton held his hand out and quickly pulled it back under cover. “This not right, Genry. Something very wrong here…”
But his words were cut off by another blast from the port – just as a writhing, snakelike tornado came into view – now just a few hundred yards away and heading right for them.
© 2020 adrian leverkühn | abw | this is a work of fiction, pure and simple; the next element will drop soon.