Fear, focus, and the future. Here, C.M. Humphries writes about whatever.
This morning wasn't going to be easy, but no one expected it to be so difficult. One perk to living in a private community is the isolation from the rest of the word, and a little of the rural freedoms such as immaculateness and seclusion. However, these very benefits are anything but fortuitous once winter solstice proceeds. In other words, little things like road conditions can stand in your way. Normally the area is cleared, but this year we dropped the ball for sure. The high school that never closes closed. Snow plows were stuck in ditches.
And so was I. Everything's fine and the car checked out. The bad part is, I was supposed to work this morning. No matter what I do in life, if I agreed or am scheduled to appear, I do.
Since I'm reluctant to let this day of productivity go to waste, I think I'm going to start up a blog story. Between the threat of armageddon that never flourished and the man-we-thought-this-was-going-to-be-bad-but-not-this-bad weather, I found inspiration.
I don't know what this going to be, but it's going to be something. If you want to write one of the sections, just hit me up.
Otherwise, here we go . . .
"Armageddon, as Expected" - Part I
I. The Face in the Trees
Before the devil stepped foot on the Earth, an unexpected winter storm crossed over the countryside of Raven's Crook. The far south side of Raven's Crook, Chase county was a barren place with few buildings, few roads, and even fewer people. Whenever winter solstice came around, the roads were bad at first - but never this bad.
Around eight in the evening, the mild day darkened. Soon, an ominous wintry presence devoured the land. First it was just the winds; people sailing into ditches from the icing roads and schools closing in a pessimistic advance, and these same schools rarely closed before since the first brick settled into the ground. It wouldn't close it's door even when it really needed to. A school closing early the evening before the expected brush of wintry mix should have been enough of a premonition to keep me home. But I was a stupid as those whom I condescended.
Next it was a white sprinkle, something annual and at worst pretty. My car warmed up and shivered minutes to eight pm, as I sipped on now cold coffee and waited to head out. In case it wasn't already obvious, her name was Jade and I saw her as a real gem. Haha. For the first time in years, Jade said yes to a date, and I had a big night planned out for us. Interrupting my daydream, my roommate Allen stomped over to me and said, "Are you really planning on going out there?"
And my dumb-ass said "yes".
8:15pm and the weather changed. The rain still remained. The flurries still remained. But there was also ice in the mix, as though God's ice-skates were cracking the frozen rink of Heaven, and letting boulder-size chunks crash onto the Earth. And the wind was worse. The mild day quickly turned to the worst of winter. This year, winter was right on time. This date - 12-21, the world did not end as some feared it would've. As for me and most of the others, we kinda wished it did.
But given the roads conditions, I wasn't too sure. Ahead of me on some desolate county road, a white dust storm cloaked my way. Someone erased this scene from my life . . . or never sketched it in. A cartoon missing a catalyst for conflict.
Nevertheless, I continued driving to see Jane, who was anxiously awaiting my car parked alongside the sidewalk in front of her house. Wheels sliding across the crystalline back roads, the car tiptoed to the first stop sign. So long as I made it off of the county roads, I felt secure.
The highway up ahead, though, displayed no sign of maintenance. Despite the two snow plows up a few hundred feet, the roads were slick and padded by snow in such a way one would assume they'd never been touched. No matter what the meteorologists reported, the whisper of caution was silenced by the snap of winter wind.
Even on the highway my wheel spun, and I no longer had control of my car. One sudden stomp on the breaks and I saw myself soaring off the edge of a ditch. One sharp turn and I imagined my car rolling through the fields.
No sooner than I imagined all these things, they came to life.
The plow closest to me took a sharp turn, one unnatural to regular driving, and it tore not only the ice from the ground but also the pavement on its way into a deep culvert. Panicked, I tapped my steering wheel to the right since braking would surely bring disaster. My attempt to dodge the plow made very little difference, and in fact, provided the same outcome. Arms tight as I fought to regain control, my car slid from one lane right into another within mere seconds, and the left side of my car ended up facing the bottom of a ditch.
Was it time to let go? Cocking the wheel to the side and giving the accelerator my fullest efforts, the car roared and barged right through a snow drift, out of the ditch, and back onto the road. Like clockwork, my cell phone jingled the moment I turned back around on the highway, determined to see Jade.
A flame broke through the darkness and danced with the snowfall, although the flakes were too much for the fire. Fighting the crooked wind, I wrestled with the wheel and tried to cover the lighter enough to light my cigarillo again. Up ahead, some sort of chilling mist swept over the woods ahead of my house. A poisoned moon glowed green from the mist and consumed the area with the help of a whiteout.
With my eyes still trained on the tainted woods ahead, I thought about Jade. How after I battled with the storm, she canceled out. She didn't want to shovel her driveway or something. Maybe she said it was too cold. She never mentioned trying to go out, and once she said the words " . . . maybe another night . . . ", I didn't care about anything at all.
So I stood there in thought, puffing too hard on my small cigar to compensate for the futile cherry. And I kept staring at the woods as dark shadows danced beneath the green clouds. Then I saw one shadow flash by in particular. I stepped towards the edge of the deck, closer to the woods.
And the shadow flashed over my shoulder. I was sure of it. But when I turned around, there was nothing unusual. All of the shadows now seemed natural. That one shadow still unnerved me, though. Snatching a branch from the yard, I drew what I just saw. It was a narrow shadow, something pointed like the trees of a haunted forest or creep show. The shadow also had arms like branches, only they reached out for me, extending into cracked an crooked daggers.
I started to draw a face. There was something slanted at the top of the shadow like eyes. I could swear I saw the point of a chin. Something sharp about the head of the shadow, something like horns. I drew everything I could remember, even if the pieces didn't go together. When the snow portrait was finished, I knew exactly what I saw. Whatever crept past me was either the strangest moment of paranoia, or it was something that belonged to the devil. The world never ended. A storm distracted us. And the devil roamed freely around the Earth, doing whatever it was a devil would want to do.
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Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.