© 2011 Rogue

Click. "...tional Weather Service has issued a tornado warning for extre-kkkkkkk-tral and Northeastern Butler County. Skywarn activation is requested."

Well, that's just great. Is that near where I am? Who the hell knows? I don't even know what state I'm in anymore. God damned GPS, useless as teats on a bull.

"A tornado warning mea-kkkkkkk-a tornado is occurring or is imminent. You should-kkkkkkkk-ur tornado action plan and take protective action now."

Thanks for the tip. I should have listened to them and just waited until the storm passed. Would have been nice to have gotten a good night sleep before the big day tomorrow. The way it's going now I won't even get there until morning anyway.

I wonder if I'm even going in the right direction. A damned road sign now and then would be nice.

"kkkkkkk-this station. The National Weather Service is reporting a technical issue with the Doppler Radar that-kkkkkkkkkkkkkk-inpointing the exact location of the tornado, so in the interest of safet-kkkkkkk-be a good idea for anyone in or around Butler County to ta-kkkk-lter immediately."

Finally, a sign! First one in ten miles. What's it telling me?

Now entering...

... Butler County.

Well. Shit.

"Move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building."

And what if you're driving a car?

"If on the road, abandon your vehicle immediately and take cover in a low-lyin-kkkkkk."

Ow! Damn, that lightning is bright.

No low-lying areas out there. Nothing but flat, maybe a tree or two. What do they want me to do, lie in the mud? Die of pneumonia if the tornado doesn't get me?

Turn around? No way. Nothing back there for fifty miles or more. Maybe I should just pull over and wait it out. Damn, I can hardly see through the rain even with the wipers going full force.

Oh, hey! Here we go! "Gideon's Arms Bed and Breakfast, North Astor. Left at Plainfield Road" Hallelujah! I hope they've got a vacancy. I'll pay anything.

"There are unconfirmed reports of extensive damage in the towns of Hamilton and North As-kkkkkk- in Butler County and in Braydonville in Calhoun County."

What? What the fuck? North Astor? Was that North Astor? Come on, you asshole, give it to me again!

"Stay tuned to this station fo-kkk-eaking news on this very violent storm. Once again, the National Weather Service has iss-kkkkkkkkkkkkk-arning for extreme North Central and Northeastern Butler County. Skywarn-kkkkkkk-requested." Click.

No! Damn you, GPS, why won't you work? Search for a satellite on your own damned time! What the hell did I spend three hundred dollars on?

Calm down. Calm down. There's no telling how far away North Astor is. It may well be twenty miles off, the way things are out here. I'm headed west. If North Astor is a left turn from here then I'm bound to be north of it. Tornadoes move northeast, right? I've probably already passed by it.

Ow! My eyes! Quit it with the lightning already! Shit.

Stop the car? Hell. What if I stop and the car won't start again or gets stuck in the mud? I'll be stranded. No phone reception, nobody around, nearest town is North Astor and that's, what, maybe twenty miles away?

Or maybe it's just two.



Maybe I'll be able to hear the tornado coming if I open the window a little-- ack, no! Crap, now I'm all wet. That was pretty stupid.

Just take it slow. Thirty-five is about right. Maybe a bit less. Yeah. That's it. Just keep the left fender moving along the dotted line. That'll keep you on the road. Nice lines. Veep, veep, veep, veep, veep, nice lines, veep, veep, veep.

Ow! Goddamned lightning! Can't see a thing...

Hey, the lines. Where..?



What the hell happened to the road? I didn't see any signs.

What is this, a wall? Something fell across the road? An overturned truck, maybe? No, it can't be a truck. It's black as hell, whatever it is. A tree? Big-ass tree if it is.

Maybe I can go around it? Crap. No. Stupid tree.

Or is it a tree? Wish the rain would let up a little so I could see. No, it can't be a tree. That isn't bark. It looks, it's looks like...looks like...

...It looks like fur.


Holy shit. It's...

It's a foot.

It's a goddamn foot.

It's someone's goddamn foot.

God. Damn.

That's...that's a foot. Sweet Jesus, it's a giant foot. It goes all the way across the freaking road. That's an ankle. I swear that's an ankle. I can see a calf up there. Big. Thick. Too dark -- I can't see any farther.

Ow! Flash!

I can see him.


He's standing over me.

Oh God. I hope he doesn't look down.

Pleased don't look down.

Does he see me? Please, God, don't let him see me. Don't let him look down.

He's looking at me. I just know it, I feel it, I should get out and run but then he'll spot me for sure just stay put don't scream don't move don't scream please God help me this can't be happening please God don't let him look down.


AH! It moved! He's moving. Heel going up. Asphalt crunching under toes.

Don't move a muscle.




No, not thunder. Definitely not thunder.


Oh, God.

Is he...

Is he gone? I don't see anything.


That was thunder. I think.

This can't be happening. I could not have seen that. I've been driving too long. Highway hypnosis. Should have stayed and waited out the storm. Deep breaths. Deep breaths. Let's just get going.

No. Can't get going. There's no road ahead. It just drops into a pit.

A pit.

A print.

Flash. Not lightning this time. Wires sparking. He's really there. I can see the silhouette of his legs sweeping through them.

Start the car. Start the car. Why can't I move my hand? Start the car. Got to get out of here! Why can't I move?

Flash! He's there. I can see the town. It's all dark. He's looking down at it.


Please let that just be thunder.


God have mercy on them.

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