Oops (Flash Fiction)

The plow ripped the soft ground like shark teeth through flesh. Bob pushed the tractor harder as ripening clouds blocked the setting sun. The wind gathered strength and lashed at the trees while birds fled from their swaying limbs. The dark clouds, singed with deep purples and reds, grew darker.

“Damn,” Bob said as the first spatters of rain hit the cab. He bumped up the throttle a bit and switched on the lamps. He shook his head and thumbed at his phone. “Where the hell is this coming from?” There was no mention of foul weather in the 5 day forecast, no severe storm warnings coming across the wires. The rain fell harder.

There was a moment, one so small and brief that Bob would never remember it having happened, where he almost stopped. Turn it in, he thought. Give up. There’s no sense in fighting the weather. Any good farmer knows that. But it was too late.

The plow clawed its metal fingers at something unseen and unknown in the soil. Bob was tossed from his seat and hit the steering wheel chest first. The tractor lurched to the right. He pressed both feet to the brake and the engine stalled. The rain rattled at the metal roof. A long roll of thunder embraced the wind.

Bob climbed out and was ankle-deep in dirt quickly turning to mud. He squinted through the thickening darkness at the tractor hitch. A flash of lightning showed him more than he cared to see, bent metal, torn cables, dark fluids spilling to the ground. The right side of the plow had dislodged a thick, black stone that now pointed to the air. Bob rounded the far side for a better look.

The falling rain covered the world in a dark gloss. Bob’s body froze as he watched thick blood course from the stone. Not real, can’t be real, it’s just the rain. The ground shook below him. He stumbled and fell onto the plow. A bolt of lightning struck and a fiery hole opened up, swallowing the bleeding rock. Bob watched orange cracks finger away in all directions. He ran. The mud sucked the shoes from his feet. The storm soaked him through and through. He ran towards the tiny beacon of hope that beamed from his porch.

He burst open the back down winded and wet and covered with mud. His wife looked up from the kitchen with a start. “Well what in tarnation!?”

Bob waved a hand at her. “Storm,” he puffed. “Tractor. Big fuckin’ rock. Lightning. The ground!”

She gave him a crossed look. “Well I heard the thunder well enough,” she said. She turned back to chopping at celery. “Do you think there’s a tornado in the works?”

Bob looked through the window to his field. An orange canyon of fire was being born before his eyes. His tractor fell in. “Tractor’s gone,” he said.

“Well now, don’t be so dramatic.” She dropped the celery into the pot. “I’m sure the tractor’s fine. It’s not the end of the world or anything.”

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