Flash: Climate Clashes

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Thunder snow woke her. “Do you have to be so noisy?” Lynnsie muttered.


The deep male voice startled the older woman, making her shift the blanket snow had tucked around her before the children continued on their way. She blinked against the dark afternoon, making out large form at the bottom of her steps. “Ah, it’s you.”

“Expecting anyone else today?” The man brushed the light snow coating the handrails with one gloved hand. Behind him, the winter storm clouds boiled high, driving sleet and wet snow into the man’s back and making her one-lane road impassible.

“Not hardly.” Lynnsie moved the cover from around her shoulders to her lap. Seeing the other about to take her steps, she attempted to stand, “You might want to stay there.”

“You should know by now, I never stay where you want, old woman.” He took the steps, and the glaze left behind by ice promptly removed his feet from the painted wood. He fell heavily on the crust the winter storm built on her lawn.

“I was going to get salt.”

The black-hair man growled as he got his hands and feet beneath him, the wet damaging his expensive leather gloves and boots.

Lynnsie sat back down. “But, since you haven’t learned manners yet, I think I will let things go.”

“It’s not your world anymore,” the man said pushing himself vertical. “Things are changing. Manners don’t matter anymore than controlling the worst weather can bring. Everyone safe inside their sealed homes.” This time he took the stairs with caution.

“Sealed homes won’t help against the worst weather can bring.” Lynnsie smiled sadly, watching the man approach, feet sliding, pushing little mounds of white fluff left when snow had tucked her in. The sleet joined him on the porch, crusting the fluff and creating icicles on the eaves of the house. “Our mother’s nature is as big as life and death, and four walls and a roof won’t hold her back when she starts tossing fits because you and those like you lack manners.”

“Manners.” he sneered snapping the longest icicle off, a good eight-inch point, thick enough for him to hold firmly.

“Yes, manners,” she responded firmly. “Helping out in the house. Taking care of your neighbors. Asking before using things. Putting things back. Keeping things clean. Don’t waste food and resources, like leaving the water running so there is no heat for showers. Saying please and thank you.”

“Okay, let me try it out.” The man pierce Lynnsie with the dagger of frozen water. “Thank you for not running.”

“Good boy. There might be hooo…” The light left the old woman’s eyes.

“Hmm. That wasn’t so bad.” The man wiped the lingering frost from his gloves before pulling out the list. “Who’s left to remove?”

The wind tried to tear the list from his fingers for a look, until he batted the gossip back. He didn’t need the others to be warned. If climate change was going to take, the other keepers of the old ways needed to be removed. He sucked in the frozen air and sleet, feeling the coal smog lacing the wet, giving him strength. Only four more to go before the see-saw of extreme weather would become permanent. He stepped off the porch into the driving thunder and sleet storm, disappearing from view.

(Words 558; First published 6/24/2018)