Flash Fiction: “The Last Stormcaller”

Oh, the weather outside is frightful… and so’s the daemon controlling it.  Better call your neighborhood weatherman to cast a few counter-spells or else you’ll be needing FEMA real soon.

Enjoy.

The Last Stormcaller, by Alexander Paul Willging

Word Count: 829

Raindrops whipped across Danny Trenton’s face as he skidded to a halt on the pier.  Ancient planks creaked beneath his feet as he stared up at the oncoming storm.

The clouds advancing onto San Ignacio Harbor were black and heavy—an entire mountain range of precipitation, rumbling with barely-contained thunder.  Below them, the Pacific Ocean was choppy, throwing up waves against the pier and splattering over the abandoned boardwalk.  No chance of continuing today’s carnival. No Procession of the Saints tomorrow—not unless Danny could do something about it.

But fuck me, thought Danny as he reached into his jacket, what can I do against that?

His fingers tightened on the amulet under his t-shirt.  A gold coin, caked with dried blood and fresh dirt from the parking lot at San Ignacio High School.  That was all an amulet needed—blood from the one who carried it and dirt from the place it was meant to protect.  But amulets were good for cheap tricks, like conjuring up a little rain and snow in July.

Danny Trenton knew a thing or two about sorcery.  He knew all about the water cycle and the ancient heroes who could bend it to their will.  But he was no Stormcaller.  Just some smartass kid in a jacket and blue jeans, too dumb not to run back inside when the storm showed up.

“Well,” he whispered past a mouthful of rain and wind, “guess I don’t have much of a choice…”

Gulping down some of that rain, Danny smiled.  He let the wind buffer him and pressed both hands over his amulet.  The storm continued to advance, slowly gathering speed and strength.

And then he Spoke.

From deep within his chest, Danny found his true voice.  The primordial Voice upon which all sorcery is founded.  And he let it Speak through him to the heart of the storm.

I give you a name,” said the Voice through Danny Trenton.  “I name you Thor.  I name you Zeus Brontios.  I name you Perun.  I name you the Wild Hunt.

A streak of blinding light filled the skies, followed by the deafening tiger-roar of thunder.

The Voice was making Danny’s ears ring and his throat burn, but he let it Speak.  “I know you and I do not fear you.  I want to ease your suffering.  To share your pain.  Let me in.”

Another flash, another snarl from above.  The rain pounded at the harbor and the choppy waves grew taller.  Almost defensive.

Now the amulet around Danny’s neck began to tingle.  He was soaked through to the bone and deathly cold, but the amulet was only growing warmer.  A pleasant warmth, a spiritual warmth like his first kiss or graduation day.  Danny held onto that warmth as the Voice prepared its next words.

This one will share your pain,” the Voice declared.  “This one will give you peace.  Let us in, mighty Thor.  Let us in, Zeus Astrapios.  Let us in, Great Perun.  Let us in, ye Wild Huntsmen.”

The storm did not challenge the Voice coming through Danny’s lips.  The rain and the wind continued as before.  But slowly, they began to abate.  Inch by inch, the rain decreased.  Knot by knot, the wind eased up.  To Danny’s eyes, the waters were still rolling fierce, but they weren’t attacking the boardwalk like a pack of rabid dogs anymore.  The waves kept their distance.

The warm feeling in his amulet grew stronger.  Danny held on tight as he felt something move inside the storm.  Something huge and old.

In his mind’s eye, he saw the storm as an old man in a tunic, striking at the ground with his walking stick.  He saw it as an angry teenager, sullenly spitting at the ground and flipping him the bird.  He saw it as a crying child, lost and terrified in a crowd of strangers.  It was all these things and none of them.  A cheap metaphor for the truth behind the storm.

An element of nature who’d simply lost its way.

Danny wanted to give it a home.  He pictured his hands pulling the amulet open like a door.  In his mind’s eye, there was a silhouette beckoning the storm inside.  Yes, come in, weary traveler.  Lay down your burdens with me…

The elemental inside the storm heard the offer.  Danny could tell by the way his heart suddenly grew tight.  He dropped to his knees.  For one irrational moment, he wondered if this was how he was meant to go.  A heart attack on a stormy day, just like Uncle Jake the day after he retired.

But the pain was short-lived.  Danny felt the elemental breach the warm barrier of his amulet and disappear.

With labored breath, he forced himself to look up and smiled at the pale gray skies and the dark churning waters.  He was soaked and numb, but deliriously happy.

He supposed there was one Stormcaller left in San Ignacio after all.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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