Cloud to Ground by Sheldon Lee Compton
Sheets of rain toss the husband’s vehicle. It’s a hard surprise rain trying to beat dents into the earth. Every second that passes, the upper mantle could reverse bloom and open wide to take in the husband and everything else. She gathers hope like wildberries. She gathers hope like fistfuls of gorgeous chicory. She hides it away and waits. Skyward, all is calm, but, unseen, the floating breath of the cosmos makes a subtle shift and the husband’s vehicle shifts, too. And there it is, zaffre blue lightning after the still moment inside the stratosphere and the collapsing of clouds. Russet puddles oiled red move beneath the husband’s face while she feeds herself with hope. Another still moment above the clouds and then the first and final pounding of thunder, the wailing of a scorched universe. Starving, she will cry soon.
Sheldon Lee Compton is the author of three books, most recently the novel Brown Bottle (Bottom Dog Press, 2016). His stories can be found in WhiskeyPaper, decomP, New World Writing, PANK, Monkeybicycle, DOGZPLOT, and elsewhere. He was cited in Best Small Fictions 2015 and Best Small Fictions 2016.