Lightning Never Strikes Thrice
Here is another episode of The Dark Scent of Rain, albeit a bit late. I missed September (and October, too); there was too much going on to write!
As a final effort to see if this story has any interest for Medium readers, I’m not going to put this episode behind a paywall. I’d like to see if the story and/or the format (or something else) is the problem causing the lack of readers. If there is no interest (or minimal interest) here, I’ll probably pull the story and put it out on Kindle Vella. That may not be the answer either, but I don’t have much to lose at this point. And if you’ll only read it if it’s not behind a paywall, let me know! Nothing is cast in stone!
If this is your first time here and haven’t read the previous parts of The Dark Scent of Rain, you can find them here:
Part I: Between a Worm and a Wet Place
Part II: Trouble Comes in Threes
Part III: Waiting for Artificial Stars to Align
Part IV: In for a Penny, in for a Pounding
Part V: Up a Creek
Part VI: Playing a Game of Worm and Girl
And so, for now, continue on to…
The Dark Scent of Rain — Part VII: Lightning Never Strikes Thrice
The worms were circling around the tractor, one on each side. Their movements indicated they knew prey was nearby but were uncertain of its location. Caitlyn, atop the small tractor, tried not to shift her body unnecessarily or make any sounds the worms might detect. She considered jumping over them and running, but the thick leaves made it impossible to see what was beneath. The foliage might hide another worm — or a worm hole. Neither would make an ideal landing spot. Worse yet, the storm was moving in. The soft rumble of thunder rolled over the fields.
Caitlyn looked to the sky. The morning weather data had the roughest part of the storm moving in much later in the day. The lack of sensors was no longer a trivial matter; this could get her killed. Although the tractor was small, standing on the top made her the highest point in the area. There’s nothing like the opportunity to become a human lightning rod to make the adrenaline flow.
The winds began to rise. The storm was moving closer. The thunder grew louder. Sunflower stalks began to move a short distance from the tractor. The likely cause was another worm joining the hunt. Even the largest rats didn’t make that much of a disturbance, and it was unlikely they would be moving to an area where the worms were already present. She felt surrounded. The only options Caitlyn seemed to have involved the possibility of an unpleasant death.
She rose to scan the fields around her looking for a possible path to escape. As she knelt back down, lightning struck precariously close to the tractor. She gripped the metal edges of the tractor hoping not to fall. There were a few raindrops coming in on the wind. They were cold against her skin. As she lifted her head to look upward, a bolt hit close by the tractor again. Caitlyn closed her eyes hoping the storm would pass.
She’d always heard that lightning never strikes twice in the same spot. That was obviously a lie, she decided.
Larger drops began to fall making the smooth metal of the tractor slippery. Caitlyn hunkered down on the machine as much as possible, her fingers grasping at any handhold she could find. She tensed as the hairs on her body stood on end.
Twice, maybe, but three times?
There was an intense flash before it all went dark.
That’s the end of Part VII of The Dark Scent of Rain. Let me know if you enjoy this enough that I should continue this here. And thanks for reading!