Booms

A short, short story. True events up until the end.

 

“Is that thunder?” Jane asked. She and Sam had just noticed the booming sounds off in the distance, toward the south.

“I dunno. Maybe it’s the fireworks at Disney,” Sam said.

Jane glanced at her watch. “It’s only a quarter past eight. Those don’t start until nine or nine thirty.”

Several more booms echoed sporadically.

Jane and Sam were sitting around the fire pit in their backyard, roasting marshmallows in the dwindling twilight. It was a rare activity in central Florida, but the sub forty degree temperatures called for it on this night.

“It could be that bridge over the interstate. It’s just past the neighborhood on that side, you know,” Jane said.

“Then why did we only start hearing it a few minutes ago?”

Jane shrugged. “Maybe we just didn’t notice it.”

“We would have noticed it. It’s too loud not to have noticed.”

While Sam spoke, the booming started again. Five or six of them right in a row.

“Is it getting closer?” Jane wondered.

“I can’t tell. Maybe.”

They both became still.

Listening.

The only other sound was the scratching of squirrels chasing each other among the branches overhead.

More booms.

“It’s got to be thunder,” Sam said, “it sounds just like it.”

“There’s not a cloud in the sky, though. The rain chance was zero today.”

“Well . . . ” Sam’s thought trailed off. He had no other explanation. As if to mock his ignorance, the booming began once again. They both looked off to the south. There was the glow from the lights of the city, but other than that it was just the empty, darkening sky.

“It’s definitely closer, Sam.” Jane’s voice now had a tinge of worry in it. Sam picked up on it. He placed his hand on her knee. “If this is the end, darling, just know that I’ve always loved you,” he said in his best Italian accent.

She smiled. His joke eased her, but only slightly. Two more of the deep, pounding sounds shot her anxiety right back up.

“Okay, seriously, what is that?” she asked.

“Why don’t we just put out the fire and go inside. We’re not going to come up with an answer, and we won’t be able to hear it in the house. We’ll forget all about it in a few hours.”

Jane agreed. Sam dumped the bucket into the fire pit until it there were only a few smoldering coals left. They watched the smoke rise, picked up their chairs and headed back into the house. Several more booms went off behind them. Jane continued on, but Sam turned around for one last look, just in time to see the giant horns emerging from the horizon.

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