Another Way to Go

He stood on the walkway, the grass bending in the breeze around him as the storm approached. Clouds boiled upward a hundred thousand feet into the sky, amber and white, a black maw beneath them stretching past the shoreline and out over the ocean.

He pulled the stack of boards from under the porch and hammered them over the windows. He was old. The wood was heavy and the storm was fast. He moved the furniture from the porch into the living room, except for the couch swing, which was too heavy for him.

The wind whipped his clothes, slapping his cheek with the collar of his jacket. He was ready now. He stood in his yard watching it move toward him and then the black maw was upon him and the tower of boiling clouds, amber and white, were above the maw where he couldn’t see.

He lifted the door to the cellar and stepped into the darkness, into the musty earth and small creatures and the absence of wind. The bolted door rattled as it held back the howl from above. In the darkness he reflected on his life and the people he had loved or disliked or had been indifferent to. He remembered his dogs and his cars, eleven of each over the years. His wife, the only one. The wind gusted and screamed. From upstairs came the sounds of shattering glass and of the wind shifting as it forced its way into the kitchen. He turned on the ceiling bulb that had been there for all the years he could remember, hardly used, still incandescent. From behind the washing machine the water came, as he knew it would. It flowed around the washer searching for his feet and began to rise slowly.

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