A Tropical Depresion
Dying to get home
It started with one of those weird feelings you get when the atmosphere is just right; it was. The full moon spilled its rays through the Cypress trees, illuminating the Spanish moss that haunts their branches creating vivid halos around each dripping strand. The moon itself was of an ominous hue, like a backlit cue ball over a black velvet sky. Turkey vultures circled overhead, signifying that there must be something giving them cause to leave their utility-pole roosts down the road. A lightning storm was putting on a strobe light exhibition in the sky behind me to the west, as its thunderhead made its way towards mainland from the Gulf. Within the hour, it should be above me. I dropped my bike about a mile back and cracked the master cylinder. I was tired, broke…and lost. I felt stillness in the air as I reached the sign before me that read, “Welcome to Largo. “
It had to be near three AM, the streets were empty, except for me. A retention pond I passed along the way sat eerily still, as the only sound I heard was a shuffling in the brush. I looked around; saw nothing, and continued my advancement at a much more hurried pace. The disturbance from the west began to hurl its notice of arrival through the form of accelerating winds whistling through the trees. The rustling of the windblown leaves startle me at first, until I see them scurry past, as if on tiny feet. They crash against each other, pause, and then proceed in their retreat from the closing storm behind us. A siren in the distance up ahead offers indication that at least I’m not alone. As the sound fades in the distance the eeriness returns in the form of silent winds, carrying salty mists of stale air blown in off the coast.
While passing Gothic looking mini-mansions left in disrepair, I wondered how I had been led off track, and where I was. The slapping of an unattended shutter and the creaking of a rooftop weather vane at least gave signs of one time human occupation. It was the lack of any light along the road that made me feel ill at ease. I continued eastward and came upon a cemetery entrance gate whose fence, it seemed, would run at least a quarter mile adjacent to my path. Pitted granite headstones caught recurring rays of moonlight to enhance their definition in the night. As I moved on, the rows of granite crosses were replaced with larger structure forms of gated mausoleums. A gust of wind, now stronger than before, brought with it the first precipitation. Then in conveyor belt accordance the pellets from the sky closed in, as gusts had turned to gales of Mother Nature’s less than passive side. I jumped the cemetery fence and sought shelter from the rain.
A sharp pain hit me in the chest, just before I found my shelter on the east side of a cryptic structure with a receding archway. When I reached into my inner coat breast pocket to pull out a cigarette, I looked down at my hand and noticed blood. After sensing dampness on my shirt, I looked beneath it to expose a rusty steel rod impaled in my chest whose presence I only could conclude had been established from the time I dropped my bike. It protruded, by what I perceived to be, a quarter inch on the exterior of my chest. I poked it and felt a piercing in my inner torso; the intense pain would not allow me to sense the true location of where the actual point of puncture had been placed. I knew then to leave the thing alone. I lit my cigarette, and through the means of inhalation deduced, from the smoothness of the draw, that at least the object wasn’t in my lung. The storm raged overhead. The lightning lit the graveyard with its tropical recurrence that when followed by the cackle of the thunder, seconds later, left its jolt within my chest. I don’t know how I managed not to notice I was wounded as I walked along the road before the storm had hit.
So now, here I sit, in the recess of a mausoleum doorway with a steel rod implanted in my heart. If I pull it out, I die. If no one finds me, my fate is still the same. I hope this guy had friends that visit him, if you’re reading this … he did. Tell my son I love him. God…I hate Florida.
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