King of Storms: Part 9

The thing faded into the storm and disappeared. Between the darkness and the possibility that its body might have been nothing more than falling rain, I didn’t know whether it had teleported away or simply ceased to be.

Either way, the rain changed from a downpour to nothing in the space of ten seconds.

As the rain ended, the clouds thinned, letting the sun illuminate the puddles in the road and the mud across the street in the parking lot.

“Wow,” I said.

“Yeah,” Vaughn said. “That’s not exactly how I’d put it. He’s probably going to cream me.”

“Seriously?” I asked. “Then why’d you agree to meet him?”

“He might not want to fight me, and, honestly, I don’t like bullies. It’s just a stupid name, but, it’s my name.”

“Is it worth a fight?”

“I don’t know,” Vaughn said, “but I hope so.”

The doors to the school opened and the people we’d seen in the hall started walking out.

“We’d probably better take this to the car,” I said.

Vaughn glanced back. “Yeah.”

Ahead of us, Cassie turned around. “Are you coming or not?”

We followed her, dodging the mud puddles in the parking lot.

When we did pull out in the car, splashing mud as high as the windows and almost getting stuck once, we didn’t actually talk all that much about it.

Cassie dropped me off first, stopping in front of my parents’ house.

“Here?” She asked. “Or did you want me to drop you off at HQ?”

“Here works. I just thought of something though. Vaughn, you’ll have to skip practice with Lee to meet with that guy.”

“I can miss a week,” Vaughn said.

“You’re not going alone,” Cassie said.

“No,” I said. “You’re not.”

* * *

When I called Lee to let him know, Lee said, “Looks like class’ll be at 4:00, wherever the hell Vaughn is on the beach.”

So that’s how Jaclyn, Haley, Daniel, Cassie, Vaughn, Lee and I all ended up on the beach near where Grand Lake met Lake Michigan. I don’t remember who suggested it, but the reasoning was that no tourists visited Grand Lake in March.

Not that anyone would recognize us, we were all in costume anyway. Well, except for Lee, but who knew what the average passerby saw when they looked at him?

The piles of ice and snow at the water’s edge had melted a week ago. Nothing remained of them, leaving only sand and water.

I hoped the sand wouldn’t get into the suit. It couldn’t be good for any of its mechanisms.

As we walked further, I resigned myself to blowing the sand out after we got back.

“I hope this doesn’t last long,” Daniel muttered to me.

“Yeah? I’m surprised you came at all.”

“All of you guys were. It seemed important enough to cut track for. Besides, I can’t avoid Lee forever. I’ve got to figure out how to handle myself when he’s nearby.”

“Is it bad?”

He looked at me. “It’s like standing in the middle of an orchestra where everybody’s out of tune.”

“That could be worse.”

“And every so often one of the musicians decides to take a whack at me with his instrument.”

“Huh.”

“Seriously?” Haley asked.

Daniel nodded. “Very seriously. How did Grandpa manage to work with him for the entire war?”

Just ahead of us, walking next to Jaclyn, Cassie and Vaughn, Lee turned and said, “He blocked it out after a while. The longer he stayed around me, the easier it got.”

“I’m not sure it would be worth it.”

“It was for him,” Lee said. “Trust me on this.” Then he grinned at Daniel, and I got the impression of something really, really big.

Haley glanced at Lee and asked me, “Did you just feel a chill?”

We walked past the largest of the dunes, the one just past the lighthouse and the entrance to the actual Grand Lake that gave the city its name. All the boardwalks were empty. The cottages looked abandoned, but I knew they’d be full come summer.

Three dunes down, we stopped. The nearest cottage stood at the top of the dune and a long wooden staircase. Trees and stalks of dune grass stood around it, some forty feet above us.

It took only seconds before we heard wind blowing across the beach, kicking up sand. I heard rather than felt it hit my armor.

Cassie spat. “It got into my mouth.”

A dark cloud gathered above us, tendrils moving, roiling and expanding like clouds do in one of those fast motion weather videos. In moments, the beach stood in shadow.

I missed the moment when the King of Storms appeared, but suddenly he floated in the sky, slowly descending.

He landed on the beach in front of us, a cloaked, hooded figure. I couldn’t see a face in the darkness under his hood, only lightning and rain.

He stood at least as tall as Daniel. Daniel’s a little over six feet.

At least I assumed it was a he. Between the cloak and the utter lack of a face, I couldn’t know it. I couldn’t necessarily be sure it was human.

“I am the King of Storms. It is good to meet in person. Perhaps we can discuss this matter and come to an agreement. Please introduce your friends.”

“You bet,” Vaughn said, and started going through all the names, stopping when he came to Jaclyn. “Hey, what should I call you? You’ve been procrastinating on a codename forever.”

“Call me Accelerando. I’m not sure I like it, but it’s better than nothing.”

“It’s kind of cool,” Vaughn said.

“It’s a musical term,” Jaclyn said. “I can’t say I wasted nine years of piano lessons now.”

Vaughn also stopped dead when he got to Lee. “And this is… Geez. What should I call you here?”

Lee chuckled. “You don’t need to introduce me. They know a few of my names already.”

The King of Storms stepped back and pointed his hood toward Lee. I’d call it staring except without eyes, it was hard to say. Whatever the case, it was as if he hadn’t even noticed Lee was there until Vaughn pointed him out.

Half a dozen lightning strikes flashed within the cowl. I could hear them crackle.

18 thoughts on “King of Storms: Part 9”

  1. I’m getting a distinct feeling of the supernatural here, or perhaps I should say the superelemental. Nobody really knows where any of these powers come from — maybe they all come from “entities” or “sentient forces” that abound in the universe. Kind of like DC’s superspeedsters and the “Speed Force”: this King of Storms would be the incarnation of weather, and Vaughn’s powers (with which he “impregnated” himself using a device that no one understands) would draw from that.

    (If this idea is correct, then that means there are similar “forces” that are the source for each of the others’ powers as well: King of Thoughts, King of Science, King of Speed, King of Animals, etc. And maybe Lee is actually one of the incarnations as well: King of Combat, or maybe King of Strife….)

    Hg

  2. At least Jaclyn finally settled on a name for herself. Accelerando is from music, I wouldn’t have guessed.

  3. Hg: You’ll know by the end of this storyline, I think.

    Eli: I was wondering if people would notice it and whether or not people might correct my grammar.

    Jonny Nowhere: I like Lee a lot myself.

    daymon: I think it means “speed up” in italian. It’s also the name of a novel by Charles Stross.

  4. Well I’m really behind now. But oh well.

    I love the fact that Lee came with them to meet this guy. “They know a few of my names already.”
    Yeah, that was great. πŸ˜€

  5. Jim: A little DVD commentary request here….

    How do you do that? By ‘that’ I mean how do you write the story so that it literally plays out in my mind’s eye? I can literally feel that “Whaaaaa???” moment when the King of Storms thingie eyeballs “Lee”.

    Also @Johnny Nowhere — Welcome to Legion of Nothing! Enjoy the ride.

  6. Biil you shame me. I didn’t even think of it. lol. πŸ˜› Jonny Nowhere- congrats to you for joining this little group of devout followers of the Legion of Nothing! πŸ˜‰

  7. Bill: The short answer: I don’t know.

    The long answer: A combination of things. Years of reading/writing. Years of game mastering games that were very character and plot oriented as opposed to killing monsters oriented and, more to the point, gave me a (hopefully) good sense of how much description I can give before people get bored.

    Also… Writing for the web is slightly different than writing for print, so while I might give more description in a story normally, I deliberately describe only when I have to on the web. I also make my paragraphs shorter. This is because a computer screen is harder to read (lower resolution) than a book.

    Thus, hopefully when people get to spots where I describe things they really pop out.

    And then of course, there’s also word choice, but that’s more an intuitive thing than anything else. If the word feels right to me, I hope it conveys the right thing to others.

  8. @Jim: I do like your writing style, and I don’t think it really needs much more description, even for print. You should look into getting it printed someday! πŸ™‚ Your style really draws the reader in and gives the feeling that I’m really in the story instead of just reading it, which of course is the goal for any writer. As a writer myself, I can look at your writing and see what I can learn from it, because there’s definitely something there. πŸ™‚

  9. Jim; are you ever gonna put up something through which folks can donate to your serial??

    I don’t know if that’s a ‘sensitive’ topic but I figure since your story really seems to be pulling in an audience, it might be something you want to look into.

  10. Bill: It’s not a sensitive topic. It’s actually a long term plan. That and a couple other things. You’re right in that readership is definitely growing. For whatever reason, it almost doubled in the last four months, most of that happening between January and the end of March. At the same time, it’s not a huge number of people — probably around 80. Could be slightly more.

    I’m not sure when to start with that kind of thing to be honest.

  11. Jim: Only 80? I’m really surprised, I know I’ve been lurking from near the beginning & I really thought it would be much larger by now!
    On the subject of donation buttons, I think you can add one at any time (not to intrusive if its new is they way I would go personally). Though I would advise not plugging it every installment πŸ˜‰

  12. Dood — start with AdSense. It’s easy, and it’ll grow with you. It might make you almost no money right now, but almost none is still more than what you’re getting right now. I have no problem viewing content with ads (as long as they don’t pop up in front of the content and slowly animate themselves, ignoring the close button they include just to bug you) — that’s what pays for TV, and newspapers, and magazines, so I don’t see why it shouldn’t be okay on the Web.

    Hg

  13. XenotheMorph: Well, I don’t know for sure precisely how many. Google Analytics only works for people with javascript turned on. Awstats suggests that it’s more than 100. That being said,I haven’t been advertising or anything. I should. I keep on thinking though that I should redesign the site first… But that takes a while, so I haven’t.

    Hg: I’ve thought about Adsense and Project Wonderful. I’ll just have to make a point of doing it in a way that’s not obnoxious.

    Actually, for what it’s worth, if people do have suggestions for places to promote this I’ll take them.

  14. This line made me laugh SO loud. Nice one!
    “Lee said, β€œLooks like class’ll be at 4:00, wherever the hell Vaughn is on the beach.””

Leave a Reply