This short story, Outback Summer, was first published by One Page Lit Mag however it doesn't seem to be around any more.
Another year of red dust and parched paddocks. Months without precipitation. The days lengthen. Air heats. The sun, unrelenting, rises early and smothers the earth. By noon the topsoil has dried and crumbled. Plant roots struggling through baked peds, wither, unable to locate moisture. The leaves desiccate and drop. Feeding nothing. Flying away with soil on hot gusts.
Days pass. Even the darkness of night brings scant relief. The earth accumulates the sun's heat.
Finally, the hot air grows heavy. Rich with expectation. Clouds, banked at the horizon, are rich balls of grey, promising sweet wet delivery.
The storm builds in the stifling heat. Atmosphere thickens. Anticipating.
A hot breeze brings no relief. It seeks and drags out every drop of moisture.
The world waits on the expanding mass of grey and black and white. Coming.
Under strong gusts, branches buckle. Trees tip.
Then fat sloppy drops fall. One. Two. Three. Onto thirsty ground.
Soil is shattered by the impact. Splashed. Raindrops wound the thin skin of the country. Bruising the crust. Bursting open. Evaporating.
A gale blows. Droplets are torn apart in the heated air, some never reaching the ground. Thick clouds, ripe with raindrops, hold tight as the wind pushes them across the sky like galloping horses.
Full, looking ready to burst, they don’t. Token drips spill, to tease the parched people. Rain holds firm and passes.
The clouds clear. Wind drops to a breeze then a zephyr. The stars shine like a million diamonds on midnight velvet. The warm air clings. Hot. Humid. Heavy.
The storm passes. Another promise broken.
We bake. Alive. The harsh outback holds firm. Only the toughest survive the many broken promises of summer.
November 2017 & February 2019
This is a collection of 8 romantic short stories, all mentioning gemstones. They were written for the Romance Writers of Australia’s annual short story contest between 2008 and 2014. Each story is a tiny pebble—less than 3000 words.
There are no connections between the stories, except for a touch of romance.
You may find birds and vampires, cops and crashes, married couples and young love. Some are serious, some amusing, some crazy madness. I hope you may find a story that suits you.
Available on all ebook sellers.