Like A Woman Scorned

oopsie!! I just realized I hadn’t posted part nineteen! Sorry!

This is part nineteen of my novel in progress, The Last Grain of Sand. <– Click on the title to read the previous chapters.

Part nineteen: Like A Woman Scorned

As one, Lilly and I moved to Ben and stood one on each side of him; I had my hand on his left shoulder, Lilly had a hand on his right shoulder. We all stared in disbelief at the scene before us, and then, just as I was about to speak… the sun went out.

Well, it seemed that way. I’ve never been so engulfed in the complete absence of light; the darkness was so intense it felt as though it had weight, and it seemed to be pressing down on me. I almost fainted when the first flash of lightning appeared to rip the blackness in two. Ben shuddered beneath my hand.

I’d heard a mountain lion scream once, years ago on a camping trip in the Texas hill country, and I’ll never forget the savage angry sound. Unbelievably, the sound of the thunder that tore across the sky immediately following the flash of lightning sounded like that angry cat. No, it sounded like a hundred of them screaming at once.

Rain began to fall in torrents, and we could do nothing but stand there and be pelted by it. The hair on my neck seemed to be tingling, as flash after flash of the jagged lightning jabbed at the ground; one to our right was so close I saw chunks of asphalt fly, and the immediate scream of lightning was followed by a hissing sound. A burning odor rushed past us, and I thought it must be what hell would smell like.

The storm raged for what seemed forever, but in reality it lasted only a few minutes. It ended with one last weak flutter of lightning, followed not by the screaming that sounded like a pride of mountain lions, but more like a fading snarl from a lone straggler. When the sun came back, the ditches beside the road were running full, and the road glistened with moisture. We had to shield our eyes from the glare.

The road ahead of us was empty.

Ben looked up at me, turned his gaze on Lilly, then looked down the road again. “I think God is mad,” he said. His tone of voice was calm and matter of fact.

Lilly looked over at me, water still streaming down her face, and her eyes wide. I couldn’t tell if what I saw in her eyes was excitement or fear. Maybe it was both.

I gave Ben’s shoulder a light squeeze and said, “That didn’t sound anything like what I imagine God would sound like.”

He seemed not to accept my offering of what I considered to be encouragement, and looked up at Lilly to see what she had to say about the situation.

Lilly wiped water from her face with one hand and shook her head side to side. “He’s right, Ben. God might be angry at this world, but that was not him screaming.”

Ben looked down the road again, and after a half minute or so, said, “Gramps said the devil would scream like a woman scorned when his time was almost done.” He paused for another few seconds then added, “I never heard a scream from a scorned woman—not even sure what a woman scorned is—but that was one scary sound.”

“It was close,” I said. I felt Lilly’s blue eyes boring into the side of my head, but didn’t dare look at her.

Ben spoke again. “Were those mountain lions sitting in the road, before that… storm hit?”

I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Sure looked like it to me.”

Lilly said, “Yes… and no.”

Ben and I both turned our heads and watched her, waiting for her to explain.

Her blond hair was drying fast in the warm sunlight, and the ends were beginning to frizz. Running her fingers through the short sides of it, she said, “They’re there, but they have no substance; not yet.”

Ben continued to look up at Lilly. “They looked hungry,” he said. He looked back toward where the big cats had been sitting on their haunches staring at us, then back up to Lilly. “Will they eat us when they get real?”

Lilly and I answered the question at the same time, but gave different answers.

“Yes,” I said, my one word colliding with hers. “No,” she said.

Ben stared down the road—it was nearly dry—and after a long moment of thought, decided I was correct, and mumbled, “Great. We’re gonna be cat food.”

Copyright © 2012 C. Mashburn


  1. Abby Kelly said

    Do you realize, I just noticed, after you posted on my blog about “being still” that that is the name of your book? I would love to review it for you and give away a copy on my blog. What do you think? Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insight at, so often!
    God bless.

    • I think that’s a wonderful idea! If you will email me your address, I’ll send you a copy. Or, if you have a Kindle or a Nook, you can buy one for a pretty low price. Let me know how you’d like to do it.

  2. Kirsten said

    Great, Charles 🙂 I loved the part about the hair on the back of your neck tingling. It was sooo real…I could feel the energy of the storm! Look forward to reading more. Keep up the great work…you’re one of my writing heroes! I want to be able to write as much as you do one day!

    • Oh, wow! Thank you, Kirsten! I’m glad you enjoyed this chapter. The “storm” appears in all three locations where the story is unfolding. I tried to make it the same, with subtle differences.
      I appreciate your wonderful comments!

      • Kirsten said

        I’m gonna have to play catch-up…I can’t wait to read 1-18!

      • I’ll be waiting to hear what you think of them!

  3. elizena said

    I’m finally feel well enough to sit up long enough and enjoy a good read and the first thing out of my mouth was, “Oh wowzers!!!” The hair on the back of my neck and my arms stood up and it felt like a cold, wet howling breeze was attacking me. This was one scary chapter Charles! My heart was beating hard and all I could do was tell your characters, “Pray, pray!!” Then the lights came back on and the danger was gone…for now.
    Poor little Ben is getting to different messages, ‘Be afraid!’ and ‘Don’t be afraid’ and apparently he’s decided he should be afraid. Actually my skin is crawling as well. The funny thing, then again not so funny, is that while I was reading this the wind was blowing really hard and some dummy went by honking his/her horn really loud. I almost passed out. LOL! Awesome, awesome chapter! Now on to the next one, before it’s time for my next painkiller. Be blessed my friend and keep writing. PLEASE!

    • Your the first to read and comment on the story in over a week. I have all but decided to suspend the writing of it. I am, so far, unable to get sufficiently fired up about it. When I write a novel, it needs to consume me, and this ones just seems to nibble lazily at my muse from time to time. We shall see.
      But! You do encourage me with your awesome comments, Elizena! Thank you!
      I hope you feel lots better, real soon!

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