Summer Storm Clouds

Written by Sonora for the game Fire Starter, Writing Prompt #23

I can still picture it: the tiny upturned corner of my mother’s smile.

I remember clinging onto her skirts, wobbly like a newborn calf, as she milked the cows. She was always humming. Her hands quick and gentle as she patted rumps and churned butter. I was scared of those cows, and would hide between the rough creases of her dress.

My mother would coo at me, and hold me tight to her chest when the storms came. She told stories when smoke blew in from the fields. And I still remember her deep voice singing as angry men shouted from outside the barns.

There was only one time when her smile faltered. Her lips fell into hard lines and deep edges and her brows furrowed like storm clouds.

“You let my baby be.”

And the men’s hands ripped me free from the safety of her skirt folds, dragged me wailing through the dirt and onto the road. I remember distant shouting. I remember my mother’s voice striking lightning bolts in the morning air–getting further and further away until the sound of the birds drowned her out.

But then I force back my tears, and remember the tiny, upturned corner of her smile.