This weeks challenge to write 500 words or less on either/or the following prompt(s):
noun: a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather
The story is 394 words:
Drought. It was everyman’s nightmare. It was his nightmare. It had been his nightmare for nigh unto five season’s, now. It had started with the mushroom shaped cloud upwind of the farm.
From his front porch, he’d watched it rise high into the stratosphere. He’d stood there, frozen in shock while the wall of smoke and debri rolled towards him from the city. The firestorm hadn’t reached them. It had stopped just short of the mighty river that had flowed down out of the mountains. The river, too, was now gone. It was just a ravine filled with the decicated remains of the polluted fish and wildlife that once filled the river with life.
Drought. That’s what they called it, but he knew different. He’d read the old books when he was in school. He’d read about Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Bikini, Chernobyl, and the Love Canal. He’d studied nuclear history. He’d once gone to Washington to protest against the use of nukes. He feared that one day this would happen; that the earth would be stripped of its life. Now, it was.
He stood there, staring into the barren horizon with a stiff jaw and a determined expression. He would see that this drought would end. He had led the Petrichor Project that would seed what remained of the clouds so that they would produce moisture and water the earth. He’d even named the project. A name that would remind all of them what it was that they sought. A name that would remind them what the earth had smelled like right after a good spring shower. Yes, the REMS had fallen to acceptable levels. It was time.
Shielding his eyes, he looked up, watching the eastern sky. Soon, he would hear the chugging of the old plane’s engine. He would see the pilot open the great plane’s belly and spill out the seed that would create the storm. Soon, he thought.
Then, it was there ~ the plane.
He watched the plane’s belly open. The large cylinder roll to the edge.
The large cloud gathered up the dust of the earth and rose high – higher and higher past the clouds.
The shockwave hit, with nothing in its path, it gathered momentum, seeking out fuel for it’s fire.
He smiled. Petrichor… he smelled it.
‘But at what cost?’
His body melted into dust.