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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Don't Take Me Back to Kansas

The air outside the gas station clung to our clothes; the humidity stuck our feet to the gravel, and the pressure ground the gears of the stick shift as our car backed out of the station and onto the road back to the highway. The animals behind the station, kept there as a sort of mock tourist attraction, leered as we drove by, a sort of shallow transaction of unease. The highway east and west had not a single other driver but us two in a little silver VW bug. The car drove with obvious resistance, the outside wind pushing it down and holding it against the pavement. In our rear view we saw the first sliver of black along the east horizon. 
With each passing mile, even as we hoped to be driving away from the storm, the cloud ate up the remaining blue, until we were not only seeing it in the rear view, but from the windows, and the windshield. Stretched underneath it was a table of prairie to our north and south. Not a single building, tree, or landmark interrupted the miles and miles of outstretched land. The grass, which had before been a cool yellow-green, had become a grey mirror of the sky.
About 23 miles past the station, we heard the first guttural burst of thunder. It crept through the sealant of the windows and echoed in the car. Its strength could not be compared to that of its sister lighting, though, with her blinding white tails painting the black canvas. They pounded and wrestled out of the sky, with mere milliseconds between them. The lighting tore through the sky and pricked the earth.  
Back at the gas station (as we heard from a radio reporter), hail the size of ornaments decorated the town. The town we were coming up on had been given a warning to go underground. To the north about two towns up, the twist of a tornado cloud had been seen, and to our south, the dull man reported two more on 89.3. We couldn’t believe that we were driving right through the middle of the three storms. While the lighting clapped and clapped, we search for a place to stop, but couldn’t find one. Should the tornadoes turn their path toward us, all we would be able to do is hope we remained unharmed.
It would be hard to know for sure, looking outside, what time it was. So often was the lighting blasting the sky, it allowed for a feigned daytime hue. In the light we could see a road sign name the city before us. Kanorado, 7 miles. With hesitation, we switched on the radio again, not taking our eyes or cameras off the sky as we did, for fear of missing the wisps of a tornado forming in the distance.
“To the towns of Edison, Brewster, and Kanorado, tornado warnings have been lifted.”
And with that we drove another 15 miles, crossed the Kansas state line, and into Colorado. Safely beyond the state line, the stormy curtain lifted,  and the stars welcomed us, with their lunar mate revealing himself not long after. On our right, the highway captioned “Welcome to Colorful Colorado.”


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