Please join me in welcoming back one of my favorite and frequent guests, Dee S. Knight. Wicked comes in all forms and Dee has a fun take on wicked today with an exciting true life adventure.
Instead of focusing on a wicked person or even a character, I'd like to tell you about wicked Mother Nature. She'll pull a fast one and there everyone is, made humble by snow or rain, ice or heat. There is an old commercial that famously intoned, "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature!" Well, it's not nice for her to fool us, either.
Back in our trucking days, we had to drive through some truly wicked weather. I remember once in Montana, realizing the highway I was driving on was covered in black ice. Snow storms were common. We outran a dust storm in Texas once, and lost our air conditioning in horrendous heat and humidity. Through it all, we had to keep going to deliver the freight.
But once, coming into Chicago, we heard about a storm approaching from the west. The snow was a late one, and sure to be wet and heavy. It was early morning and still dark. Hubby was driving the stretch on I-80, just as Illinois meets Indiana. An accident and detour held us up for nearly an hour, and before we knew it, the storm caught up with us while we were driving the Indiana Turnpike.
I woke up as it turned light, and crawled out of the sleeper. "Look at that idiot," I said. "That trucker thinks he can park in the ramp to the service center. And look at those guys, just parking on the shoulder. What's going on?"
"A storm came in from the west. What I didn't know is, another storm came up from the south. And we're right in the middle of the mess."
Ahead, I could see the toll booth that marked the end of the Indiana toll road. A couple of miles past that, we would be on the Ohio Turnpike. Best thing about the turnpikes? They always kept the roads clear. Sure, they cost money, but it was worth it. Right?
We slowly came to a stop, about six trucks back from paying the toll. And then… We were stopped for sure. Word came back that Ohio had closed its road. What?? That was why those "idiots" had been stopped and parked strangely at the service center.
While the two storms met up and churned everything around us, we sat in a row of trucks, in the cab of ours. On the second day, they "let" us pay our toll and move to the snow-drifted area between the two turnpikes. We sat while it snowed. We sat while the storm ended and the sun shone through gray clouds. We sat day and we sat night. We sat there in no man's land for three days and four nights. It felt biblical.
A restaurant about a mile away (walk to the fence separating the toll road from the rest of the road, climb said fence, climb an embankment to the road and go another three-quarters of a mile, all through deep snow) was snowed in, so the waitress and cook who couldn't make it home had a bunch of truckers for customers. For three days. I'll bet they were thrilled.
Finally, through more flurries, Ohio opened its toll road—single lanes in each direction. After a day's drive that normally took three or four hours, we passed into Pennsylvania. Say glory! There was next to no snow! The real kicker? Had we stayed on the Indiana toll road instead of moving through, they would have let us off for free. Any trucks stuck on the turnpike did not have to pay the toll to get off. So we had to pay both Indiana and Ohio and that's no small amount of money! Thank you, Mother Nature!
I featured some wild foggy weather in my paranormal erotic romance, Passionate Destiny. The unexpected—and unexplained—freaky fog meant the hero, Aaron, had to stay at the heroine's house that night. Oh, darn. 😉 In this excerpt, Aaron and Margaret are on their way home from dinner.
Fog covered the bed of the pickup by the time they got to the stop sign at the main intersection in town. "Looks like it's getting a little foggy," Aaron said as he checked the rearview mirror.
"A little?" Margaret leaned forward to look in the side mirror. "I can't see the tail lights reflected. Is this usual for here?"
Aaron made the turn to go through town. "Well, I wouldn't say it's unusual. We're near the river after all, but this is a little heavy."
By the time he turned onto the county road, fog rolled off the roof and down the windshield. Within seconds their sight out the side windows was blocked. Long before they got to the driveway, they lost all visibility.
Aaron slowed to a crawl and leaned forward, straining to see. Margaret could hear him muttering to himself. Too afraid to distract him, she kept her own counsel, holding onto the seat with one hand and the door with the other. Twice he had to stop and back up because he had wandered off the narrow road and into the weeds at the edge. The third time he was forced to reverse, it was due to nearly running into the maple tree at the end of the road.
"Look out your window and tell me when you see the driveway," he ordered, as he eased the truck backward.
It seemed like forever before Margaret she saw it. "There!" The dark outline of a cleared passage leading off to the right indicated the path to the house. He turned the wheel and maneuvered the truck up the drive.
Aaron slammed on the brakes, stopping barely three feet from the back porch.
Margaret exhaled slowly, trying to quit shaking at the same time. For long moments after putting the vehicle in park, Aaron sat with his hands clenched on the steering wheel, not moving, not speaking.
"Are you all right?" His voice, quiet but steady, gave her confidence to relax a bit and turn to him.
"Yes, I think so. You can let go of the steering wheel now."
"Sure, as soon as you let go of the seat." They laughed, finally breaking the tension. He flexed his fingers, lifting them off the wheel. "I've never been in fog this thick before. Up in the mountains it gets bad sometimes, but this is worse than I've ever seen it. Look, you can't even see the edge of the house."
Margaret turned to look out her window, seeing nothing but white.
"I don't know how the hell I'm going to get home in this."
Without hesitation she said, "You can't. You'll have to stay here." Finally releasing her grip on the seat front, she opened the door. White swirls of mist immediately invaded the truck cab. "If you'll leave the lights on for a minute, I'll get up the steps and turn on the porch light."
"Wait a minute." The tightness of his voice caused her to turn back to him, pulling the door closed in the process. The temperature in the cab had dropped with the influx of the thick, moist air. "You left the porch light on but I don't see any illumination now. I wonder if there's power. Let me back up a little and reposition the lights onto the steps."
Leaning back in the seat she let a frown cross her brow as he moved the vehicle to light up the steps and screen door. "You're right, I did leave the porch light on." Glancing quickly at Aaron to see that he was focusing hard on the house, she narrowed her eyes and did the same. "We won't know if the power's out or what's happened until I get in there." She opened the door and slid out.
Moving in front of the vehicle, she crossed the twin beams of light as she plowed through the fog. Even with the headlights she tripped over the bottom step, catching herself against the door at the last second.
She heard Aaron open his door. "Are you all right?"
Nodding her head she called, "Fine!" and waved at him before letting the screen door close.
The back door light was not on. Standing on the partially lit porch and looking back into the murkiness, the truck with its bright headlights seemed far away. Worse, Aaron seemed far away. She shivered as a chill ran down her back. Even with the faint evidence of headlights piercing the fog, and knowing that she was a mere couple of miles from a town, she almost felt alone in the world, stranded in this house, a small island shrouded in a vast, white sea.
Using a tiny flashlight she kept on her keychain, she lit the lock so that she could slip in the key. Pushing it open, she reached in and flipped the switch. Light flooded the porch.
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