H.L. Cricket
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It was not the kind of day on which anyone was expecting to die.

It started with pleasant conditions, mildly warm and mostly sunny.  The presence of the clouds, just outside of the community of Compass, was not unusual.  For a straight two weeks, that summer, there was a storm every afternoon that included fast moving rain, thunder and lightning.  Yet, for those that remembered, the clouds on that particular afternoon were just different.  They were darker and visibly more agitated.  They arrived quickly from the north, whereas all of the previous storms had blown in slowly from the west.  Rather than continue across the region, as had been the pattern, that particular mass of clouds slowed to a complete standstill just before reaching the town.  Looking back on the way the storm acted, many would later remark that it seemed as if the clouds were waiting for something.  Or someone.

Virginia had no idea what was happening outside.  She had been busy helping her mom wash every dish in their homes brightly lit, mostly yellow kitchen.  It was something that the two did together each summer.  Every drawer and cupboard was emptied of their plates and bowls and cups and saucers.  One by one, each item was scrubbed, rinsed, and toweled before being returned to their proper place.

As the last few cups were dried, Virginia’s mom asked about her daughter’s plans for the rest of the afternoon. 

“Do you want to get outside for a spell before the rain comes in?” she asked.

“I guess.”  Virginia ran her mostly wet towel across the bare counter top.  “Jack said something earlier about getting everyone together.”