Featured Fiction: “Under the System” by Adrian Van Young

October 14, 2019

We are so pleased to have the chance to publish another excellent story from Adrian Van Young. “Under the System” comes to us just in time for the Halloween season, flush with the living dead and overly cheery meteorologists. Van Young’s story strikes hardest in its ending—but why let us spoil it? Read “Under the System” in full below:

Yes that’s what you think it is, folks! Graveyard earth, which our town’s risen children have dragged from death with them in more or less the same circumference as the storm system hovering over us now.

Well hi there, folks!

It’s your friendly neighborhood meteorologist Stuart Smalls here, checking in from the WRAL Weather Center downtown with a few updates on that big, nasty storm system everyone’s been talking about. Now remember, folks, these reports don’t control the weather, they only predict it, but current models show this storm with the potential to produce 60 mph gusts, hail more than an inch in diameter, flash flooding in low lying areas and possible supercell thunderstorms.


See this animation here? See this cloud of swirling red?

Everyone should have a plan. I’ll go ahead and share mine with you!

After I went to the store for supplies, I spent the day getting my property ready. I masking-taped cardboard to cover my windows, I trimmed my trees and bagged my bushes. I took in everything outside that the wind could pick up and slam into my house, even though lots of it, Natalie’s things, I’d put into storage or given away. I charged my devices: computer and cellphone. Readied my flashlights and non-perishables. I leaned a fire-ax near my door and then I checked it all again.

* * *

Well, folks, it’s been a tense few hours as we wait for this system to pass overhead, but now that it has we’re all somewhat confused?

See, our WRAL radar, which is 99.98% on the nose, recorded the storm passing into our county as models predicted right down to the minute, but still there’s not a drop of rain. The sky is an unclouded bowl.  It’s eerily calm, folks, but look at your screens, you can still see the shape of that storm system hovering.

I passed the time shut in my house, the light barely filtering in through the cardboard; it looked like my palm with a flashlight held to it, like my late daughter Natalie’s palm (miss you, sweetie!) when we would shelter in her forts in the dim of the living room, some rainy day.

Now, in my living room, tracking the storm, I heard a light knock on the door.

I got up.

To continue reading “Under the System” click here.



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