The Flash and the Thunder by W.C. Quick - An Orb Fantasy Novella
This story blends historical fiction with a sprinkling of dark fantasy from the Worlds of the Orb universe. This novella is one of W.C. Quick’s rare, linear examples of storytelling. It maintains a close relationship with the main character, Thomas, with the somewhat complicated action and events being limited to his eight-year-old interpretation.
Vernon and Thomas waited outside the shop drinking soda pop and eating greasy Spanish peanuts from the penny dispenser. The tire was fixed. Ray called back to the house from the pay phone on the street past the gas pumps to tell his sister where they were. She was driving down to fetch them back. They were watching the cars rumble past on Main Street for the green sedan.
The tire shop was on the business end of town. There was a feed and grain store across the street and a welding shop next door with a large open lot covered with rusty metal. It reminded Thomas of the Prather’s yard. The vision disturbed him, so he looked farther down town.
He noticed three boys on bicycles darting through the alleys between the buildings farther down. Main Street was lined with red brick storefronts. The picture window glass reflected their movement along the sidewalk, weaving around parked cars and then disappearing into another alley.
Vernon saw them also. “That Roger riding around with the Prather boys?”
Thomas felt his stomach knot up again. “Yeah.”
“Uncle Ray says that Clifford is not too bad, slow from getting locked up in a hot car too many times, maybe.” Vernon turned to face Thomas. “Delmar is something else though. He is slick tongued and smart as the devil. He almost beat a boy to death in High School ‘cause of the way he looked at him. Now he goes to that continuation school since he got out of juvenile hall.”
Delmar was leading the group, waving for Clifford and Roger to keep up in a mad dash between moving cars. They raced around behind the hardware store at the beginning of the row of brick buildings. Delmar sped up, rounding the alley corner behind the building and then darting into the open driveway leading back to Main Street. He was looking up the street, shouting and waving the other boys forward.
Thomas got a good view his older brother, his face down, cheeks puffing for air, standing and pushing hard on the pedals to keep up. Roger could not see where he was riding.
Delmar slammed on his brake and caught Clifford across the chest, almost knocking him off the bicycle. Roger flew past the brothers into the street and the path of an oncoming car.
The front wheel of his bike crushed back into the frame before being sucked under the right wheel of the car. Roger went flying, arms and legs slapping against the sheet metal hood, windshield and roof of the black sedan. The car tires locked, blue smoke billowed out underneath, as sparks flew up from the snagged bicycle.
Thomas dropped his soda pop and started running up the street toward Roger.
The author, in his own words:
So, I am old. I was a USAF military brat, traveling around to Air Force bases and installations around the States 1953-1963. I recall the diversity of the USA, no fast food to speak of, a noticeable difference in schools, teaching, people/culture… not better so much, simply different. There was more open space around neighbourhoods. I imprinted on nature, forest walks and the enjoyment of solitude. Forests and wild things are major characters in my stories.
I was a welder and metal worker for about forty years, owned and operated a welding business for the last seventeen years. I did attend two years of college early on – English Lit and Biology. Nobody made real money in either of those disciplines as a grad, I noticed. I decided on a trade.
My Orb Fantasy characters usually have an interest or activity in metal work. Elves and the Fae, as a lot, have obsessions with metal, shiny stuff. And iron is a ward to magic.
I have written stories since I was a kid. The transition to writer/vagabond was a seamless fit. I prefer the solitude of my small trailer in the desert or parked in the pines.
A Bite of... W.C. Quick
Question one: would you rather be a hero or a villain?
I struggle with this question. Villains are often the most interesting characters in fiction and life. So far, the closest I get to being dark is offering my villains the logic of power and fear based motivation. Being afraid is the most impotent of feelings, so the boosting to the action form of fear, anger to pure hatred gives that character power over gripping fear/impotence. And my evil Elves get stronger draining life from others.
Giving a character somewhere to grow… that catharsis to transformation thing could be a great way to write a story. Unfortunately most fantasy readers/movie goers do not like to adjust their view of a particularly nasty character. I have Darth Vader in mind.
Question two: How much of you is in your hero and villain?
Thomas in The Flash and the Thunder is most like me, though he is much more observant and thoughtful than me at eight years old.
Question three: Chocolate cake or coffee cake? And give reasons.
I bow to the purity of milk chocolate frosting on dark chocolate cake. It is the go to, all occasion cake, the reason to attend the event in the first place.
Though I will eat any cake, coffee cake often has the issue of requiring coffee to choke it down.
You can find W.C. Quick on his own web page