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by Tommy Dean

A tornado emerges out of the dust from the middle of the baseball diamond. It starts small, but threatens to swallow the six of us that refuse to give up our childhood game. Some would still consider us kids, old enough to drive, but not old enough to vote or buy alcohol. All of us had dreams of playing professionally, but our failure to hit a curve, stop a rocket down the third base line, or catch a simple fly ball has marooned us here in this rarely used softball field.

The sirens wail. The sky has taken on that uneasy teal hue of island seas that promises that this storm is real. Pebbles rattle across our cleats. Finny holds his glove over his face afraid the debris will crack his glasses. Miggs, our catcher, too skinny to block wild pitches, pouts when the rest of us start to leave. We run for cover toward High Street and the safety of the library, but when we look back Miggs is still there, standing on the pitching mound daring the tornado to face him.

Miggs has a bat handy and he’s taken up his batting stance. We call his name and curse him for making us care enough about him to wait this long. The others pull on my shirt, but I wave them away. Go, I say, until they’re lost in the wall of rain. I know I should plod up to the mound and shake Miggs from his discontent, but I don’t move. I wipe away the rain from my face and watch, waiting to see if Miggs will finally hit this phantom curve or if he will disappear, swept away, a dimple in the dirt from his cleats the only clue that he ever lived.

Tommy Dean is the author of a flash fiction chapbook entitled Special Like the People on TV from Redbird Chapbooks. A graduate of the Queens University of Charlotte MFA program, he has been previously published in the Watershed Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, r.kv.r.y., Boston Literary Magazine, Foliate Oak, and Gravel. Find him @TommyDeanWriter on Twitter.