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Authors: Storm Riders

Crymsyn Hart




Aspen Mountain Press




Copyright © 2010 by Crymsyn Hart

This e-Book is a work of fiction. While references may be made to actual places or events, the names, characters, incidents, and locations within are from the author’s imagination and are not a resemblance to actual living or dead persons, businesses, or events. Any similarity is coincidental.

Aspen Mountain Press

18121-C E. Hampden Ave, Ste 221

Aurora CO 80013


First published by Aspen Mountain Press, June 2010


This e-Book is licensed to the original purchaser only. Duplication or distribution via any means is illegal and a violation of International Copyright Law, subject to criminal prosecution and upon conviction fines and/or imprisonment. The e-Book cannot be legally loaned or given to others. No part of this e-Book can be shared or reproduced without the express permission of the publisher.

ISBN: 978-1-60168-296-3

Published in the United States of America


Chapter One

“Yo, George, you ready to do this?”

Georgiana “George” Morlan stuck her tongue out at her fired up assistant, Jeremy.

In the predawn hours, the sky overhead was gray, bordering on black. Lightning bounced inside the clouds while a light mist blanketed the road. She gripped her cup of coffee blowing the steam away. Sleep still encrusted her eyes, but if this trip went the way she hoped, then the early mornings, late nights, and hardly any sleep would pay off. They were getting close to a breakthrough on understanding what occurred inside the clouds right before a tornado formed. What it really was that hatched a twister.

“You ready to go?” Jeremy popped out from behind the van.

Her coffee flew from her hands and down the front of her shirt. The liquid soaked through the fabric and onto her skin, scalding her. “Ouch! Shit. Jeremy, what did I tell you about surprising me?” She snapped and pulled her shirt away from her body. Now the liquid was making her cold. She grabbed a few cast off napkins from last night’s dinner and began dabbing at the coffee. Seeing it wasn’t doing any good, she yanked her shirt off and wiped down her wet stomach. Her assistant whistled, but she ignored him. After she cleaned herself the best she could, she dug into her duffel bag and pulled out a shirt she’d worn the day before. She sniffed it and decided it didn’t smell too dirty.

“Sorry, George. I didn’t mean to scare you. I’m just excited. Come on. You can’t tell me that you’re not.”



She rolled her eyes and fished her cup out from underneath the van. Grit and dirt clung to the outside of the cup. Mud had mixed with the coffee creating an even thicker sludge than what she was drinking. She threw the remaining liquid out and then put the cup into a trash bag. Lightning illuminated the storm front. The hairs on her arms were standing up. The drop in the barometric pressure weighed on her bones. This was going to be a whopper of a storm “Yes. I’m excited too. But can you bottle some of the enthusiasm until we’re done? We might not get any activity at all. This whole business is hit or miss and mostly it’s miss. I’ve been chasing tornados for a long time now.” George squelched the memory which threatened to dampen her spirits. She didn’t need to be remembering her childhood at this moment. It was bad enough she fought her deep seated fear every time she was out in the field confronting a funnel cloud head on. Nevertheless, the drive to find a warning system was the only thing which kept her going.

“So you ready to go? The wind’s kicking up.” She studied the Cumulonimbus Clouds noticing the change in their formation. They were bulkier and closer together.

Her inner sense said they’d have activity today. The atmosphere pressed heavily upon her shoulders. Lightning flashed again and for an instant, she swore she saw the shadow of a man on horseback. Shaking her head, she secured the back of the van, and hopped into the driver’s seat. Jeremy climbed in next to her and checked the radar on his laptop.

“A severe storm warning’s been issued for the area. According to the Doppler there’s some rotation to the clouds.”

George gunned the engine and peered through the windshield. The gray clouds were taking on a purple hue.
It won’t be long now
. Her inner sense said that a twister was going to touch down somewhere close by. Ever since she was little, she’d always known when a big boomer was approaching. Her father used to compare her to his old bloodhound, Rosie, he’d had when he was growing up who also foretold squalls. When George was an infant and a thunderstorm rolled in, she would start bawling about half an hour before the rain began pelting down. Her father called her his little weather 5


witch. She considered it a small burden knowing when the storm would hit because her whole body would get a pins and needles feeling the way it was now. Adrenaline pumped through her until she yearned to chase after the looming storms. When she got older, she could predict if a funnel cloud would appear well before the sirens ever went off.
This one is going to be a whopper.
They had to get out in front of it if they wanted to make any headway and get the readings she was hoping for. Thunder rumbled all around them. Strong wind gusts shook the van. George put the van into gear and focused on the country road ahead of them. A crumpled map sat on the floor between her and Jeremy. It had seen better days, but it always got her where she was going. Her job at the university, besides teaching meteorology classes and chasing storms, was to get a better understanding of why animals and a few people were able to foretell storms. That was the hard part. No one knew why people could predict storms and science hadn’t specifically recognized human barometers. It was a never-ending battle to prove why she was influenced and others weren’t. Today they were out gathering general readings and had a weather balloon they had rigged with temperature gauges to document the electricity in the air and see if the balloon was picked up by the tornado. Her instincts said they had about ten minutes before the twister formed and it was heading to the east.

“Jeremy, get the balloon ready and hold on.” She hit the gas.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw her assistant clutch the side of the door. His face turned green from her increased speed.
He’s the one who wanted to chase storms with
This was his second ride along and she wasn’t sure if he’d come back for a third.

“You keeping your breakfast down?” she laughed. Now that she was on the job, her brain was functioning. Her body was flooded with the rush of fear and excitement she always got when pursuing tornados. Her hair stood up on end and a tingle crept along the back of her neck. The twister was coming soon. She gazed at the clouds and saw their revolution was faster. The bottom of a funnel appeared. Jeremy scrambled in the back trying to get the balloon ready.

“Hold on!” George cut a quick right following her instincts.



Jeremy muttered something and some of their equipment was bounced around in the back of the van. The wind kicked up sending cornhusks slamming into the windshield. She jerked the steering wheel, hit the brakes, and found that she was in the middle of a cornfield. The dried up stalks clattered around them. Clouds of dirt and pebbles pelted the side of the van. Rain began dropping from the heavens and pounding the vehicle using it as a war drum. Sometimes it was a battle facing the storms, but she never let them beat her down.

“You ready?” Jeremy asked her. She heard the anticipation in his voice. The adrenaline was pumping through his veins too. They made a good team.

Once she was out of the car, she ran around to let Jeremy out of the back. He jumped out with the weather balloon. The shiny metallic surface was made of a light material that would be picked up immediately, but they had to release it at just the right moment. Once it was deployed it would start transmitting information back to her laptop. Inevitably, the sheer force of the tornado would tear it apart, but all that mattered was the data. That would make the day a success.

“Yeah. I’m ready,” she yelled. The deafening wind made it almost impossible for her to hear him. She gave him a thumbs up. Her brown hair kept blowing in her face and escaping her ponytail. The rain drenched them. Staring at the horizon, a funnel stretched downward touching the land. The sheer force of the natural wonder could carve a path in the earth marring the land. George closed her eyes and focused on the tempest. She didn’t know how to explain it, but she saw its movement in her mind.

Sometimes if she concentrated hard enough she got lost in the void, in that perfect moment inside the eye where all was quiet and still. That was the place she went to, monitoring the storm until she gave the order to let the balloon go. Rocks and sand hit her face, but she ignored them. The wind almost blew her over, but she stayed anchored to her spot. The rain had her cold and soaked, but she didn’t care.
It’s almost time.
The cyclone curled to the right. She went with it. It would pass by them in a matter of minutes. Even being on the fringe was dangerous. They had to release the balloon and haul ass to clear it.



“George, come on. It’s getting closer.”

She vaguely heard the trepidation in Jeremy’s voice. She was lost in her own world, one with the storm.
It’s so beautiful. So quiet. Just like that night.
A little voice inside shouted at her to get out before the twister barreled them over leaving nothing behind in its wake.

A hand clamped down on her arm breaking her reverie. “Are we doing this or not?”

Her eyes snapped open. The world came back into focus. Jeremy shook his head, but she saw the worry in his eyes. George figured that her past assistants had warned him about her strange
. “Yes. Sorry.” She took the other side of the balloon and stretched it out. The wind was so powerful now they could barely hold onto it. Lightning struck a nearby tractor. She smelled the ozone and the burnt rubber from the electrified tractor tires. Studying the clouds, she thought she saw the image of a man on horseback riding along the top of the twister.
I’m imagining things. I’m just seeing him because of what happened when I was

A jolt spiked down her spine. It was time. She tore her gaze from the clouds and then met Jeremy’s dark blue eyes. She nodded. They lifted the balloon and released it. It hovered for a moment until the wind caught it. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the funnel cloud racing toward them.

“Come on!” The wind ripped the words from her lips. Jeremy and she raced toward the still running van. She hopped in, kicked it into gear, and punched the gas all before her assistant had time to close the door. She smiled. The sheer rush sped up her heart and she could barely draw in a breath as they hightailed it out of the cornfield.

After a few minutes of driving and the van rocking from the strength of the wind, she felt a change in the air. The storm was turning in their direction. The smile fell from her lips.

“Jeremy, buckle up.”

Her assistant was about to say something, but his eyes grew wide. His face paled.

Her grip on the steering wheel tightened. She floored the gas pedal and the van jumped 8



forward. The wind made it almost impossible for her to control the vehicle. Stalks of corn and dirt, even a passing chicken, made it hard for her to see. She didn’t care about the equipment sliding around in the back of her van. Inside her, the little girl terrified of the storms was screaming. The hot breath of the tornado was blasting against her neck.

“Are we going to make it?” Jeremy asked.

His voice was laced with fear and he clutched the laptop to him like a life vest. She chuckled and wondered if he would go out with her again. They were almost at the end of the cornfield and about to pull out onto another road, when a man on a gray horse galloped out in front of them and stopped. She stepped on the brakes. The van swerved and fishtailed until they came to a stop parallel to the horse. George gazed out the window and into the horse’s amber eye. Its rider had on dirty black jeans and black boots with a silver buckle in the shape of a tornado. When she glanced out of the other window, she saw the funnel cloud careening toward them.

“We have to get out of here.” Jeremy clasped the door handle trying to get out, but the horse blocked his path.

“There’s no time,” she said feeling his panic. The cloud would be on them in minutes and they didn’t have anywhere to go. The horse reared and then leapt over the van. She didn’t get much of a look at the man, but saw that he wore a black cowboy hat and a long duster. For some odd reason, his jacket wasn’t billowing in the gale. She watched in fascination as the rider went full gallop at the storm.

“What the hell is he doing? That’s suicide!” Jeremy screamed. He tried to scramble over the seat, but she grabbed his hand and squeezed not taking her eyes from the mysterious rider.

“There’s nothing we can do. It’s his funeral.” The cowboy stopped right in front of the funnel cloud, almost challenging it. The man turned, gave her a wry smile, and then winked. Her jaw dropped.
This isn’t happening. He should be swept up by the storm.
He turned back around, reared his horse and held up his hand at the exact moment the twister should have swallowed him whole. Instead, the funnel stalled, and then died.



There’s no explanation for that. It doesn’t work that way.
The wind dissipated and the sky cleared. She slipped outside the van and headed toward the mysterious rider, but he had vanished with the tornado.

“George, look!”

She glanced up in the direction of Jeremy’s finger. A flash of silver fluttered down toward them. It was their weather balloon and miraculously it was intact. She walked over to it following the road and sure enough, there were hoof prints in the dirt.

“What the hell is going on?” She ran her fingers over the impressions. “Both of them should’ve been killed.”

Jeremy came running up to her. “I got the balloon.”


“Great. That’s all you can say after what just happened. Woo! Did you see that guy? Where the hell did he go?”

She stood up and dusted herself off. “I don’t know where he went, but let’s get the hell out of here. We got what we came for. Let’s go back and analyze the data.

Hopefully it’s what we need.”

Jeremy hugged the balloon. “Don’t you want to know what happened to him?” George stared back up at the clearing sky. Something about the encounter was all too familiar. It struck a chord deep within and tugged on the back of her consciousness.

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