From Moose’s private notebook, continued:
This year, as the afternoon wore on, we’d wandered off into the fields around the fairgrounds. It was hot, but not just hot. The afternoon was thick. Nothing seemed more interesting than just sitting in the tall grass and doing nothing much. Some of us were dozing off all the junk food. Some us were looking for grasshoppers and butterflies and praying mantises, the usual summer bug stuff, but looking, not chasing or hunting. I was writing, and watching the fair, which seemed to be much further away than it actually was.
In fact, everything felt far away. There wasn’t any wind and the whole atmosphere was just sitting on us, holding us in what seemed like the only real place left.. There was a great big noisy fairload of great stuff right there a few hundred yards down the hill, and none of us felt like going there or moving at all.
We knew there was going to be a storm. I mean, we’re Hoosiers. We’ve lived in Kekionga all our lives (except for Pounce, who moved here when we were in kindergarten, and maybe Mr. Spit who no one seems to remember before first or maybe second grade) and believe me, we know storms. Thunder rolls in the Midwest, all summer, every summer, and it always starts with a heavy quiet. When they teach you the word “oppressive”, they use Indiana before a summer storm for their example.
We knew, and we should have hustled down to within running distance of a building because if it was this quiet beforehand it was going to be bad. We all knew, but nobody mentioned it. We just sat there.
The sky turned green. It turned slate blue and purple. Then it turned black, literally black, nightfall in three minutes in the middle of the afternoon. If it wasn’t for all the lightning we wouldn’t have been able to see at all. The thunder didn’t roll in, it didn’t approach. It was just there, following the lightning right on its tail—no pause to count to find out how far away it was because it was on top of us, and the wind blew all the hot heaviness away and suddenly, surprise, surprise, we felt motivated. We felt plenty motivated to run for it.
Before we got halfway down the hill the power cut off and the fair went silent. I’d say it disappeared, too, except that every time the lightning flashed we caught a glimpse of rides shutting down and tilting in the wind, banners flapping loose and bags, barrels and all kinds of cheap stuff rolling and blowing away. And people: people running, running for the buildings, running for the parking lots, just running. It seemed like all of them were screaming.
Then the Ferris wheel was struck by lightning. It lit up for second, then all the little lightbulbs exploded. That’s when it started to rain.