The storm was shifting, or at least that’s what Jo thought, and she was rarely ever wrong. “Tell me the fastest way to move south in front of this thing, Rabbit!” the radio crackled.
He stuck his pen in his mouth and reached behind him for a different map, throwing it open and tracing first with his eyes and then his finger. “Okay, in roughly 100 meters there’s a dirt road to the right. Take that. It’s going to be a bumpy ride, and it’s definitely not much more than an old farming road, but it will do the trick.”
“Got it,” she said, and then the radio was quiet again as they all kept their eyes peeled for the road he had just described. The sudden, sharp turn startled him, but it was the best route if they wanted to beat this storm and have a chance with the newest DOROTHY prototype. The first one made with the shiny new grant money they had won based on how the original DOROTHY had made contact and showered them in data. This one was a little better designed and they didn’t have to get quite as close.
He looked down at his map again when suddenly a goose flew in the window and landed in his lap, squawking and flapping its wings.
“Shit!” Sanders said as he tried to bat the bird away as he kept his eyes on the road and tried to steer them down the poorly maintained road.
The goose was now honking in his face, stomping it’s feet all over his map, and nipping at his face.
“What the fuck?” he yelled.
“I think it’s a soulmate goose,” Sanders said, not very helpfully.
“Are you kidding me?” he asked, his eyes casting heavenward. “Well it’s going to have to wait until DOROTHY is in the air.”
The goose nipped at Sanders’s wrist, causing him to turn the wheel to get his arm away from the foul.
“Fuck!” he yelled, grabbing the handset. “We have a fucking soulmate goose in our cab,” he shouted for the team to hear. “And it doesn’t seem happy about my driving.”
“Which of you is it for?” Bill asked.
“It better fucking be for Rabbit. It’s in his lap. I don’t have time for a soulmate right now.”
“Pretty sure that doesn’t matter,” Jo said with a laugh. “The goose shows up when it shows up.” The line was quiet for a moment before she added, “Though I’m a bit concerned that the soulmate might be out in this storm and not safe. Maybe you should follow what the goose is asking.”
Rabbit snatched the handset from Sanders. “Not happening until this beauty is in the air. Once that happens I will gladly follow it’s whims, but not before. I am not letting destined love or whatever interfere with our job. OUCH!” he yelped as the goose bit his nose. “Fucking shitty fuck!” he yelled. “God damn that hurt.”
“Yeah, the goose seems to think that’s a shit idea, but luckily it’s letting me keep on this bearing for now since there’s no road to turn on.”
“I can’t see the map at the moment, but we need to turn left when this road ends to get back into position,” Rabbit yelled, hoping that handset picked up his words.
The tornado had started to turn south like Jo had said, but not fully. They needed to head a bit more east to actually be in line with it.
The goose had seemed to calm a bit, which he was thankful for, even if a lap full of goose was less than pleasant. They made the turn he indicated and Jo called a halt to the entire team to get the machine into position. They stopped the truck and the goose hopped out the door and Rabbit followed. But while he was content to watch as Joe and Bill set everything up in the far distance, the goose was less pleased with him. It immediately set to biting at him and honking wildly, trying to get him to go off into one of the wheat fields. “Are you fucking nuts?” he yelled at the goose, only partly aware of how ridiculous it was to ask a goose that. “I’m not getting more than ten feet away from this truck. If that storm turns, we’ll have to outrun it.”
The goose was having none of this, and it bit him on the ass.
“Fuck!” he yelled, jumping away from the goose and then starting to run from it as it chased after him.
Right into the wheat field. Stupid damn goose. He was doing just what the damn thing wanted. He stopped and turned around, but the goose was having none of that, guarding his approach like it was some sort of basketball game. “I need to get back to the truck!” he yelled.
The goose bit him again, and he leapt once more, attempting to get away from the damn bird.
He took off, heading toward a barn in the distance. If he had to be away from the truck, at least he could be safe in the barn. The goose chased after him, and he wasn’t sure if it was because he was heading in the right direction or not. Maybe it had just realized there was, indeed, a tornado heading their way and it had an ounce of self preservation.
The barn door swung open and then he quickly closed it behind him, but not before the goose also waddled its way in. He looked around. There appeared to be some horse stalls, so he made his way there. It wasn’t exactly an interior room, but it was better than nothing. The goose, though, seemed to take issue with him trying to push open the first stall door and pushed him away until he was in front of the middle stall. Well, yeah. That did make more sense. He pushed open the door and was shocked to see someone else hunkered down in the corner.
The mysterious person grabbed him by the arm and pulled him down next to them. He immediately crouched and looked into the blue eyes of a gorgeous woman.
“Do you have a death wish?” she yelled over the sound of the storm.
“Not today!” he yelled back, covering her with his body. The storm raged on, and it felt like an eternity, but was actually only a few minutes. He carefully let up on her and then held a hand out to her.
“You’re bleeding, she said,” her eyes on his back.
“I am?” he said, and the sting of a cut suddenly made itself known.
“I'm Darcy, and I am not a trained medic, so we should probably find you some help.”
“I’m Rabbit,” he said, “and I think I’m going to lose consciousness kinda soon. I’m a bit woozy.”
The goose quacked at them.
“Is that a soulmate goose?”
“It is,” he agreed, his legs starting to give out.
“Shit,” she cursed, trying to help him stay upright, but settling for helping lower him to the stall floor once more. “Err,” please don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m going to kiss you now.”
“There’s a wrong way to take that?” he asked just as her lips touched his.
The goose exploded into fireworks and glitter, and he wasn’t sure if that was because it really happened or the blood loss was getting to him.
Just as he started to pass out, he heard her say, “I’ll need to do that again when you remember.”
“Yes please,” he said, just as he heard the team yelling for him in the distance.