There times, few and far between, when the thunder growls like a savage beast at the door, when the lightning tears the sky, reaching for the earth with greedy, grasping fingers. The rain pounds the roof like a stampede, and you are grateful for the barrier, for the meager protection of your home, for the warmth of your comfortable blanket on your cushy couch, in your brightly lit living room.
You will be surprised then, as your feet carry you from the comfort and warmth of your couch, walking you to the front door. You will receive an even bigger surprise as your fingers work, seemingly without your permission, unlocking your door. Your feet propel you out into the storm.
And as you feel the squishy wet grass between your toes, and the rain drips, running through your hair to send chills down your spine, you will wonder why you have chosen this. You will be stunned at yourself, pondering why you have chosen to go out in the darkness, in the middle of the night, in one of the worst storms you’ve ever seen.
You will see images of yourself, looking bedraggled and confused and very, very wet, reflected up at you in every puddle you pass, and you will barely recognize yourself as your feet carry you onward.
Relax, dear reader.
Do not question yourself or your own mind.
Be comforted in the knowledge that you have not chosen this path.
With every step you take down the muddy road, know that you have no power here…. That every cell in your body, every bone and muscle and fiber, is at this very moment responding to the call of something far greater than you; something that you have never stood a chance of resisting.
Does the leaf wonder why it is tossed by the wind?
It does not.
Nor should you wonder, reader, for there is little comfort in such wondering.
You imagine the trail of wet footprints left in your wake, as you step, purposefully, along the path into the woods. You think of the police and firemen dusting the trail for evidence and you know there will be nothing left to find, your steps washed away by the torrent of storm water.
The woods are dark, split with the occasional flash of lightning, uselessly illuminating the blackness for mere seconds at a time. You do not stumble. You do not trip over roots or fall into hidden holes in the earth. Any other time, you would be covered in scratches and bruises, but this time, reader, your feet know their path. They are no longer under your command.
Finally, the dark striping of trees ends. These woods are familiar to you, the playground where you spend your sunny days, walking and reflecting on the beauty of nature, but you’ve never seen this clearing before. Or perhaps it is merely unrecognizable, with lightning dancing through the air like a strange symphony, all around, moving so quickly that it is difficult to make out the figure standing at its center.
Your feet have brought you to a stop at the tree line. The air tingles with barely controlled energy and you shiver, not knowing what is to come, but knowing, with a subtle ache, deep in your bones, that it won’t be good.
It’s difficult to see clearly, but the figure in the center of the clearing appears to be a child; a little girl. You can see her blonde hair whipping around her face, the rags of what used to be a white nightgown flapping around her legs in some kind of manic rhythm. Her feet are bare and you can see her toes wiggle in the damp dirt, an act that brings none of the childish joy you’d expect, since her face remains stony and focused.
Her face stays serious, until she turns to you and smiles. It is only when she looks at you that you can see her eyes, blank and white and expressionless. When she smiles, you understand that this is no child, this tiny figure poised at the center of a storm. This is a power as old as time and just as cruel.
She smiles at you, crooking a finger. And as your legs carry you forward, feet stepping and knees bending against your will, you understand that this is the end.
Have you ever thought about the people who disappear during thunderstorms, reader?
Have you ever noticed the way that the grass glows greener after a storm? The way that flowers bloom brighter? That trees seem taller and the world seems washed anew?
The great world goes on.
But there is always a price to pay.
POV – second person / female character – under 18 / Thunderstorm
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