The Coming Storm

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


The first of two flash fiction stories inspired by the same cover picture.

Submitted: September 26, 2017

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Submitted: September 26, 2017

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The Coming Storm

A rumble in the distance and a flash that is just visible in the dim room. A storm is approaching an all you can do is hope that it does not bring HIM with it.

When did you first hear the tale; the one that has made you dread every roll of thunder and sizzling slash of lightning? You must have been young. But then you did not live on the coast and the threat was not quite so imminent. HE would not come for you, not in the city. But now? You cannot help but shudder.

It’s louder now, the thunder, and the lightning is not only brighter but following quicker. The storm is getting near. Don’t look, you tell yourself. It’s nonsense, just a myth – the boatman that comes with the storm to take you away. You’re too old, too sensible, to be panicked by such tales. Aren’t you?

Tea, that’s what you need. You put on the kettle, get out the pot. It might be a bit early but you’ll switch on your lamp, bring a bit of warm light in to the room. Put some music on and drown out the rumbles.

The next roll of thunder is so loud you can feel the house shake, from its foundations to its roof. The lightning splits the sky all around, with an electric sizzle you think that you can hear even from inside. And then you are plunged into darkness.

The sea is roiling and broiling, crashing against the rocks. You don’t need to worry. No boatman would be out on a night like this, would they? But he would, Death himself. He’d have no fear of drowning, of being battered by the waves. He would relish it.

The window beckons you forward as the crescendo of waves calls your name. You’ll have to go, but you won’t look, will you? You’ll just pull those curtains across and then there’ll be nothing to see.

It’s irresistible though, that urge to look. A quick glance can’t do any harm. But that speck, a bit out to sea, that dark shape that’s being drawn in towards the coast by the waves – is it a boat? No! Nobody would be out in this!

It draws your eye, won’t let it go. ‘Watch and see,’ it seems to say. For a moment you are frozen, unable to pull those curtains across, unable even to blink your eyes. Angrily you shake your head and roughly pull those curtains together. The storm is angry with you; the thunder shakes the windowpane and the lightning is so bright you can see it as clearly as if you’d left those drapes wide open.

Feeling sick, hand shaking, you pull back the curtain just enough to peek out. There’s nothing there. The boat, if it ever was there, is gone. Should you call the coastguards, the police? No, they’d think you were crazy, and maybe you are. The phone is not working anyway.

Step by step you make your way back to your armchair, well away from the window. You pick up your tea, trying not to spill it as the cup clatters against the saucer from the shaking of your hands. Every single nerve in your body is tense, expectant with fear and dread.

You are glad you are alone, that no one is there to witness your pitiful state, caused by an old folk tale, that’s all. It’s just a thunder storm, nothing more. And you’ve almost convinced yourself when the thudding knock comes from your door.

 


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