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The Storm

Ian Burke



            Drip, first one, drip, then another, the rain started slowly. There was no real wind but you could see the clouds over the mountains and hear, almost feel the soft rumbling of the distant thunder working its way slowly out from the dark bowels of the impending storm.


            It first showed in his apartment. A dirty dish, an unpaid bill. The neglected cupboards began to clatter with their empty shelves begging for food every time a door was opened. The corners grew dark with the accumulation of dust, a mere shadow of his heart.


            The wind began to pick up force. With its gentle coaxing the fallís colorful paintings, already on the ground, swirl up to meet the now more plentiful drops of falling water. The whistling of the branches chorus in, singing autumnís first dirge to the death of summer and the coming of winterís long sleep.


            He packs his bags preparing for his trip west. Ill relatives, scrutinizing family, dead marriage, lost soul. Rising to the occasion he turns to his inner athlete. Rising each morning to meet the falling rays of the red morning sun with the fleet feet of the running spirit filled with the music of tears, every day was filled with this flowing energy. Energy flowed one direction, draining as a river does from a locked lake. Each day became a longer run, a bigger drain, a longer draw off that lake, as he defends who he is each day, and supports himself with his ailing family and dead marriage. Running through the strange land the chaos reflected at home, now carried inside, is added to, compounded and deepened into pain and heartache.


            The skies darken as the trees bend under the force of the wind. Once a distant soothing rumble, thunder now claps with enough ferocity to break window pains or disturb the earth. Streets are barren, windows dark. The only light now from the frequent flash of radiant, powerful lightning streaking from the heavens. A flash, a loud snap, the old maple erupts into flames. Hail and rain now fall near parallel to the ground.


            His Grandfather remembers him but does not recognize him. His Mom is having a hard time. His clothes are wrong. His coat is wrong. His speech is wrong. His Grandfather hurts. His running is wrong. His job is wrong. His behavior is wrong. He is wrong. He is wrong. He is wrong.


            Drip, drip, drip, the rain breaks through the dam and continues to fall. The rivers flood their banks and the skies grow even darker.


            He is home to more chaos. Behind in work with more trips to make. Now he must let someone down. Mom and Dad, with a trip scheduled to Boston, he decides to cancel on them and not go to Boston. All he hears is their disappointment.


            Floodwaters rising and thousands flee.


            He calls his ex-wife and a huge argument ensues. He fails again. He really has no value. Late for a support group meeting, he finds himself sitting in a hall crying.


            Rushing waters crash over rocks, mud rushing all around. Hail, rain, debris. The noise so loud silence had become a distant lost dream. Trees are down, houses lost, people dead, animals swept down river. Sleet has begun to mix in with the rain to punish those holding on.


            He stares at the icy waters. Black, cold, deep and inviting they call to his empty shell of a being. His tears imperceptibly splash in the water, lost in the inky black depths, the water or his soul. His cries are the only thing louder then the wind.