Over the past few days, there have been a few thundery showers and England’s fair share of lightning and even more rain. Though one of the bouts of stormy weather a couple of nights ago kept me awake most of the night, I still love a good storm. I’ve been known to run outside and dance around in the rain out of excitement for a brewing storm and a roll of thunder. So, yesterday when there was another hint of stormy weather, I was inspired to write something about it.
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Dark clouds laden with rain water dominated the sky, which was silent and brooding. I looked up into the face of the weather and squinted. Electricity was in the air. I could feel it.
“There’s a storm brewing…” I murmured to myself as I stepped into the field.
Something told me to go for a walk that evening, as though a magnetic force was dragging me out of the comfort and safety of my home and into the unpredictability of the great outdoors, on an evening when it appeared that the heavens would open at any moment.
I had been sitting in my living room, reading A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne. It had been a humid day and I was still clad in the shorts and vest top that I had been wearing since that morning. Everything felt hot and sticky and remarkably uncomfortable. Yet the heat also cast a spell of laziness over me, so I couldn’t even bring myself to get up off the chair and freshen up with a nice cold shower. Despite the heat of the day, and the comfort it stole away from me, I had a freshly brewed tea by my side as I read and it was almost at perfect drinking temperature. Tea almost downed and the end of the chapter nigh, I glanced outside at the gloomy weather, a feeling of impending doom staring down at me in the form of a looming black cloud that was making its way in from the coast. It was at that moment that something within me said, ‘I feel like going out in that’, and five minutes later, there I was locking the front door from the outside, in my red rain coat and boots in case rain were to pour (the brooding black cloud overhead perhaps providing a subtle clue that that was a slight possibility).
I strode across the road and walked down the alleyway that led to the river. Strolling alongside the water, I looked across at the field on the opposite bank and marveled at the wide expanse of sky that the countryside had to offer. My view was like an impressive display of oil on canvas. At the bottom of the page, a green pasture dotted with clumps of wild grass resided under an immense grey-black mass of rolling clouds, growing smaller and smaller into the distance, as far as the eye could see. I looked up river, searching for a way that I might be able to venture across to the other side, into the painting that lay so magnificently before me. Low and behold, about five minutes downstream was a wooden rickety number that I thought would do just nicely. Approaching the bridge, the tale of the three billy goats popped into my mind and I chuckled to myself, wondering whether this bridge housed a resident troll. I got the feeling that a troll would probably really enjoy this sort of weather and for that reason I sort of hoped that there was one hidden under there to delight in it.
It was whilst crossing the bridge that I realised how static the air felt this evening. I squinted up at the dark sky and, as I stepped into the field on the other side of the bridge, I remarked that there was a storm brewing- just in case there was a troll nearby whom would be glad to hear such news.
I had been walking for about another fifteen minutes when a deep growl of thunder rolled in from the distance. Following almost instantaneously were the first few drops of rain, which I heard patter onto my raincoat. I looked up into the sky and saw the rain falling from above me. Getting heavier by the minute, it was soon chucking it down. A clap of thunder marked the first bolt of lightning in the near distance. Fork lightning, it lighted up the dark clouds surrounding it for just a moment, only to leave them in darkness again after mere seconds. Enjoying the fresh storm, I counted the seconds between each roll of thunder, marveling all the while at the white forks of electricity striking all around the field where I continued to walk. The amount of time between thunder claps grew less and less, until the grumbles came one after the other, with almost no pause for breath in between. Lightning flashed all around, almost as frequently, hopping from one side of me to the other. I almost felt like a celebrity being ambushed by the paparazzi, the bright flashes on their cameras startling me with every invasive photograph. It was the most incredible storm I had seen in a long time and I embraced it entirely, smiling to myself as I saw the sky light up in forks and heard the deep growl that went with it. I stopped on the spot and raised my arms out either side of me, like an angel. Raising my head backwards, I shut my eyes and listened to the snarl of the skies, feeling the rain patter onto my cold face and hearing it steadily thrum on my raincoat.
My last seconds played out as if in slow motion.
An angry roar of thunder clapped directly above where I was standing. I opened my eyes. A spike of lightning reached down to me from the low cloud above. There was no time to do anything but watch. The dazzling fork jerked from sky to earth and struck my fragile form.
The last thing I felt was a searing hot charge traveling through my veins, reaching my core in an instant. And as quickly as I had decided to leave the house fifty-seven minutes earlier, my life was ended.