Thunder Rolls

by Lillian Manachino

A big loud noise woke Emily. She went outside and saw nothing amiss, so she went back in and sat down to watch television.

A few minutes later, she heard the same noise and went out again to check. Bright white lines bolted across the sky. She sat down on the porch watching them until her Mom called her in and told her she should not be outside during a thunderstorm. Emily didn't question her mother because she knew her Mom was smarter than she.

When her mom went into the kitchen to wash the dishes, little Emily sat by her bedroom window. She watched the huge trees swing back and forth. Then she saw the same bolt of bright white light flash again, and decided to stay away from the window for a bit.

One hour passed and still the bolts of light continued to flash. She was about to go by the window and watch again, when the TV made a loud buzzing noise.

Her mother came in to see what was the matter. She had heard the weatherman earlier on television forecast a severe thunderstorm coming to their area, and warning to keep children away from windows.

Her mother returned to the kitchen and put several candles and matches in her pocket, then she returned to Emily's room. She gathered the frightened girl on her knee and explained what was happening in the sky. The big crash was thunder, her mother told her. And the bright flashing lights were lightning.

Emily was sitting alone quietly, staring in the direction of the window, when she saw something her mother had not explained: gigantic chunks of ice raining down from the sky, along with the loud thunder and heavy downpour. She grew even more frightened and ran, crying, to her mother in the kitchen. Her mother hugged her reassuringly, then they sat down together in the living room and watched the weather report on television.

Again, the weatherman said to stay away from windows because of the dangerous lightning and also the danger of the ice chunks breaking the windows.

Emily had stopped crying, but she was still afraid, especially as the wind picked up more and more speed, and the rain fell heavily at a steady pace. Then all at once there was silence; her mother called it, "the calm before the storm." About an hour later, the rain and thunder resumed. The storm went on throughout the night, to the next day. Emily slept late, because the sound of the rain itself falling was soothing and lulling, and oddly made her feel safe.

Toward afternoon the storm started to lighten up and the sky to clear. Through the remaining clouds she could see a curving line with many colors. Her mother told her it was a rainbow.

For the rest of the day, Emily sat by the window watched the rainbow.

copyright 2002
by Lillian Manachino to Top

Short Story