I’d appreciate any thoughts that you may have on this. It’s not actually a story, it doesn’t have a real plot per se. It’s just a descriptive piece that I thought you might enjoy.
THE RAIN KING
I stride purposefully over to my bedroom window and peer outside. It’s dark. The sky is almost black with storm clouds, bags of rain waiting to be slit open by a lightning knife. Perfect. I turn swiftly on my heel and half walk-half run downstairs and into my kitchen. I open the back door and slowly, savouring every second, step into the back garden and prepare myself for what was to come. The atmosphere, although cold, harsh and unfeeling to anyone else, is warm and familiar to me and I embrace it fondly, like an old friend. It’s been months since the last good storm and I’ve started getting the headaches again, real killers. But this one’s going to be big, it’s gonna be one hell of a show…
I sit down, lean back in my chair and wait, I don’t expect anything because I know with a certainty I rarely experience that my deepest desires will be fulfilled. There’s no uncertainty so there’s no expectation, I am at peace. I feel a raindrop impact on my cheek, I feel it caress my skin. It’s started. I close my eyes and cast my mind back to the first time I experienced a real storm…
I was twelve years old at the time and whilst most memories of that time are etched into the back of my mind in scratchy monochrome, the day I first experienced IT remains, perfect in every detail, emblazoned on the lens of my minds eye, refusing to fade away.
I was staying with my parents on my Grandfathers farm in Haarpurt, Holland, a dull little farming village near the border with Germany. If it had been a block or two smaller it would have been a hamlet, even with its actual size it didn’t make it onto Dutch national maps. That’s how small it was. Anyway, my grandfather, my father and myself were sitting outside in my Grandfathers garden, them drinking beer and making small talk and I waiting patiently for them to finish so I could go inside. It was night time and the familiar blanket of stars were completely obscured by thick black clouds. Then it began. The change was almost imperceptible at first, the air began to grow heavy and the breeze died away.
“Storm’s coming” My grandfather said, “Let’s clear this away and get indoors”.
We all helped put away the plastic table and chairs and as the air grew thick with static charge around us I felt it. I felt it touch the deepest recesses of my soul and invigourate it with it’s awesome power. That point, where I first felt the power of the storm, first saw the burning fire hidden behind the clouds in my minds eye, is the only part of the experience I cannot fully recall. The moment where my mind suddenly shifted it’s boundaries remains elusive but I can still remember how elated it made me feel.
As my grandfather and father cleared the last piece of furniture away and entered the house I was left outside for a moment. I noticed they had left the key in the lock and without thinking I locked it tight and pocketed the key.
I sat on the hard stony ground and waited. The silence was so stunning, so powerful and perfect that I was almost lost in it, engulfed. I’d never felt so small and insignificant as I did at that moment but even then I didn’t know what small really was. Then it happened. The rain started to fall. Sporadic. Then more freely. Then there was no controlling it. Drizzle turned to downpour turned to deluge in the space of a few seconds. Harder and faster the rain fell covering me, cleansing me, washing everything clean. The wind whipped up and turned the rain icy on my face, pushing and pulling in all directions. It grew stronger until I couldn’t hear, stronger until I couldn’t see and stronger still until I could barely even breathe. I stood up and forced my way through the wind to the door of my grandfather’s garage which sheltered me from the wind and let me see again.
Then, the first rumble. It was far in the distance and I couldn’t see the lightning yet but I knew it was going to get closer and that’s exactly what it did. Closer and closer until the gap between the Flash and the thunderclap was non-existent. The rain lashed harder and the wind built up to a furious crescendo,
The rain petered out and the wind died down. During this respite I could hear my father yelling at me to come inside. I ignored him and turned my back on him, I knew this was just the calm before the real storm broke. Slowly but surely the wind and rain returned and grew even stronger than before. At that moment I saw it; the huge fork of lightning, the fingers of the Gods, so white it was almost blue slid through the air and hit the ground somewhere behind my grandfathers barn. A break, a nanosecond of silence, then the crash of the impact of hundreds of millions of volts slamming into the ground at 186,000 miles per second rocked my world and made my ears ring. I flinched against the garage door, suddenly fearful. Again and again the tongues of energy lashed the air around me and each time the thunder sounded and pushed back the boundaries of what my ears could take, daring me to stay outside. The rain became a solid sheet of liquid, each individual drop becoming indistinguishable from the next. The rain seemed to meld with the air around me, forming a gestalt entity, a primitive intelligence and it embraced me lovingly. I could feel the charge in the air growing and growing so hard and so fast, I knew what was coming.
Lightning struck a tree no more than 50 yards away. It exploded into flames and split in half. It crashed to the ground, the flames dancing on the air around it, electrifying the atmosphere. Electricity flowed crawled over my skin. It danced behind my eyes and it coursed through my veins. My heart pumped battery acid and hurled itself against my chest. Trying to beat it’s way out. I could see little white balls of fire dancing in front of my eyes, disappearing whenever I tried to focus on one. Then everything started slowing down, the sound of the thunder grew softer, more indistinct. The lightning was no longer a blur as my eyes traced it’s path from the clouds to the rain saturated ground. I zoomed out, everything seemed to be shifting out of perspective and moving further away, so I could see it for what it really was, a living being, full of force and bluster but with a totally benign nature, it’s sole purpose being to purify, to rejuvenate. I was at one with it, we were an entity all our own and I never wanted it to leave me. It seemed to remain for hours before it did eventually leave. The rain slowly started to ease off and the wind dropped suddenly, down from a raging gale to a harsh breeze. The thunder grew fainter and I couldn’t see the lightning anymore. After a few more minutes it had moved on.
I rose to my feet in clothes which were so wet the colours had started bleeding and staggered towards the house. I unlocked it, took one last fond look at the night sky and entered. I looked at a wall clock 21:15. I’d been out there for over an hour. As I changed my mother and father chastised me as I knew they would. “How could I be so stupid?”, “If I caught pneumonia it would be my own stupid fault” etc… I barely heard them as I lay on my bed, closed my eyes and saw the lightning behind my eyelids dance and sparkle into the night…
Flash forward. The rain is falling thick and fast now twenty seven years, three months and two weeks on from that night and my reverie is interrupted by the first clap of thunder. I patiently wait for the cleansing feeling, the few brief moments of enlightenment I will receive as this new storm rushes to embrace me and as I close my eyes and wait I can see the lightning again, dancing
Well, what do you think? I’d really appreciate it if you just said whether or not you liked it, even if you don’t have any actual comments. Of course if you do have specific comments please tell me because I’m really keen to find the weaknesses in my writing style.