Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Thunder #WingWritingChallenge Day 12

This might be cheating - or not. I've already written about thunder, so here's a little part of it. I hope you enjoy.

One night in late autumn, the Mississippi sky split apart and a great deluge of rain poured out of the dark clouds. It pummeled the side of the house and cracked so hard against the windows I feared the glass would break. Thunder, boisterous and booming, shook the house like cannon fire, and the lightning ripped through the sky illuminating my room with a ghostly blue glow. I heard a thump that came from the hall and sat straight up in my bed. The silhouette of a small child formed itself out of the light and shadow as it hovered just inside my door.

“Hope?” I whispered loudly. In a flash of jagged lightning I saw her face, a mask of uncertainty and fear shaping her chubby features.
“I’m afraid, Faith.” 
I could barely hear her over the thunder and the wind that pried its strong fingers around the edges of the screens on my windows. I motioned for her to come to the bed. Pulling the blankets away, I revealed a vacant space on the mattress and she quickly scurried up, the soles of her feet warm against my bare calf. “The thunder scares me.”
My lips found her warm, clean head and I pressed them against her curls. Her little bottom nestled against my stomach and I slung my arm over her beneath the covers. “It's okay," I whispered. "It’s just loud is all.” 
Hope was silent for a moment, the room exploding in another sudden burst of light followed seconds later by the crashing of thunder. I felt her shudder against me. “Daddy says thunder’s the sound God makes when he’s mad.” 
A sigh escaped my lips before I settled further into the pillow remembering that he'd said that to me once, too. A long time ago, while dipping my hand into Mama’s cookie jar, I’d pulled the whole thing down onto the floor. It broke into many pieces too small to glue back together. A fiercely violent storm blew in later that afternoon, the thunder so loud it seemed to shake the very foundation of the house. Daddy told me that God was very angry with me for sneaking cookies when I'd been told not to. I’d believed him.
“Thunder goes with rain,” I explained, my mouth moving against the messy strands of Hope's hair. “God's just watering all his flowers and trees. Maybe he was lonely and the sound is keeping him company.”   
She shook her head hard, my words providing no solace. “No.” Her chin lifted and her face was covered in shadows highlighted only by the brief and bright flashes of lightning that continued to light up the room. Her eyes were large and glassy and I could feel her body shake with the hiccups that come after a hard cry. “Daddy was really angry with me tonight. Mama told him about school.” 
Our father's voice had filled the upper hall hours earlier after the supper dishes had been washed, dried and put away and I was fanning a crisp clean table cloth over the dining room table. He'd caught Hope before she'd made it to the safety of Mama's pink tub. His words trailed down the stairs to fill the entry way as he told her that if she wasn’t mindful, God would know it and she would be punished, that God knew everything and disobedient children paid for their insolence and bad behavior. 
“The thunder, Faith,” she whispered, burrowing in tighter against me in my overly warm bed.  “God’s angry with me, too.” 
“No, Hope,” I quickly assured her.
“Yes, ma'am,” she argued.  “He is. I was disobedient and now God’s angry with me. Daddy said so.”
She shuddered again as another crack of thunder fell, rolling and churning around us. When the last of the noise had faded away and there was nothing left but the sound of fat drops of rain pelting the glass she spoke again. “Daddy should know,” she told me. “No one knows God better than Daddy.”


Excerpt from The Color of Thunder
(c) J.C. Wing 2012