The Evening of the Storm
(A Short Story)
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Finite Creatures.”
I can’t really remember when I first discovered that our lives were finite, so I’ll take refuge in fiction and tell you the story of a girl who wouldn’t die.
It had happened on the evening of the storm. The townsfolk still remembered that evening. They talked about the storm and the brave truck driver who died that night.
“He died trying to save her,” said her grandfather, pointing a knobby finger at her.
“Not a drop of gratitude,” said her grandmother, adjusting her bifocals and looking across the room at Leah.
She tried to drown their voices by turning her attention to the storm that was brewing outside. Lea hated her grandparents who whiled away their time recounting events that had turned to dust, except in their minds.
She had trained herself to ignore them but she knew that it wasn’t going to be easy, especially tonight. This treacherous night looked a lot like the night that they were talking about. Before she could steel herself, the stormy night colluded with her grandparents’ conversation and pulled the plug. Memories tumbled in.
Terrible memories. Of the storm, and of death.
Leah was returning from school when the skies had turned dark. She was just a hundred yards away from home; she just had to cross that wooden bridge across the river and she would have been home.
But at that point, right before the bridge, her memories slowed down – they turned into a series of snap-shots.
First, the cold steely feel of the knife on the skin of her throat, then the violent shove; little later a familiar smell riding on a hoarse whisper, “come with me.”
Then it all turned into a blur.
A blur of rain, the sound of clothes being torn off, a raspy voice, an unbearable stench of sweat mixed with that of rotting teeth, and throttled cries for help…
That was all she remembered of it. But the memory of the pain still made her clench her teeth and cross her legs, really tight.
It must’ve lasted an hour or more – she couldn’t remember, but those bruises were everywhere.
Later, he lay satiated on the rotting floor of the log-cabin and said in his slimy, wheezy voice, “Don’t tell anyone, or you will die.” She didn’t know then, what dying meant, but she nodded. And then it happened. A strong gust of wind was all it took. The last thing that she remembered was that the cabin shook wildly and then rotten logs under him gave way. They crumbled, then cascaded down into the wild river. The logs were swept away, but he wasn’t. She saw him impaled upon one of the jagged rocks. The overhang was all gone and she lay on the edge, face down, watching his body twist and turn as the water hit it.
She was found two days later. She didn’t tell anyone. She was eight and she thought that if she told, she’d die too. She didn’t want to die.
Leah turned and looked at the pictures on the mantel.
They were all there. Her mother, her father, and he. All three. All dead.
The Genesis of this Post:
When Lydia and I discovered that we had both used the Photo-prompt for our blogging assignment, we decided to do the assignment once again, with the correct prompt this time. So we set ourselves a time-limit of one hour for the post, in which we had to think about the prompt, crystallize our thoughts, and make the post. I overshot it by 10 minutes 😦 She was in time with hers 🙂 Please visit her blog here.