Write a short story in which you create an immersive experience of a setting or a world.
It was a moonless night and she could smell the storm coming in from the east. Subsequently, the initial sparks of light graced the dark sky. She trudged over the muddy hills and saw them flickering in the distance; fireflies. She reached the stone slab and knelt down, watching the tiny, dancing bugs speak to the lightning. Both natural creations flashed messages back and forth in what seemed to be perfect Morse code.
Diane closed her eyes. How terrified she would be whenever the storms rolled in. The crashing clouds and majestic displays of lightning would send her scurrying under the covers. A few booms later, she’d admit absolute defeat and appear shamefaced at her parents’ door.
Mummy would smile and stretch out her arms and she’d gulp back her tears and gratefully snuggle up to her. She wouldn’t look at Daddy. His snorts of disgust and murmurs of not again struck an even more terrifying blow than nature’s bellowing outside.
Mummy would reprovingly murmur back a hush and hug her even tighter.
She had tried hard not to be afraid, anything not to have Daddy look at her with his piercing gaze and speak of how his three sisters would be out on the farm with him and his four brothers, climbing trees, grazing elbows and facing any storm that crashed the night sky.
“I climb trees too, Daddy,” she’d state with a glimmer of hope, but he’d impatiently brush away her words and spirit.
Then, another maliciously dark night, still, silent. She had shivered in anticipation, the first crack as the clouds churned and roiled, forcing her trembling fingers to grab the soft quilt and fling it over her head.
Ensconced in her sanctuary, each heart beat hitting painfully against her chest, she had hummed a tune to the first nursery rhyme that had come to mind, willing herself to drown out the thunderous claps and fulmination in the sky.
A vicious outburst from above and she knew she needed Mummy’s arms around her, holding her, protecting her. She had flung her quivering legs over the side of her bed, cautiously sliding the quilt off her head, her outstretched palms masking her ears. She had run barefoot out of her room, the cold floor getting colder with each hurried step. Reaching her destination, her right foot had struck the tall wooden table in the narrow corridor. She’d felt herself falling and reflexively held out her hands downwards for support, landing with a painstaking thud. Her shriek was overpowered by the crash of the porcelain vase that fell off the table, that coalesced with nature’s vehemence outdoors.
Whimpering, she had felt strong arms lift her firmly off the floor, as Daddy carried her into the room.
Minutes later, her sobbing subsided, she was still sitting on Daddy’s lap. Mummy had carefully examined her face, hands and feet for shards of glass.
“I tried not be afraid, Daddy! I did!” she’d suddenly blurted out and got ready for Daddy’s annoyed retort.
But this time, she’d felt him gently stroke her hair and looked up in surprise.
Daddy’s face was a mixture of sadness and what she’d later remember as partial guilt.
“I want to show you something,” he’d said softly and carried her in his arms, walked out of his room, down the wooden staircase, to the front door and unlocked it.
He’d stepped out into the wet night and pointed into the distance.
“You see those little flickers of light, sweetheart?”
She had squinted and followed his finger and saw a faint twinkle. One sparkle became two and then a flurry of bright spots danced as the heavens opened up and thick drops pattered onto the muddy ground.
Curiosity overcame fear and she had stared wide-eyed at the fireflies, as streaks of lightning flashed intermittently above.
“They’re talking to each other!” she’d exclaimed aloud, as she saw the flickering bugs flash in response to the raging bolts lighting up the black sky.
Daddy’s eyes had lit up and he’d smiled.
“Storms aren’t only about loud noises. They too have meaning.”
“What are they saying to each other, Daddy?”
“I don’t know, but maybe if you keep watching them, you might just figure it out.”
What followed was a growing admiration of nature’s sagacity and soon she had braved the booms and from her bedroom window, would watch the performance of bugs and bolts, the cacophony that enveloped, just the background score.
With time, she had unlatched the window and slid it open, feeling the cold raindrops hit her face and stretch out her fingers towards the blinking insects.
She’d excitedly interpret their conversation and tell her parents. Mummy would laugh and Daddy would pat her head.
Some nights she’d sit on Daddy’s lap, her nose pressed against the glass window and they’d marvel at nature’s magnificent designs together.
Later, she had insisted that they go out into the night and watch the fireflies from a closer distance. And not just any ordinary night, but when lightning illuminated the dark sky.
She remembered Daddy’s proud face when she’d said that. His little girl was no longer afraid.
They’d trudged a short distance over the hills, raindrops pouring down on their raincoats, Daddy holding on firmly to her hand. There, they’d witnessed dozens of the glittering insects, flashing their responses to the blazes above.
Years later, she’d laughed at herself, remembering her trembling fingers shoved into her ears, trying to drown out the rumbling sounds she now embraced.
At his gravestone, Diane traced the engraved letters of Daddy’s name. He’d wanted to be buried here, the hillside where they’d watched the dancing bugs, father and daughter, together.
I’ve used the story line from a previously posted flash fiction story: Nature’s Pull