By BD Scott
Grey swirls of clouds gathered and funneled into a point at the edge of a deep blue lake. The water seemed to meet several clouds at their narrowest point and throw their glory up into the sky. He swore that’s what it looked like. Charles couldn’t help but do a double take. Questions erupted in his head about whether today’s weather report called for a tornado-like conditions or an ominous front masquerading as fall clouds. Calmly arranging the AM radio dial with one hand while holding the kitchen shade open with the other hand, Charles eagerly awaited the report between crackles of static. In the corner of his eye, a blast of lightning lit up the morning. He swore he saw a man taking photos of this unusual event.
“There’s an idiot taking pictures of all of this? Really? That little girl with him needs to get inside. Hey!” Charles waved to get their attention but was interrupted by an earsplitting crack of thunder.
Outside, the man and girl spoke after the noise of the thunder calmed.
“Get behind me, Lacey!”
“Because of what happens next.”
“Why, what’s supposed to happen next?”
“Well, after a storm like this, especially from the lighting, the house holding two haunted souls reappears consecutively. Twice, I think. It happens every ten years or so. The story goes they died from a single lightning strike on the house, causing a fire and it burned them alive. It’s so sad. But this appearance is simply a miracle! What timing! I think I’ll get a great shot! Oh, the folks in town are going to love this!”
Meanwhile, Charles turned the radio dial through its full station identification range. The coffee pot wouldn’t be emitting a pop or a whistle any time soon. It wasn’t plugged in, even though the water and coffee grounds were set neatly within the filling tray. He simply got distracted by the unusual cloud formation in all of its strange glory.
“Hmm, Jolea? Where are you? You have got to see this!”
A radio station blipped and resumed its static sound.
Charles’ wife always slept in. She despised mornings. Her moans of protest echoed down the hall from the kitchen.
“You have to see this!”
“Take a picture, I’m sleeping!”
“Get in here! I made you coffee!”
His silent response gave her the usual answer even though she didn’t move a muscle. Gathering the cold under-side of a second pillow, she resumed her half-effort slumber. Charles snapped out of his trance and changed the batteries on the radio. After gathering and inserting three AA batteries into the radio, the lights dimmed, flickered and died.
The clouds that had settled upon the lake now created night in this early morning hour.
Suddenly it got quiet, almost too quiet.
Charles fumbled to turn the radio on and discovered no sound.
“Damn batteries. Might’ve put’em in wrong.”
He decided to sit down, trying to remember where the flashlights were.
“Nothing like this happens around here,” he whispered to the blackness filling his kitchen.
A violent flash of lightening and crash of sharp thunder shook the house, rattling him and subsequently had him laughing at himself.
“Just a storm, “he muttered, “just a storm.”
“Why are the lights off, Charles? I have to brush my teeth!”
“Might as well go back to bed.” The storm outside wants its own way. Lights are out.”
“Dammit, I just warmed up to the idea of your Hazelnut coffee.”
A low groan emerged from the floor.
“Might be a twister. Head for the basement.”
“Can’t see. Where are the flashlights? It’s so dark for eight in the morning. What’s the radio have to say?”
“Uh, nothing. I changed the batteries. I think they’re dead.”
“Great. Just great. Gotta feel our way around? By the time we even get to the cellar door, this thing might blow over. I’m gonna stay right where I am.”
“Could be a twister, Jo. The basement. Now.”
“Where are you from? Did Dorothy hand Toto over to you or something?” Jo quipped.
“We don’t get twisters out here, Jo. Lights are still out. Just crawl over to me in the kitchen. Wind can shatter the windows. And, if nothing else, we can head to the cellar together. And be careful, don’t bump your head on anything, I can’t see anything.”
The house groaned and moaned as if something wanted to move it.
“Damn storm wind,” Charles chastised until it became eerily quiet.
Silence continued to filled the dark spaces around the kitchen island and three chairs, making any movement around them that much more challenging. Charles chose to low-crawl toward his wife, who also managed to low crawl into the kitchen from the bedroom. The cellar door sat inches away from them and they waited for more storm violence to hint going into the depths of more darkness for protection. These moments turned into hours while the blackened morning lingered. Charles and Jolea stopped talking and held each other. Both of them tired of the event and slept off. Thunder and lightning settled into nothing.
Outside, the man and his daughter perched themselves steps in front of their porch in spectator fashion.
“I’m a tad excited here. Can you believe I have evidence of the house and those souls inside this time, Lacey? I think he waved at us.”
“It’s a miracle!”
“Yes, hon. What is it?”
“Do you mean that house?”
“That’s our house, hon.”
“No, it’s not. Ours is blue, not white.”
The man turned to look all around them, confused. He turned back and forth again and again.
“Where’s our house, daddy?”
“Daddy, you’re skin! It’s black and peeling! DADDY!”
~ END?B. D. Scott, Author, Producer of Bestshorthorrorstories.com & Founder of Friedrich Imagines, Ltd. a media production company