Suburbs. Two girls, leaning right out. Elbows on the windowsill. The sky darkens into silver, the air outside heavy and warm. The lightbulb sun disappears behind a cloud, the summer’s haunted evening now settling comfortably in. A sodden cat watches them from the street below.
Flash. Abi look! Did you see?
Light. Illuminating everything, revealing the world. For a single moment, the evening plunged into daylight – electric and artificial and shockingly bright. During this moment all can be seen: the metallic shine of dozens of parked cars, the confident sparkle of reflection off the distant sea, the golden red bricks of the houses in the suburbs, and the wide blue eyes of the two speechless young girls.
Look. This moment, just this moment. The darkness now gone, the storm a distant memory. Gloom forgotten behind this silver façade.
But… Soon over, back to normal. Just a quick flash, a split second of light, and then embrace darkness’ dreaded return.
Look! cries Amy. There’s a cat! Her finger points outside, raindrops splattering on her arm.
Kitty! coos Abi. Hey what if… It never stops raining? Do kitties live in Venice?
Silly, says Amy. She comes inside, sits on the bed. Abi takes over her place, reaching outside and into the storm.
FLASH. Illuminate. Reveal. Daylight, electric, artificial. Stop time, see everything.
Wow, they cry.
Doorway. It’s Mum, frowning at them. Get down from there, she says with a flourish, Abi’s arm still beckoning the storm.
Mum! Abi sings. She hops down. Did you see it?
Flash! She bows, forms a ball, jumps into a star. Her voice echoes like thunder.
Ah, says Mum, folding her arms. Have you been counting?
Yeah. It flashes, you count up. One two three four. Until you hear the boom. She sits down on the bed. That’s how far away the storm is.
Flash. Empty streets, unnatural white light. Stop it there. Pause the scene. Two young girls, mouths open wide. See the picture, feel the electricity. Watch from windows, shelter in cars. Heavy black clouds, tiny crystalline raindrops. Roads like oceans.
Just this moment. Not forever.
Play. While paused, brightness and clarity. Now darkness is restored. The girls count their fingers:
One. Two three. Four five six. A low distant groan, crashing and rumbling through them…
The sodden feline quickly scarpers.
Ready for dinner yet?
Release your breaths, hurry downstairs, and…
© Aimee S. Green, October 2018