Storms and Ghosts

by - July 20, 2010

I am not easily frightened by storms; in fact, I'm quite fond of them.  I like to snuggle beneath the quilt my grandma made, listening to God's drum solo and watching the light show, hushing the kids and turning their attention from fear to wonder at such a display of power.  "No, God's not angry - he's just showing off."

Sunday night.  I've just finished True Blood Episode 305 - not really bedtime story material but I'm not one to have dreams influenced by television.  Lights out.  I settle in.  It's raining hard but I find it soothing and am sleeping almost instantly.  Two minutes later.  Gun shots.  Not really but the thunder is so loud that my bedroom windows rattle and I'm violently jerked from sleep.  There are fireworks outside my window.  Adrenaline is coursing through my blood.  My heart is racing from my abrupt call from sleep.  A frame bounces against the wall during another crash of thunder.  Noa screams.  The red dots on the baby monitor arc all the way across the top.  I run up the stairs.  She reaches for me.  She's trembling and hides her face in my shoulder, crying but patting my back to make sure I'm okay too.  Our path is lit by steady flashes of lightning.  We get back to the bedroom - her cling to my neck tightening each time new thunder rolls.  The baby monitor lights are still dancing - slamming full during thunder and issuing static during lightning.  But something else too.  A voice.  Distant.  Trembling and high pitched.  "Mooommmeeee... Nooooooooo... Moooooommmmmmeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!"  Liam.  I don't want to leave Noa alone in my room with the storm so I carry her back up the stairs - trying to run because of the panic in his voice.

"Liam?  Liam, it's okay, I'm here, it's just a storm..."  I pick my way through a floor littered with toys to his bunk.  He asleep.  Oblivious.  Sideways, feet over the edge, blankets pushed away, mouth hanging open, asleep.  I shake him.  Nothing.  Just a snort and a roll.  I check Zander.  The same.

But that voice is in my head.  Who was it?  Maybe the monitor picked up the baby next door...?  But she's barely old enough to do anything but mew.

I'm nervous as I crawl back into bed.  Noa's already asleep beside me, ignoring the storm, knowing I'll keep her safe.  There's a huge crash and total darkness descends.  The power is out.  It's country dark without the street lights.  Nothing but the baby monitor lights - kicking onto battery power - dancing across their arc with every new explosion of thunder.  I watch them.  They cast strange shadows across my ceiling.  I'm waiting for the voice - wondering if the little boy that they used to keep locked upstairs actually died there.  (When we bought the house the upstairs bedroom had a lock on the outside and the door was smashed up on the inside like someone was trying to get out.)  Creepy.  I'm trying to control my heart rate.  More lightning.  Noa rolls over and pats my arm like she feels my fear.  I turn off the monitor because it's creeping me out.  I strain through the thick darkness for the form of a little boy.  I feel like there are bugs in my bed.  I squeeze my eyes shut against my imagination, thinking that dreams of Sookie Stackhouse and the Bon Temps vampires would be worlds better than this.

And I do sleep.  And I don't dream.  And in the morning Scott laughs at me and my ghost stories and is sure that I dreamed it all.  Me?  I'm not so sure...

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