At Storms End

The rain assaulted the window in big fat drops as lightning streaked across the black sky.

 

“One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi.” Thunder rolled.

 

“The storm brings them, mom. I don’t know why? I can feel the humidity and then the temperature drops. I know they’re gonna come. It’s only a matter of time.” Tim cowered and pulled the cover up to his chin. It had been the same as long as he could remember, with every storm they came. Lightning lit the sky outside with purple-white streaks that saturated the skyline.

 

“Brings what dear?” Debbie, Tim’s mom shook her head at her Fifteen-year-old son.

 

“One Mississippi, two Mississippi, they’re nearly here.”

 

“God damn it, Tim, you can’t still be scared of thunder and lightning, you’ve got to grow up.” Tim muttered to himself as he bobbed his head under the cover as the thunder rolled again. It was getting louder. Debbie huffed and went to the window to pull the curtains closed.

 

“NO, leave them open, I’ve got to watch.”

 

She twirled like an angry tornado. Her long brown hair whipped about her face as she glared at the only visible part of her son’s head. Lightning flashed again, apocalyptic streaks of blue-white light lit the suburban street outside his bedroom window.

 

“Got to watch what, Tim?”

 

Tim shut his eyes and swallowed hard, it was never easy to watch them come, but he had to know.

 

“Oh my God Tim, your incredible, you know that. Gah.”

 

Debbie strode to the door and slammed it shut. Tim listened as her heavy footfall stomped down the stairs, then he peeked out from the blankets as thunder rolled again.

 

“One Mississippi.” The lightning flickered and flared in the window as Tim pulled off his covers. He had to see; he had to be sure that they weren’t coming for him this time. The storm was directly overhead now. He knew they were out there.

 

He crept across the plush carpet to his window. The blackness outside only disturbed by a scattering of street lights. He knew he would see them, the spectral army of the dead. The ghostly images of people gone and forgotten, the spirits of the ones who met the end by tragedy or age. They were all there as he looked out, slowly gliding forward as the storm drifted along the earth. A loud scream sounded in the hallway and Tim shuddered. He opened his eyes to see a ghost of a colonial soldier float down the path towards his door. More turned off down the footpath from their march.

 

A loud thud echoed up the stairs. Tim jumped up and ran to the door throwing his back against it. A moment later a cold spread across his back. A cold so numbing that it didn’t even belong in the coldest of climates. Tim jumped and rubbed at the spot where the cold seeped into his skin. A tingling spiked out across his back as he turned toward the door. A small black spot appeared where his back had been, slowly Icicles spread from the spot in blackened spirals, a hand came through the wood, followed by an arm, then a shoulder, and the part Tim least wanted to see.  The cold stare of a spectral ghost. The man had once been old by his standards. A scraggly beard draped to his chest, the other half burnt off, the scars covered the left side of his face and body, scraps of clothing hung on a gaunt frame.

 

And still he stared.

 

Tim felt the presence enter his mind, he tried to resist the iron grasp clamped on to his will. His fingers twitched and flexed of their own accord. Or rather, with the ghost’s command. Tim felt his control slip. Felt his left arm reach out and grasp his bedside light. Smash the bulb against the wall. He fought control over his body, but the spectral man was far too strong. Slowly the buzzing element of the bulb came closer.  Tim cried out as the ghost looked on.

 

The spark came and touched his skin, the lights in the house flickered and went out, and still the army of ghost floated by. But, this time another soul swelled their rank.

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