If you have ever heard artillery in the distance you know why so many people have compared its sound with thunder and thunder’s with artillery. Tyger Linn tensed up and growled at it, the storm still many miles away, but a warning is a warning. I’ve opened the windows and let the night air in again, yes, this early in September, it is only the fifth, I know, but there is a change in the air. The hour before dawn isn’t as sticky as it was a month ago and even if it did hit ninety-four today it didn’t stay there for very long. The days of the pop-up thunder storms are over, almost, but here’s one creeping up on us as midnight closes in as well. Horror stories begin this way.
This one is not only loud as the sound of cannon fire it is also as brilliant as fireworks. This isn’t a flash here and a flash there, with rolling thunder coming in seconds later, no. This is an all-out war between the Giants in the Sky, who toss bolts of lightning at one another and the earth shakes with the sound of them falling from the skies to crash headlong upon the fields and woods. Lilith joins us on the bed and I let the cousins in, but I close the bedroom door. I do not want the better part of two hundred twenty pounds of dog on top of me during a storm and I do not want Tyger Linn interacting with anyone during this sort of racket. And racket there is.
It’s one thing to be able to see the world outside in those brief blue flashes of light from the sky but it is quite another to sit up and be able to see, very distinctly, the rain and the trees and everything else in the yard. I lie back down and the house shakes and rumbles with the noise. I keep one hand on Tyger and she tenses up every time thunder shakes the house. She reacts to the thunder a split second before I hear it. Tyger has learned that lightning equal thunder next and she’s anticipating the noise. And it has been a very long time since I have heard this sort of noise.
The blue flashes are now joined by reddish orange stuff and the thunder gets louder and doesn’t just boom. The windows rattle and the house shakes for seconds as the sound vibrates across the sky. There is a tearing sound racing across the sky like the scream of a woman having an orgasm that ends with an incredible release of noise and Tyger sits up and her entire body is ready to spring toward the heavens. Lilith snuggles closer to me and I wonder if, perhaps, this will be a storm that I remember for a long time.
There is a terrible, terrible, tearing noise that begins deep and away from the house and it ends with the rattling of the whole of the earth. The room is illuminated in white yellow light and there is a sudden boom of noise as if the lightning and the thunder are both trying to enter the same doorway simultaneously. I see Tyger Linn in midair, in mid-bark, as she leaps off the bed and towards the door. There is the sound like a light bulb blowing and I know that whatever has happened it has happened here and now and to my house. Tyger Linn challenges this trespass with her voice and every fiber of her being. She scolds the Sky Giants for their war with one another and Tyger refuses to be collateral damage. If she is to die she her death will come with bared teeth and death threats. Tyger Linn is unafraid.
Another tearing sound rips across the sky and another blast of thunder shakes us. Tyger now races across the bed and places her body firmly across my face. I cannot breathe. There’s a series of lightning flashes, one, two, three, four, and then there’s a strobe light of blue that ends in a deep rumbling noise surrounded by a loud crash deep inside the sky. Yet this one, with all its violence, seems to be a bit to the north of the house. Instead of a direct hit, this barrage lands in the front yard, not the back, and the rain falls harder, the background noise to all of this makes itself known again.
Now it is very clear and very distinct; the storm is moving to the north and to the east. The light coming in from the open window fades and the light coming into the other windows now throws shadows from lower and further away. The sound of thunder echoes across Hickory Head with the rumbling of cannon fire but the war is moving slowly away from us. Lilith jumps down off the bed to find her blanket. Tyger Linn, still at my side, uncocks her body and begins to curl up a bit.
The rain lessens and the wind finally dies down a bit. It is past midnight now and very slowly peace and darkness returns to the night.
Morning finds me looking to see what got hit and how bad it was. The wifi works. I am very surprised the line coming in from the outside didn’t feed some unwanted power to the inside and fry the modem. The light in the bedroom work as does the lights in the bathroom. I hear the sound, or thought I did, there. There might be a dead tree near my bedroom window now. There is a breaker tripped but that’s all the damage I can find. There are no wounds to be healed there are no machines to be replaced and there are no dogs still shaking after a night of violence. The storm has come, stayed for a while, and then left again, as all storms will do.
But this is one I will remember for quite some time.