August 18, 2013

The Storm

She held the cup of pumpkin spiced tea in her hands and watched the lightning strike down out of the sky, as if it were angry at someone or something. It was nights like these that she cherished. Very few could understand and many accused her of being a witch. She would never understand why some people think the way they do.

Yes, she loved the local shops like Magnolia Health and Home where she'd purchased her favorite teas, smelled of the wonderfully scented handmade candles and browsed the cute and whimsical collection of potion bottles with the little black cats on them for Halloween earlier that day, but why cast her as a witch for doing so?

And why fear a thunderstorm and make those who enjoyed them into something just as feared. To her, storms brought a sense of calming. It was better than a day at the spa. Something she’d never really indulged in, but knew was true.

Another streak of lightning struck down from the sky and for a moment the entire night sky lit up. How could someone not enjoy such a beautiful sight. The shrill of the telephone interrupted the moment and she set her cup of tea down and reached for the receiver.

“Hello?” From the other end was silence and then a faint static was her only response.

“Hello?” Silence again and the same static. It was almost as if the static was saying hello back to her.

“Great.” She sighed and said the receiver back down into the cradle of the telephone. The phone lines were down. She hoped the call wasn't important and could wait until the storm cleared. She started to reach for her cup when the telephone rang again. Picking up the receiver she muttered a quick hello only to get the same silence and static from before.

“Damn it!” She slammed the receiver into the cradle and yanked the phone cord from the telephone’s jack. She was not about to be annoyed by the shrill of the telephone all night long. She picked up her cup of tea and press the rim of it to her lips. The shrill of the telephone echoed in her ears. She froze. Ring. Ring. Ring. She slowly set the cup down and hesitantly reached for the receiver. Ring. Ring. Ring. She stared at the telephone cord. It was still unplugged.

With a shaky hand, she picked up the receiver. “Hell-o?” The same silence and then faint static echoed through the line.

“What do you want?” As if it were responding, the static echoed. She slammed the receiver into the cradle and threw the phone across the room.

He stepped off the bus and onto the curb, the sun beating down on him. It had been four long years since he’d been home. He tossed his black leather jacket over his shoulder and ran a hand through his greased hair. For a second he wondered why he'd even come back. They’d sent him away, they didn’t want him here. He eyed the drugstore across the road and smiled. Not much had changed it seemed. He crossed the road, steps inside the drugstore and nodded at old Mr. Hampton, the owner.

“Can I borrow the telephone?” The old man seemed off in a trance, so he figured he’d help himself. “Just going to borrow the telephone, ok?”

He picked up the receiver and dialed the number he knew by heart. The line rang once and the operator picked up. “ I’d like to make a call to Esther Churchem.” He said.

“Hello?” The operator responded.

“Yeah. I want to call Esther Churchem.” He tried again.

“Hello?”

“I said-” the operator hung up. He stared at the telephone stunned, but then rang the operator again.

“Hello?”

“Yeah, you hung up on me.” He said.

“Hello?”

“Uhh.” The phone clicked and silence. He stared in anger and rang the phone again. He was going to give her a piece of his mind this time.

“Hello?” The operator responded.

“Listen, I don’t like games.” He said.

“What do you want?” She asked.

“I want to-” he stopped. The familiar click and then silence. He slammed the telephone into the receiver and stormed out of the store without looking back. If he ever saw that operator he was going to give her a piece of his mind. It was a 2-mile walk to grandmother Esther's house.