Craaaack! And then another one even longer….craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack. The flash of lightning lit the room and seemed to hang there as if the room was in daylight. It woke her of course. Her eyelids flipped back just in time to see the light replaced by utter darkness. And then came the crash of thunder, and it was so very loud. Like the end of the world had arrived.
Her fingers gripped the edge of the sheet with a mad intensity. Her knuckles turned white with the strength of it and she waited, petrified, for the next one that she knew would come.And when it came the lightning crackled and sizzled as if it were burning up the world outside her room. She squeezed her eyes tight shut, knowing that that could not protect herself from the explosion to come, but trying to escape in any way she could. Then there it was again, right overhead, rumbling, booming and exploding all around her.
And then her world shifted. She was back in the bedroom that she had occupied as a child, still shaking as a huge thunder storm moved slowly away. She remembered her mother’s words so well. ‘That’s the Bogey Man coming’ she would say with a laugh. ‘You’d better get back to sleep quickly or he’ll come back for you.’ And with that she switched off the light and shut the door.
The thunder and lightning continued outside as she lay. locked inside her own head not knowing if it was then or now. All she knew was that she must hide somewhere or the Bogey man truly would find her and something horrible would happen.
Throwing of the bedclothes she rushed across the room with a terrified scream, launching herself at the big old mahogany wardrobe that she had inherited from her grandmother.
She crawled in and pulled the door shut tight. And yes, there was comfort there with the reassuring solidity and the rather warm and musty smell of clothes and a mixture of scents from the past. She pulled down an old coat and wrapped it around herself bringing her knees up to her chest as far as the confined space would allow. And then there was silence. Had the storm passed? Or was it just circling, trying to lure her outside and into its clutches? More time passed. Was it seconds or minutes? She could not know but she could hear herself breathing with short shallow gasps.
‘Its ok, you silly thing.’ she said to herself. ‘It was only a childish story that your mother made up.’
But then there was another flash which she could see as it lit up the minute gaps around the closed wardrobe door. She closed her eyes again and waited for the thunder which would inevitably follow.
And just as it started to boom she felt a cold and bony hand grasp her ankle. As she froze in real terror a dry and whispered voice spoke into her ear.
‘I’ve waited a long time for you my beauty.’