Lightning Thrashed and Thunder Boomed...

October 20, 2007
By Annie Kraus, Birmingham, AL

Lightning thrashed and thunder boomed as an old man laid alone in his bed at home. Other houses were filled with cries from frightened children and soothing words from calming parents, but no sound came from the old man's white home down the street. No sound at all, except maybe for the weak, short breaths coming from the old man laying heavily on an old wooden bed. His eyes were closed and his body lay in a deep sleep, but his mind was wide awake. Memories ran through his head, bumping into one another, destroying one another, and killing one another. The good memories tried to shine through and justify the poor man from his dark fate, but the thick blood of the bad enemy drowned the good memories in sorrow, anger and regret. There was no escape as the dark liquid conquered the mind and the short breaths of the old man became heavy and labored. Beads of sweat poured from Benjamin's forehead as he began to toss and turn in his bed. His hands tightened around his head, trying to crush the horrible memories and revive the good ones. The struggle continued until he was suddenly awakened by children’s laughter from the street.

His eyes opened abruptly, as though the joyous sound triggered his waking. He got out of bed slowly and the floor creaked under his weak body as he made his way to the fogged up window.

Kael and Hannah ran down the street in free spirits as they splashed each other with innocence and rain water. They slowed their pace and began to walk down the lamp-lit street. Kael pointed towards the sky as lightning cracked the blackened clouds. Hannah's eyes widened in alarm. Then a huge boom of thunder that shook the houses made Hannah jump and grasp Kael. Kael put his arms around her instinctively and sheilded her from her fears. When it passed, Kael loosened his grip and gazed down upon the girl in his arms. Hannah looked up at him and then back down in embarressment. They moved away from each other and began to walk side by side again. But as their small statures began to fade away, Benjamin saw Kael reach for Hannah's hand. Hannah took it and responded with a warm smile and a blushed face.

Benjamin smiled from his high window and salty tears filled his eyes. It reminded him of a memory, a good one. His mind began to shine with goodness, innocence, and free spirits. The dark enemy within the old man's mind recoiled in fear from the bright, strong light that brightened the mind.

"Mallory," sang a soft voice in Ben's head.

The old man hobbled back into bed, and lying down, pulled the covers snuggly up to his chin. The name "Mallory" echoed softly in his head. He closed his eyes and slept for the first time in weeks.

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