The Storm

October 14, 2012
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“Janet, Janet. Where have you gone?! Come back Janet.” I said, not knowing where she was. It was about that time again. Once a month Janet would get increasingly paranoid and anxious. Janet was usually a kind woman. She loved her sister very much and we tried to let her visit as much as possible. Janet’s sister agreed to let Janet stay with her for a month, since my work was getting progressively stressful. Yes, I did love Janet, she was my best friend, but best friends need to take a break right? I missed Dolly. I missed the city. I missed civilization. It was finally the day. I took Janet to the train station and hugged her goodbye. I rode the train back to the city. I arrived at 22 West 21 Street. At the door, I was greeted with Dolly’s famous home made hazelnut coffee. She gave a hug and kissed me several times. Man I missed her. It’s funny, you miss the little things. I missed Dolly’s smell, her toes that curled over when we cuddled, and most of all I missed her stories. Dolly would make up the most interesting stories. Some were true, but most were fiction.

It was a few weeks after Janet had left and I was going back to the house to clean up. I fixed the broken sink and turned off the furnace. The next day, I went to the train station and tried to get a train to go to the house. Unfortunately, I was 10 minutes too late because the last train had just left the station. There was still a few hours of daylight left, so I decided I would walk the 10 miles. I used to always walk here. Janet and I would take hikes all the time. After about 3 miles, I noticed that the clouds were getting dark and heavy. A storm was coming and I was not prepared. All that I had was a coat, not much heavier than a sweater, and my shoes. It began to downpour and I lost my way. I took the wrong turn and nothing was familiar. This is not a comfortable feeling, not at all. Lighting and thunder crashed down like spirits escaping Hell. Dolly once told me a story that she learned from her father, “My grandfather, the medium,” she said, “told me that most spirits come out when there is a storm. They ride the lightning like a cowboy rides a horse.” Dolly would also verbalize that storms made her solicitous. Like her grandfather, Janet could feel the presence of the deceased.

Three hours must have passed before I found the route to the house. It was not yet completely dark out, but I was getting worried. I still had about 5 miles to walk, and it would take me over an hour in this weather. I finally reached the house, but it was past midnight. I could see that someone was inside the house. Was it Dolly surprising me? She connoted that she might indeed surprise me. Oh boy, what a surprise that would be! Dolly and I spending the night together in a secluded house. I reached the abode and put my key in the door. To my bewilderment, the person inside the house was Janet. “Ben,” she announced, “thank the heavens that you are here! There is something strange going on. There is a dead woman inside the house. She is in the cellar.” Of course Janet had not taken her medicine, since it was still in the envelope that the New York State Experimental Medical Society had sent me. I told Janet that I would check out the “dead woman” once I put on some dry clothes. I walk down the stairs and open he chest. There is nothing but jackets and newspaper in here. “Janet come here.” I call Janet down and tell her. She looks at my hand and mutters something under her breath. “What is it?” I queried, “What is wrong?” Janet’s eyes got red and she started to sweat. She looked nervous, more nervous than usual. “Where did you get that ring?” she questioned. I looked at my hand and saw my wedding ring. I pointed to it and Janet nodded. She had her fists clenched, like when you are waiting to fight someone. I was befuddled. What was wrong with my ring? “I got it from the jewelry shop in town. Janet I told you this, this is my wedding ring. My wife Dolly and I have the same ones. You helped us make these one of a kind.” Janet looked even more confused than me. “What do you mean your wife Dolly? How can you be married to two people?! How could you do this to me?!” Janet’s voice sounded genuinely angry. “Janet, we’ve talked about this before, we are not married. I am your care taker. I help you.” Her eyes did not believe me, nor did she want to. “What about the firm,” she said, “What about all of the people who need help in court? Who will help them if you quit your job?” Janet needed to take her pills. “Janet, I am not an attorney. I am a care taker. I am your care taker. I have a wife Dolly and a daughter on the way. You are not my wife, you are my patient.” Janet’s face was getting red. I knew that she discountenanced the idea of her being insane. “If the rings are one of a kind then there is only one left!” Janet began to laugh. She did this when she knew something that she shouldn’t. Her laugh sounded like an evil cackle that a witch would make. Why is she speaking like this? “Dolly isn’t with us anymore. Dolly went up, up, and away! She went with the lightning with the other spirits.” Janet was clearly quoting Dolly’s grandfather. “What do you mean she went with the other spirits? Where is Dolly?” I was getting scared. I was frantic to find answers. Janet began to sing a lullaby, one that her sister would sing to her. “Up on Old Creek Hill, down, down the river bay. Up on Old Creek Hill, it’s time for us to play.” Janet loved that lullaby. It was her favorite. This song always calmed her down. “Janet tell me where is Dolly. Why are you saying this? Did you see her tonight?” This seems wrong. This can’t be reality. This job, it’s not suppose to make my destiny turn this route. Just as Janet was about to say something, there is a noise outside. It sounds like rustling in the leaves. Something is coming toward the house. “I wanted to play with Dolly. Dolly was fun to play with. We played rag doll and she was Raggedy Ann.” The creature from outside bangs into the door. I walk over to it. The cellar had stairs that went outside, so you can get out from the cellar. Laying on the ground, in front of my eyes, was Dolly. Dolly was covered in blood and cuts. She needed medical attention right away. “Dolly, do you want to play again? I thought we were done playing pirates. That’s why you never made it upstairs. You were the treasure in the chest, and I was the pirate. I found you. Now, you are mine.” Janet needed help. She needed help that I couldn’t provide her. I picked up Dolly’s fragile body and held her. I reached in my pocket with my open hand and pulled out the tranquilizer. The doctors sent me one in case Janet didn’t want to take her medicine. I put it in Janet’s neck while she finishes the lullaby. She screams and tries to bite me, but falls before she can. It is almost morning, so the first train will be coming soon. I will take Dolly to the hospital and Janet to the doctors. I just have to pray that Dolly can make it another hour or two. Janet will be asleep for a couple hours, so I don’t have to worry about her.

The train arrives and I get Dolly some help. There are handcuffs so I tie Janet’s hands together. She will be safer like this. Once we get to the city, and an ambulance takes Dolly away, and a doctor is sent to pick up Janet. This doctor, he doesn’t seem right. He doesn’t seem caring, or like the other doctors. He seems different. Not necessarily bad, but different. “I am Dr. Menocalu. I will take care of Janet from now on. We will see that we will eventually cure her of her disease.” the man had a deep voice, and a subtle German accent. “What do you mean you will cure her? Nobody has found a cure yet. Are you saying that you are going to experiment on Janet?” for some reason I still cared about Janet. She was my best friend. “Sir, you have to understand that Janet carries the gene that makes her mind act like this. If we can tap into that gene and experiment, then we can save hundreds of thousands of lives! So, if one life is sacrificed for thousands, I think it is acceptable.” Janet didn’t deserve this. She wanted to do the right thing, she really did! But, I know that this is a fight that I will not win. I say goodbye to Janet for the last time and go to the hospital.

The next time I saw Janet was at her funeral. The doctors won! Why didn’t I stop them? Her sister was crying, asking why. I couldn’t get the courage to apologize to her. I could have done something! I could have stopped the doctors!

When Dolly finally delivers our daughter, I chose to name her Janet. I still miss her, even to this day. She still takes up a special place in my heart as one of my best friends. Every time there is a storm, I know that Janet is saying hello and leaving us with a goodbye. It won’t be long ’til I ride the lightning with her, ’til I get to apologize for I did, and ’til I get to hear her voice one more time.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

WonTonFred1 said...
Oct. 20, 2012 at 11:16 am
confusing, wanted more detail at the begining
jbbac replied...
Nov. 10, 2012 at 8:34 pm
The project was to add on to a story that was already writtem, if you have read The Storm by O. Henry this story would make sense :)
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