The small child curled tightly under his blanket as the storm raged. The thunder rattled his bedroom window, the lightning flashing so bright it penetrated his blanket and his closed eyelids. Downstairs another storm was picking up tempo, the roars of of the tempest underneath him making him huddle tighter, his arms futilely covering his ears.

Outside, God showed his disdain for the boy’s room, fierce winds whipping the hard rain and hail against the side of his window. He knew the storm was trying to get in, that it would batter his window until the glass shattered. Then it would get him. The storm would reach in with its cold, wet arms and plunk him, fighting and screaming from his bed, dragging him into the dark. Only his blanket kept him safe.

Inside the house, the storm was reaching its apex. The thunder was low-pitched, the sound of thunderclouds ripping in two. It was interrupted again and again by the lightning, swift and shrill, piercing deeply into the boy’s hiding place. Outside, the thunder and lightning harmonized, one immediately following the other as they worked to break into the boy’s room. Inside, the thunder and lightning ran together, each trying to overwhelm the other with their power. There was no cooperation, no harmonizing, just a battle between two natural forces determined to be the last one yelling.

He heard his name in the thunder, as if the storm was coming to get him. He wanted his bear, a battered stuffed animal he was given when he was three. But he had left it outside the blanket in his hurry to take shelter from the storms, and now it was out on its own. It would have to fend for itself. He hoped it would find a blanket of its own to hide from the storms, that it wouldn’t get swept away when the storm finally breached his sanctuary.

A sound, a painfully loud shatter of glass, followed by bellows of thunder, caused his breath to stop. The storm had broken in. His eyes were wet and he was shivering, his breath hiccuping in his throat. At any moment he expected to be wrapped up in the storms winds, to be soaked by the rain and pelted with hail as it broke into his room and stole him away. But his blanket protected him. He knew that if he looked outside the storm would be waiting for him, waiting for him to show his face so it could snatch him.

He waited for the inevitable, for the storms to direct all their attention on him. It was only a matter of time, he knew. Once that happened he would have no chance. Then a siren rang out, and that meant he was supposed to find shelter. In school you filed out into the hallway and sat against the wall, covering your head with your arms and ducking it between your legs. When the sirens rang, he was supposed to find somewhere safe. But he knew there was nowhere safer then under his blanket.

In his pretend life, August Baker is a retail monkey who channels anger and loathing into something vaguely resembling literature. In his real life, he is a Space Pirate.

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