A Voice in the Storm


The sun’s rays burst through the clouds and skim the ruffled waters of the lake. At the sight of a large villa, they prize their way between the half drawn curtains and splash light across a table set for two.

Eyes downcast, an old man ruminates, his boney fingers smoothing creases from the cloth. The roast lamb and potato gratin have hardly been touched. He picks up his glass, swills the red wine, sniffs it, then replaces it with a sigh. In the distance, a clap of thunder rolls off the hills.

“That Mrs. Adams has been at it again.”

He looks up startled. Not that he has any reason to be, she accompanies him wherever he goes. His eyes return to the food. He pushes a morsel of lamb with his fork leaving a streak of blood across the plate.

“Her husband found her sprawled in the arms of that bartender. The one down by the lake. The brawny one. Bob the fireman had to hold Mr. Adams back…”

He stares at the clouds pitching across the sky in tune with the staccato of her voice. She may be well preserved and still takes care of how she looks, but maybe he should have divorced her back then, like his colleagues said.

“It makes no sense. What with her late and him not hearing a word. A typical man. Couldn’t face the pain, his reputation was all he cared for.”

He grits his teeth and tries to remember if there has ever been a time when he is not flooded by her mindless words. His thoughts go blank.

“I told her so. But she wouldn’t go. Too ashamed. Her niece works there once a week. Afraid the chit would spill the beans.”

He grips the edge of the table, bunching the cloth between his fingers. He has a wild impulse to wrench the linen from under the plates. A resounding crash shakes the house as  lightening strikes nearby.

“That’s when she went all pale, her eyes rolled up and she sank to the floor in a heap, trembling like a new born lamb. Moaning she was and me unsure what to do, what with the little one not yet come and her husband shouting for help and the maid running round like a headless chicken…”

“Enough!” The shock of his fist on the table has his fork scudding from the plate and the wine glass topples, casting a slur across the virgin cloth. He shoves back his chair and struggles to his feet. Raking his fingers through the remains of his hair, he glances about perplexed. How come he is all alone?

Outside, beyond the hills, away over the lake, atop the peaks, a rent in the clouds rolls shut and the rays of sun are snuffed out shrouding the world in listless grey.

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