|Weather The Storm
Author: KittyCallum PM
Yet another Welton thunderstorm! It's true, we do like those. The Poets hold a meeting during which a storm of unexpected proportions hits.Rated: Fiction K - English - Chapters: 2 - Words: 1,819 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 1 - Published: 03-04-12 - id: 7895281
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Note: I must apologise for the candle business. There's admittedly no evidence in the film that there are ever candles in the cave, but I wrote them into my last story and they've stuck. Rather fast I'm afraid. My explanation for it is that the candle thing started at Halloween, in my last story, and instead of taking the candles they'd brought they just left them in the cave, and lit them at the next meeting. It's the best I can do.
And so they'd come to this, this ridiculous situation with all seven of them stranded in the cave. Somehow the candles and flashlights had held up nicely, but the wind was getting cold and it was almost midnight. The initial poetic exhilaration over a meeting held in a raging tempest now reduced, they were beginning to wonder how they were ever going to leave.
"It's not letting up." Knox stuck a hand out of the cave mouth, then an entire arm, which he soon regretted as his sleeve became a minor body of water. "I don't think we can make it back to the school." It was a long enough walk that none of them were eager to risk it.
Charlie scoffed and gave the others a disbelieving stare. Gesturing at the storm outside, he noted, "It's not going to get any worse. Give it a few minutes. We'll be able to get back before dawn without drowning."
This statement was given very little credence when a bough came crashing from a nearby tree onto the ground before them. Meeks jumped back with a cry of alarm, and Todd nearly dropped the candle he was holding - as it was he spilled a hot stream of wax over his hand. Charlie quickly stopped talking. The matter was dropped.
"I don't know how we're going to get anywhere in this," Neil muttered, then reopened the book. "Who cares, anyway? It's Saturday tomorrow - remember?" He flipped through a few pages and came to rest on The Wreck of the Hesperus. "What do you say we extend the meeting?"
Agreement all round. Neil started reading and, when he had finished, passed the book to Knox, who was next. In the flickering flashlight beams he flipped through the pages in search of something appropriately dramatic. Somehow he felt that the only poem that would do tonight would be one that could be yelled over the sound of the storm.
"So we're just gonna sit here reading poetry until this ends?" Cameron's was the first voice to show uncertainty. He had the book in his lap but was ignoring it, red hair turned coppery in the candlelight but his face screwed up into a sneer. Neil had expected him to speak up earlier, with his concern for regulations. But now he gave a resigned sigh and readied his best efforts to talk reason.
"If you'd rather go out there and drown, get struck by lightning, run into a tree, fall down a vole nest, slide into the lake ... " Charlie, unfortunately, had gotten there first, and was still listing off ways that Cameron could get himself killed when Meeks cut him off.
"Look, the storm's not gonna last forever. What's worse - staying out late tonight or ruining your shoes, your uniform and your coat by walking back to the school in this?"
It did the trick. Meeks had struck a chord with Cameron that few ever bothered to appeal to, the pragmatic side that had the regard for order and structure tempered by the instinct to do what genuinely made sense.
" ... you could always try and see what happens," Charlie added in a low voice, and Cameron opened his mouth to retort, but closed it just as quickly when the lightning speared out across the thunderheads.
There was complete silence in the cave for a minute, and then a scramble for the exit to see what damage had been done. It was chaos for a few moments.
"That struck nearby!"
"Wonder if we can see what it hit?"
"Bet it was that tree by the river!"
"Let's hope it hit the school!"
The rain was ignored for the moment, the wind forgotten. Everyone was struggling to get a good view of the lightning. In the darkness it was impossible to see if anything had been struck, but the shadows made for good possibilities, each jagged and blackened tree looked like charcoal. It was the biggest storm any of them had seen in a long time; thunderstorms at Welton tended to be subdued affairs that struck at convenient times and blew away as quickly as they had blown in, as though they too deigned the school's regimented timetables as being worthy of their obedience.
Tonight's storm was as far from tame and controlled as they had ever seen. Never before had the lightning and thunder struck so close together, each flash accompanied instantly by its round.
In a short time they were all clustered back into the cave, most of them utterly soaked. Charlie, who had been leaning out as far as he could to get a better view, had mud up to his elbows where he had been deep in the mire outside. Knox looked like he'd been swimming again. Shaking the rain from his hair, he accidentally drenched the mostly-dry Pitts.
If they had been unsure of their odds of returning, the brief look outside had remedied that. Even Cameron sat in tacit agreement to stay as long as necessary.
For a few hours, or maybe only one - no one could tell - they read, told stories, and eventually just fell to talking about everything and nothing, as well as a few things in between. Slowly, so slowly that it was barely even perceptible, the shouts of laughter and quick chatter subsided to occasional amused chuckles, and a voice that had been debating the merits of dirty limericks one minute would be an unintelligible murmur the next, until, at last, all was silence.