Todd shivered in the dark, seated cross-legged on the linoleum. Coats and dresses draped gently over his five-year-old shoulders. He flinched as a slit of bright light flashed through the space at the bottom of the door. Seconds later the deep, rolling rumble followed. “Mommy?”
“Mommy?” A flash, a rumble.
“Mommy?” Todd’s voice trembled. He slowly opened the door and crept to the bedroom window. He saw Mommy shoving their push mower through the grass. The sky lurked angry purple behind her. Suddenly, a blinding flash of lightning framed her in silhouette. Thunder boomed almost instantly.
Todd sprinted outside in his sock feet. He yanked the bottom of his mother’s blouse. “Mommy, please! Please come inside. Lightning can kill you.”
“I’m almost done, sweetie. I have to finish mowing the lawn or it will grow back unevenly. I’ll come inside soon.” Sweat dripped off her face.
“Please. Please come inside with me. I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I won’t get hurt. Go inside now,” she insisted sternly.
Tears slid down Todd’s cheeks as he raced back into the house to the inky darkness of his refuge. Mommy’s clothes smelled of her perfumes. The familiar scents reassured him. Still, he shuddered with every flash and rumble.
Finally, Todd heard the front door open and close, followed by his mother’s footsteps. He heard the creak of the bed as she lay down.
When he approached the bed, Mommy’s eyes were shut tight, her forehead sweaty, and her cheeks ghostly pale. Todd’s eyes widened as he realized that Mommy lay on her beautiful cream chenille bedspread with her dirty gardening gloves and her yard shoes still on! Mommy hated dirt in the house. She didn’t like Todd to even touch her bedspread. “Sticky fingers,” she’d say.
“Mommy?” She didn’t respond. Todd flinched as the bedroom lit up again followed by the deep grumble. He heard the rain pouring down outside, pelting against the bedroom window.
Maybe the lightning struck Mommy. She’d said it could happen. His heart raced as he patted her arm, then started hitting it when she didn’t move. “Wake up Mommy. Wake up!” Mommy must be dead. He slapped her pale cheeks until they grew bright pink.
Finally, after what felt like forever, she stirred a little. “Mommy, you have to wake up.”
Her eyes opened. A miracle! Mommy came come back from the dead.
She saw the tears in her son’s eyes. “Honey, what’s wrong? Why were you striking me?” She rubbed one of her flushed cheeks.
“You got on your bed with your dirty garden gloves and yard shoes on. You never do that. I hit you to try to wake you up. When you didn’t, I knew you were dead, struck by lightning. You told me it could happen. I slapped your cheeks until you woke up.”
Todd’s mommy slipped off her shoes and gloves. She patted the bedspread beside her. “Come sit beside me, sweetie.”
“My socks are dirty and wet from running outside.”
“It doesn’t matter, just for today.” She smiled.
He climbed up on the bed, close by his mother’s side, a baby chick curled under her protective wing. “I’m sorry Todd. I didn’t mean to frighten you. I guess I was so tired, I just lay down and fell deep asleep.”
“I’m sorry I hit you, Mommy.”
“It’s okay this time. I know you were really scared. I should have come inside when the storm started.” She paused, “Speaking of the weather, what do you hear now?”
Todd listened. “I hear raindrops tapping on the window, and the thunder is much quieter.”
“The storm is almost over.”
“Yeah!” Todd smiled, then yawned and snuggled even closer. Within moments the two were fast asleep.
They were still sleeping when Todd’s father arrived home from work. He looked at the slumbering pair and grinned. “Hey, sleepy heads.” Two pairs of drowsy eyes opened and both faces smiled.
Todd sat up, wide awake now. “Daddy! Guess what? Mommy mowed the lawn during the storm and she got hit by lightning. She had her yard shoes and garden gloves on when she laid down on the bed! She died and I slapped her until she woke up. Then we had a nap.”
Todd’s dad looked at his wife questioningly.
She smiled, “I’ll explain later.”
Author Bio: Leslie lives in Saskatchewan, Canada. She has wanted to be a writer since she learned to read and write. During her earlier years, she focussed on poetry. Now her interest is primarily in fiction. Leslie has edited several newsletters as well as writing articles to contribute to them. She is currently working towards her Creative Writing Certificate.