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I’m a bit early this week in celebration of Independence Day. This story was “scribbled down” when I was awakened by a strong thunderstorm at two in the morning on Sunday night/Monday morning.
To those of you affected by the horrific heat, horrendous fires, and hellacious storms this past week, I pray you find relief soon.
Night Carnival on the Second of July is rated PG-17, according to my standards.
This picture was taken from my screened porch as the continuous lightning illuminated the reflection [in the window] of the ropes on my porch swing, (other than the slight frame added, no photo-shopping whatsoever).
Night Carnival on the Second of July, by Deanna Schrayer
The last soft boom and weak flicker of lightning faded over the hills as if their party here was finished; the storm had gotten bored and decided to move elsewhere. But beyond those hills there must have been no one to bask in its glory, for here returns the jarring booms, the middle-of-the-day crackle of a super-outstanding light show, shyly but at once brazenly bounding back through the forest to the west, back to shine in the grand admiration it knows will beam from the eccentric writer, soon to be stupidly poised on her porch as if waiting to be struck blind.
Here is comes!
Twice tonight she was nearly asleep, just on that delicious precipice of neither here nor there…. The first storm that pulled her out of the trance was a sweetly violent, physical tremble in the form of her husband, lover of all lovers. He thundered all about her and shot white-hot lightning through her soul. Then, he whisper-kissed her good night and tucked her in, leaving her in a much more desirous state for that most satisfying of stupors: sleep, glorious sleep. Her aching muscles relaxed, her eyes fluttered their last sleep-tight.
The heated light show frazzled her shut-tight eyelids wide! But oh, it takes more than that – she was nearly gone to REM already! And so, more is what came…..
For a minute she thought she’d finally dropped off to the other side and was walking toward netherworld twilight. What really happened: the pleading light of the storm penetrated her snapped-tight eyes open until the thunder commanded she wake up and pay attention!
She woke up. She paid attention.
She got out of bed. She paced in front of the living room picture window, watching the show as if it were Independence Day already. Then the carnival moved southwest and she raced from side window to front, back and forth, back and forth, like an overexcited toddler.
Suddenly: darkness. No light at all, no sound but the struggling wind murmuring through the leaves of the oaks forty feet from her nose outside the window.
The hairs on her arms and neck bolted upright as the electricity demanded of her: “Get to your porch now!” And the spark stayed still, just exactly long enough for her to reach the porch, sit on her swing and stare in fascination and awe as, all around her, the music thrummed, the lights flashed and her middle-of-the-night world was magicked into an eerie orange burst of melted day.
Now, once again, the carnival lights are fading, the music is dying away. Yet, here on her porch, still, she feels the tings and pings of relieving rain pelting the tin roof. She doesn’t feel like sleeping now, but when she decides to try again, maybe she’ll lie down on the porch swing and wait for the next explosion of magic.
I hope all you Americans have a glorious 4th of July, and all of you who aren’t Americans will join us in the celebration of the United States’ 236th birthday. Happy 4th everyone!
P.S. I think, if I’m remembering correctly, I stole the word “magicked” from Ray Bradbury…