Synaesthesia Magazine Thunder, Lightning - Page 21

And then Zoe sees it, a thick line across the water, a deep black-green and everything beyond it shadowy. The line is creeping closer. “Going to be a doozy when that hits,” says Hanna. “How long do you think we’ve got?” Hanna chews the skin around her thumb. “Maybe 10 minutes,” she says, “but you’ll have the usual warning before then. I’d get them kids home.” “Yeah,” says Zoe. “Or leave them here.” She half-smiles at Hanna, who doesn’t smile back. The warning strikes soon and sudden, out on the horizon, sheeting down. It sears and crackles and Zoe counts her own heartbeat 1, 2, 3, before she sees the burnt yellow of the thunder roll out towards them. The air shakes so that she can’t catch her breath. Angie shrieks, water spilling into her wellies. “I’m stuck! My feet are stuck!” “You want to get her out of there,” says Hanna, loud enough for Angie to hear. “Get herself burnt to a crisp if the water catches light.” Angie starts crying and Zoe turns, angry. “That’s rubbish,” she spits. “That’s rubbish, you’re just trying to scare us.” “Believe or not,” says Hanna. “Here it comes.” And there’s the sheet of light and the rolling orange heat of noise and, abruptly, that dark line, a million slaps echoing, almost on them. There’s Angie, wailing mute, caught in the mouth of the monster with the water rising round her boots as if the rain could add to the sea level and the ghosts of jellyfish drifting around her. Ben teeters at the edge of the dry, panicked. Zoe reaches her just as the rain does. Grabs her and pulls her up and out of her wellies as the sea Françoise Harvey writes short stories and poetry. Her work has appeared in Bare Fiction Magazine and in the poetry anthology Furies. She is based in London, but grew up on the Isle of Man, where she spent a lot of time on the beach. There were jellyfish.