The rain brings more than Jim expected.
The man walked quickly, rain beating down on his uncovered head, the wind relentless, whipping the words from his mouth as he shouted to his four legged companion. Oscar looked up at his master’s voice, then away again, ignoring him, busy sniffing out the rabbits which abounded in this neck of the woods. The black Labrador eventually lifted his nose from the sodden ground and bounded over to Jim, perhaps remembering home, his warm basket and dinner. They entered the sanctuary of home, a cottage on the edge of town.
The weather worsened as the evening approached, the windows rattled, rain beat a rhythm on the glass. Jim wished he didn’t have to go out again, but his daughter Jennifer would be waiting to be picked up after training.
Jim backed the car out of the garage into the wretched weather. As he drove carefully along the familiar road, the wind buffeted the car, forcing him to grip the steering wheel to avoid being blown into oncoming traffic. He could barely see out of the windscreen despite the wipers whipping back and forth, but still not fast enough to clear the relentless rain.
In the headlight’s beams, he saw the trees bending against an invisible hand,
which seemed intent on winning a game of force.
Jim reached the crossroads, the water on the road was several inches deep, causing him to slow his speed even more. He drove on slowly, his body leaned forward in his seat as he approached the bridge over the normally quiet river.
The river had broken its banks and was within inches of washing over the bridge. He drove slowly, crossing the boiling, raging torrent, relieved to get to the other side and pull into the community centre car park.
Jim looked over to where the crowd of teenagers waited under cover for their lifts. He couldn’t immediately spot Jen and didn’t fancy getting out of the warmth of the car to go and find her. Suddenly the passenger door opened and his daughter threw herself and her school bag into the front seat .
The drive home was no easier, the rain had not abated, in fact it seemed to Jim that it was even heavier, if that were possible.
When they reached the bridge, the water was lapping over the old wooden structure. A few cars were waiting, their drivers undecided whether it was safe enough to cross.
Deciding to take the risk, Jim slowly drove onto the bridge, he could feel the water beneath his wheels, but at last they reached firm ground.
It was during the night when he heard the sound of breaking glass above a crash of thunder and the bedroom was lit by a flash of lightening. He flicked the switch on the bedside lamp, but found the power was out.
The rain pelted down, as heavy as ever. He reached for the torch on the bedside table. Another flash of lightening lit his way down the stairs this was followed by a long rumble of thunder. Standing silently he listened. The rain bounced off the roof and gurgled down the drain pipes, but beneath all that noise he heard a clatter in the kitchen. It sounded as if someone had opened the knife drawer.
He shone the torch into the kitchen, and saw a man dressed in dark clothing, head shaved, his thick neck covered in tattoos.
Jim heard the patter of paws on the tiles behind him, and a low menacing growl.
They both stood unmoving, until the next flash of lightening lit up the room. Jim switched off his torch and In the utter darkness that followed, he shouted to the dog. Oscar soon had the man on the ground, his teeth at his throat. The intruder grasped the dog around the neck, trying to get him off, but Oscar was too strong. Jim picked up the knife from the floor and called the police.
At last, the rain stopped.