by Laurie Razor
A mother, a son, a storm, and a shoebox.
|Bright streaks of lightning crash down swiftly, igniting the long grass outside of our house; thankfully a heavy downpour quickly extinguishes the many tiny flames before they can fan out too far.
Natures wrath, nature's resolution.
This brutal storm blacked out all our power some time ago, my young son sits on my lap at our dining room table; he's silhouetted in dim candlelight.
Each loud clap from the heavens causes him to jolt in alarm; I feel him tremble as fear overwhelms him; I try to block out the sound by humming to him, although this does nothing to ease his discomfort.
The windowpanes rumble noisily as a strong gale suddenly adds to the tempestuous cacophony.
I stop humming.
"Sorry. I think I made god mad at us."
He stops shaking, guilt solemnly etches upon his youthful face.
"Philip Roger Michelson! What did you do?"
His head drops, obscuring the tears welling up in his eyes.
"About a week ago, me and Jeremy were playing over near the creek, when we saw something fall out of the sky. We watched it land in the backyard of that scary old biker guy's house, you know, the one with that big dragon tattoo up his back? Well, Jeremy and me climbed over his fence and got this weird glowing rock thing."
I put my hand up to my chin.
"And where is this thing now?"
"Well, Jeremy said it was too weird and we should throw it out, but I thought it was pretty cool, so I put it in that old brown shoebox under my bed."
I gently buck him off my lap.
"Get your little butt in that room and bring it out here. Now, or else!"
Even though I hate speaking to him like this, he could have found anything in that tattooed scumbag's yard, and his vagueness worries me; I hold my breath as he runs off.
I barely have time to think before he returns from the darkness and sets the little box down on the table in front of me.
"Here it is."
Carefully, I lift the lid to find what looks like two gooey pieces of a delicately halved egg sitting atop the glass of a small photo frame.
"Oh no, the rock broke! Whoa, and look! It left a little hole in the side of the box."
How did I not see that before?
"I don't think that was a rock, It looks like an egg that's hatched. Do you know have any idea what it could be?"
As he starts to shake his head, an incredibly deafening clap of thunder causes us both to jump; another bolt of lightning illuminates the garage, where there aren't any windows.
I grab my little boy and hold him close to me.
"What was that, mom?"
"I don't know, Philly."
Over and over it flashes; each time I see brief glimpses of a shifting shadow contorting into unthinkable shapes within the light's center.
The flashing stops, becoming a constant blinding brightness, and a strange sound which is reminiscent of twigs breaking, or bones cracking resounds.
Philip grabs the sticky photo frame out of the shoebox and clutches it firmly to his chest; I notice that it's a photo of his long deceased father, sitting in the cockpit of an F/A 18 Hornet, dressed in his blueish-grey flight suit.
As my boy turns back to face the garage, the clicking speeds up.
We both freeze in horror as the unknown light-bearer slowly approaches us.
"Honey? Honey, wake up. You're having a bad dream."
My eyes open; I am in my bedroom, our bedroom.
John, my husband is lying beside me; my husband whom in my dream had died long before I gave birth to our son, Philip.
"Oh, John. I just had the strangest dream."
He leans over and kisses me on the forehead.
"Well don't worry dear, it's over now."
John throws back the sheets and clambers out of bed; I stare down in shock at my greatly ballooned stomach.
Holy cannoli, I'm pregnant!
My husband pokes his head around the doorway.
"Hey honey, I've thought up some names for our little bub. How about Pippa if it's a girl, and for a boy, Philip?"
I look up at him; his eyes shine diabolically bright, it's as if he's crammed a flashlight in his skull.
"Ya hungry, babe? I think we've got an egg I can crack."