Lightning Show (Short Story)


The night sky lit up, almost to a perfect daylight illumination. A thick white jagged etched line with multiple branches flickered from the far right. But only for a split second.

Warmth filled his heart as he smiled at the spectacle dancing across the perfectly framed scene from the verandah he occupied while looking out over the ocean.

The low, heart trembling rumble soon followed as clouds clashed, tumbling into each other, as if speaking another language with excitement and banter.

The elderly man stared delightfully into the mysterious pitch black distance that occasionally shared it's secrets of thick, dark, boisterous clouds meeting the deep, dark, rough waters when the magical lightning rods shot across the firmament. If he squinted hard enough, he would swear that he could see the gods sitting atop the clouds throwing their bolts into the night sky to give the men of the earth a light show worth talking about in the waking morn.

"Woooww! Did you see that one!?" she would exclaim triumphantly, excited to see the night sky reveal all it's glory for just a moment that if you blinked, you would miss it.

"Oh I did see it! I did! Marvellous, aren't they?" He would reply, looking over at her lit up face. Seeing her so ecstatic made him beam with pride.

"I wonder how Ophelia will top that?" she shrieked, almost jumping out of her chair.

Ophelia was one of the gods they had named in their fantasy battles that the two played along with in their imaginations. Hermes, the one who just threw his lightning bolt, was in a battle with Ophelia trying to protect the humans from her rage and destruction. Ophelia was angry, no doubt. She wanted the throne to rule the earth kingdom to prove to everyone that she was the most powerful deserving god there was.

But, the other gods don't want any of that arrogance to be resting in the place of ruling. So they sent Hermes to defend the throne instead of Zeus who, of course, was too lazy to lift a finger and defend his honour on his own.

They would only stick with ancient greek names because they sounded more fitting for their majestic imaginative theatrical thunderstorm spectacles. They allowed their imaginations to run wild with different gods fighting each other every time, sometimes there were three in battle! It was one of their special ways of bonding. He fervently believed in keeping her imagination alive as long as he could before she grew up and become burdened with the heavy responsibilities life would lay on her.

"I'm not sure Ophelia will bite back with as much grunt. Hermes seemed pretty angry in his firmness." He said, trying to match her excitement to keep the hype going.


Two bolts of light flashed simultaneously across from the left this time. One was thin but travelled the furtherest, almost touching to the complete right as it dashed through the clouds. The second travelled directly to the earth, touching the cliff edge in the far off distance. It lingered in space a breath width longer than the previous bolts in the night. The energy in the air had thickened as it electrified and paralysed every mind of those who had seen it.

It was those small precious moments that he cherished the most. Sitting on this very verandah with her, gazing out into the ocean as the storms rolled over their heads, coming from the mountains, and trailling off into the horizon over the watery abyss.

The rain would hit their feet as it slanted in obedience to the ferocious winds. But they didn't care. It added that extra element of adventure being part of the cold, wet experience as they guessed where the lightning was going to appear next.

Sometimes they wouldn't say a thing, spellbound, allowing themselves to be submerged in awe of the beauty of nature's wonders. Sometimes they couldn't. The thunder was that loud, it overpowered even the crashing waves just one hundred metres in front of them.


"Mr. Petros," a gentle female voice came from behind while a gentle hand touched his left shoulder as a young woman walked around to the front of his chair, coming into his view. "Mr. Petros, I'm leaving now, you're wife is here, ok?" She smiled and paused to see if he understood.

Without taking his eyes off the night's light show, he smiled politely and nodded. She stood and walked back into the dining room where Mrs. Petros was placing her bag on the dining table and unravelling her scarf from around her neck.

"He continually mentions a girl every time there is a storm. I forgot to tell you the last few times it's happened. Seraphina is her name. Do you know who she is?"

Mrs. Petros' face saddened with a frown as she looked over the age-care worker's shoulder towards her husband sitting on the verandah watching the storm. "This doesn't surprise me that even with his dementia and forgetting me, that he remembers her." She brought herself out of her reminisceful trance, shaking her head a little and looking down at her bag while unzipping it and pulling out a fresh bottle of medication and her phone. The age-care worker patiently waited.

Mrs. Petros paused for a moment, looked up at the age-care worker and with a teary smile softly said, "Seraphina was the love of his life."

The age-care worker's face must have changed ever so slightly into confusion that Mrs. Petros continued. "She was our daughter, but unfortunately passed at the age of nine." Mrs. Petros looked back at the tranquil man who was mesmerised by the performance of the night, a tear rolling down her face. "Every time there was a forecast of thunder and rain, they would sit together out there and watch the storm roll over, creating stories of make-believe characters of who was battling who. Something so seemingly silly brought them so much joy as father and daughter. He… was her only love.” She paused. “And she… was his true love."

"Oh, I'm so sorry." The age-care worker sympathised, and they each said their good-byes and she left quietly.

Mrs. Petros walked calmly over to her husband and carefully dragged the other chair on the verandah close next to his and sat, gazing out into the night.

"Oh, hello there my dear. Are you a new worker here to take care of me?" Mr. Petros said with a welcoming smile turning his head to his forgotten wife.

Mrs. Petros had long known that her husband was no more, but just a shell with jumbled memories and long lost forgotten pages where she once resided in his life. So, she would regularly play along to avoid confusing him and making him feel anxious and under threat.

"Yes, Mr. Petros. My name is Darla. I'll be taking care of you tonight." She smiled back at him with glassy eyes. "But your last worker said you mentioned a girl named Seraphina. Can you tell me about her?" She was gentle in her inquisition, not wanting him to forget why he was out on the verandah watching a storm in the first place.


Startled by the sudden obtrusiveness, Mr. Petros snapped back to the show and chuckled as he sat thinking of how delightfully scared Seraphina would have responded to such a loud clash. "Oh yes, I can tell you of many stories of my darling, little Seraphina." He chuckled again and gave a soft amused sigh with a smirk.

She allowed her full attention to rest on his eyes. His strongly fixated on the storm. But they smiled gently and she observed tears collecting in the corners.

"Seraphina was my angel," he began.

Mrs. Petros sat silently for the rest of the storm, watching with glazed eyes and listening intently as her husband recounted stories vividly of their long lost daughter.