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The Brightman

The Brightman

Estimated reading time — 6 minutes

Thunderstorms, the epitome of both nature’s beauty and it’s wrath. I remember as a boy being terrified of them. Whenever a big storm rolled in I would hide under my covers with a flashlight. My mother always assumed that it was the big claps of thunder hurting my ears that caused me so much distress. It seemed logical but I never had any problems with fireworks or loud explosions in movies. At my core I simply believed that there was something in the storm coming after me. As I grew older the idea seemed silly, that was until last week. That was until the summer storm that struck the fear back into me.

My wife and daughter Silvy were on a trip to Boston for Silvy’s dance competition. I had to stay behind for work which meant I had the whole place to myself. After I got home from work I got in my comfiest casual clothes and threw on the tv for a night of baseball and action movies. The news was just finishing showcasing an emergency weather report. A massive thunderstorm was going to be rolling through in a matter of hours and viewers were advised to take extra special care. I didn’t care if there was a hurricane outside as long as it didn’t interfere with my night.

Two hours later I was deep into my Red Socks game when the mother of all sheet lightning lit up the sky like an atom bomb and with it went my power. I grimaced at the empty room, my one night to myself and now I had to spend it in the dark. I sighed and made my way to the fridge to grab a beer while it was still cold. I sipped my beer and merely stared out the window at the storm.

The weather report wasn’t exaggerating, this storm was an intense one. The winds whipped through the trees tearing leaves and twigs from their branches. Lightning lit up the sky every few seconds and with it the boom of thunder like great footsteps of a giant. I resorted to my childhood game of counting the seconds between flash and boom. The storm was growing closer and soon it would be on top of me.

That thought sent me back through time and I found my childhood fear beginning to seep through me. The whistle of the wind began to sound like ghostly moaning. The branches of the trees were like great claws reaching for me. I tried to tell myself that I was being silly but I couldn’t help staring into the forest before me as if I was looking for something. I stared into the shaking branches and I was convinced that there was something out there staring back at me. A growing part of me wanted to bolt upstairs and hide under the covers.

Suddenly a loud beeping erupted through the house and I nearly jumped out of my skin. It took me a moment to register that it was merely the ringer for a video call. I smiled and laughed at my childish fear. The power may have been out but I still had service. I opened the call and the beautiful faces of my wife and Silvy greeted me. Their smiles pushed away the gloom of the storm and I found myself the calm, rational adult that I should have been.

They had heard about the storm and wanted to make sure I was alright. After assuring them that I was fine they told me all about their trip. Silvy’s team had advanced to the finals tomorrow morning and I couldn’t be more proud of her. My wife went to the bathroom and Silvy continued to tell me about all the exciting things she saw on the trip. I merely smiled and listened to her. Suddenly she grew confused and started staring at the window behind me. “Daddy who is that out…” Silvy began before the call suddenly ended and I was left with a no signal screen.

Great, I was now stuck there with no power or phone. I turned around to check the storm’s progress when another bout of lightning lit up the sky. The flash couldn’t have lasted more than a second but in that moment I could swear I saw someone in my back woods. I shook my head at the impossibility of the matter but it was only a matter of seconds before another flash took the sky. This time there was no mistaking it, there was a man between the trees.

I could only see him in flashes but I could tell that he wore a long dark brown coat and a pitch black hat. Another flash lit the sky and man was now closer to the house. I could see that he was very old with long white hair. I had no idea who in the world would be back there. The woods were very small and private property. Besides, no sane person would be out in this rain and thunder. Another flash followed almost immediately by a clap of thunder. The storm was getting closer and so was the old man who was now just behind my fence. A second flash followed the previous by mere milliseconds. This time the mysterious stranger stood in my backyard.


I bolted back from the window. That was impossible, there was no way the old man could have climbed the fence that quickly. I went back to the window and stared. The man was close enough that I should have been able to make him out in the darkness and yet I could find no sign of him.

A blast of sheet lightning broke into the sky and my whole yard became visible. The old man was at the bottom of the stairs leading to my deck. Only “old man” was the wrong word for him, what lay before those steps was a monster. His skin was a grayish purple and covered in defined ridges. He possessed no lips, allowing for his rows of misshapen and sharpened fangs to jut out for the world to see. Around his eyes were deep gouges of missing skin revealing nothing but shadows underneath. His eyes were mesmerizing as they seemed to glow and pulse with purple electricity, like summer lightning. Those eyes were fixed directly on me.

When the flash ended I wasted no time bolting upstairs. I flew up to my room with my heart beating in my chest threatening to burst. I rushed into my bedroom and locked the door tightly. Just as the lock snapped, another massive burst of lightning lit the sky. I could see my shadow on the wall but it was not alone. Another shadow projected itself on the wall from behind the window pane. I could see the silhouette of the old man outside my second storey window. His long hair twisted in the wind and wiggled as if it was alive. The beast had it’s hands raised and to my horror I could see long claws stretched out like knives. I could hear a subtle scratching at my window as if the monster was trying to get in.

The flash passed and I dived under my blankets. I didn’t care that I was a grown man pushing 40. I simply did not want to see outside any more. As I lay there I could see even through the thick comforter a blast of lightning accompanied the most blaring burst of thunder that I have ever heard. The storm was now on top of my house. It was difficult to make out over the thunderous blast but I could swear that I heard the sound of footsteps on my roof right above my head. I covered my ears and slammed my eyes shut with all my might, silently willing the creature to go away.


I don’t know how it was possible but when I opened my eyes it was the next morning. I was greeted to a beautiful sun rising behind the trees and the soft sound of birds singing in the distance. The blinking light of my alarm clock told me the power had been back on for several hours. I had somehow slept away the storm. In the light of the morning sun my fear from last night seemed childish indeed. I looked at the window and found no scratch marks from some terrible fiend. I had decided that the whole experience was a nightmare bought on by childhood fear of storms.

I made myself a coffee and decided to go outside to see the neighbors. Across the street were two police cars and an ambulance at Mrs. Patterson’s house. The paramedics were taking a sheeted body out on a stretcher. My next door neighbor Wendy was watching in shock and horror so I asked her what happened. She told me that the wind from the storm blew something into Mrs. Patterson’s window and she was struck dead. I looked back and felt the color drain from my face as I noticed what looked like claw marks at the top of her living room window.

I found myself once again trying to tell myself it was all a terrible dream and that Mrs. Patterson’s fate was a freak accident. After a few days I managed to convince myself that everything was fine. That was until I found shingles from my roof in the bushes. I decided to climb to the roof to assess the damage. What I found nearly stopped my heart. There, scratched into the shingles were the words “Billy” a name I haven’t gone by since childhood. The storm may have passed for now but another will be back and when it does you can be sure I’ll have my curtains closed.

Credit: Tenac

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