Outside the Window

The sky was bleak, gray, clouds that seemed to go on forever and a threatening thunder-clap that pronounced a storm was rolling in. Jared hated storms. The rain that poured out of the clouds would soak the entire yard, and he would once again be unable to mow his lawn.

It had been an entire month of nothing but rainy skies, the weather refusing to let up its torrential assault. Many of Jared’s plants were underwater; his green thumb wept over all the time he put into his plants. It was truly devastating for him to watch these past weeks.

What was truly sickening was the way that the weather played with him. He would go to there were days when the sun would peek out, and he would pray that the ground would dry up enough, and the wind would push those clouds away, but by the time he was done with his day job, he would be welcomed home to moat filling up in his front yard.

This weather couldn’t last forever. Could it? Global warming? El nino? Y2K? Every weather man had their theory on the plight of the little town of Meadowberry, but Jared began to suspect someone else was at the forefront of this madness.

Down the lane, just a couple of houses down from him, was rumored to live a wicked witch named Aunty Nym. He remembered the day she moved in, showing up in a black hearse of all things and stepping out of her vehicle with a black dress, sunglasses, and a black parasol, her lips and eyes just as dark.

She had a crooked way about her. Quiet and strange. She stayed inside her house, never leaving. Not even to get groceries.

Other than that, there was no suspicious activity. The neighborhood had been calm for years, until a couple of months ago when the Thompson do went missing. And then more recently a swarm of cats lingered on her front lawn. Then they disappeared… And with that came the rain…

Either Jared had a screw loose, or he was on to something, and he was just crazy enough to find out.

He grabbed his shotgun from off the mantle and boldly marched down the lane, braving the storm to go witch hunting. Water whipping his face and soaking through his red flannel shirt, Jared pressed on as the wind seemed to howl and push him back, growling like guard dog.

Her house was fascinating. Black and dark and haunting. It’s windows seemed to glare at his approach. The door so black it looked like a gaping hole in the building. It sent a shiver down his spine and knocked his knees together, but Jared stood tall and stomped up the porch steps, and rapped his knuckles on the door.

It was as if he’d gone deaf. He looked around the front yard. The trees swayed in the wind, but he could not hear it. The sounds of the storm muted. He probed his ear with a finger while the front door creaked open. That he did hear.

On the other side was Aunty Nym, just as he remembered her in all her ghastly glory. She smiled. It seemed like a genuine smile, but there was something wrong. As if her face was not quite right.

“Come in!” she said, “You must be frightfully cold, and oh my! You look drenched!”

She looked him up and down, disregarding his shotgun altogether, and closing the door behind them.

“Let me fetch you a nice warm blanket and a cup of tea,” she said leaving him in a normal-looking living room. He took a seat on a green sofa only to sneeze. And then another sneeze, and another. ‘Funny,’ he thought, ‘I’m allergic to cats, but I don’t see any sign of any.’

He immediately thought of the cats that he’d seen a month back, when his eyes glanced on the coffee table in front of him. There was a dog collar sitting there.

“That settles it!” he said. “She sacrificed the dog and cats to make it rain forever!”

“Oh no!” she said. “You figured me out. But I really don’t wish for it to rain forever. I just hate the sun, so I blotted it out with my clouds made of cats. And I keep those pesky neighbor kids off my property with my windy guard dog…”

“You’re a screwed up lady! And you’ll never get away with it.”

“Of course I will,” she said brandishing a wooden spoon. And with a flick of her wrist, Jared turned into a swanky coffee table.

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