Storm short story by Iris Carden

Sophie loved her little attic room. She’d loved it since she first saw it.

When her parents first took her to see the house, she’d looked up at the tiny round window, and said, “That’s the room I want.”

Her mother had pointed out they hadn’t looked inside yet, for all they knew the attic might have not been finished, the with no ceiling or floorboards. Sophie, however, had just known.

She had been right, it was a snug little room with polished timber floors and pale pink walls and curtains. It even had one wall of built-in bookshelves! The other half of the attic was the semi-finished storage space her mother had imagined.

Up at the top of the house, looking down on the neighbourhood, Sophie always felt safe and comfortable. No boogeyman was going to climb all those steps to hide in her wardrobe, or under her bed, not when her brother’s room was so much easier to get to.

On rainy days, she loved to hear the music of raindrops just over her head. On sunny days, she could look out the window to see what other kids in the neighbourhood were up to, before she went back to the books which she loved more than anything.

One of the best things about her attic room, was that her mother didn’t come up the stairs to check she’d turned her lights out at bedtime, so Sophie could read late into the night when she wanted.

On the night of the big storm, Sophie’s mother had called up the stairs to say, “Lights out Sophie. I’m serious. No more reading.”

Sophie had answered, “Yes Mum.” Then she’d continued to read.

Outside her little round window, angry deep grey clouds gathered, the moon gradually disappearing behind them. The wind began, first just rustling the leaves of the trees in the street, but slowly building up to a high-pitched continuous howl.

Something flung against her window drew Sophie’s attention, and she looked out to see the lightning strike a tree across the road, which exploded in a shower of sparks. The sparks were blown quickly away down the street towards her school.

Then she heard a massive explosive sound, as lightning struck the roof over her head. The whole house shook, and her light went out.

Sophie ran to her door, planning to go to her parents’ room, but realised she couldn’t see the stairs properly.

“I need light,” she said to herself. Suddenly, there was a soft, light around her. She held her hand out in front of her, and saw it was glowing. Her arm was glowing, as far as she could see, every part of her that was visible, not covered by her pyjamas, was glowing.

“Strange,” she said to herself. “I don’t like this. I want it to stop.” Immediately the glow stopped, and she was left in almost total darkness, punctuated occasionally by lightning glare from the window behind her.

“I want light again,” she said, to see what would happen. The glowing light came back.

It seemed she had some kind of superpower, like the characters in her brother’s comic books. She didn’t know a lot about superpowers. The children in her books were ordinary children who had wonderful adventures, sometimes with their pets as well.

What use could a glow-in-the-dark superpower have? She could think of one. She picked up her book and went back to reading.

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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