I sat at the dining room table checking my email. The digital clock on the microwave read 11:56 P.M.
Outside the window the bushes ignited as if a gigantic flashbulb had gone off.
I rose from my space and ventured to the front door.
Rain came in laconic bursts.
I grabbed my iPod and moved to the front porch to watch the storm brewing in the skies above, and then realized that the brunt of it was over Lake Pend Oreille.
I snagged my camera and headed down to the water’s edge as the skies above me swirled about angerly; lightning forked and splayed, cracking the heavens in two with chasms of refulgent light.
I watched the curlicues of electricity—each one even more impressive than the last—at intervals of about a minute. However, for each image I captured, dozens far more spectacular were missed because my camera was pointed in the wrong direction.
However—the storm was raging all about me.
The lake, once gently rolling, suddenly came to life as the wind roared in my ears, ripping my headphones from place; the water was now uneven and wild as the knobby clouds raced across the vindictive sky.
Then came the rain.
Buckets of water sloshed from the heavens as I made my way to the car, shielding my camera with my body. In the protected interior of my vehicle, the windshield wipers pushed away the deluge as I drove north, the direction the storm which careened on turbulent winds.
Lightning raked through the sky above me; the flashes lighting up valleys I drove past as brightly as if it were daylight. Through the rain, the skies above me looked like a network of burnished spider webs in a clouded bottle.
The road before and behind me was empty.
The lake to my right began to slacken its waves, like the aftermath of the flood when Noah had warned the people to repent; the hills around me were carpeted with majestic pines and aspens.
I pulled my car over and switched off the headlights.
It was instantly dark.
I fumbled with my umbrella and tripod, determined to capture a few more images of this magnificent storm—but the tempest was quickly retreating over heavily wooded hills whose towering pines would assuredly block my view.
Only the pattering of rain on the umbrella and the occasional hint of lightning now…the storm was withdrawing far too quickly over fens and moors; over countryside which was far too difficult to traverse without established paths.
I was too late.
From somewhere up the road a large, shadowy figure crossed on the fringe of my night-vision. It was probably only a deer.
Images of Bigfoot flashed through my mind, this was—after all—the Great Northwest.
Instantly, every horror movie I’d every seen returned to memory…
It would be waiting in the bushes. It would wait for the lone man to stand there for another minute or two before going in for the kill…
I grabbed my tripod and camera and made for my car. Upon shoving these items into the vehicle I dropped the umbrella.
Leave the umbrella. This would be the part of the movie where the man would go back for it and the creature would grab him with it’s claws and maul him to death. The entire audience would be thinking, “You idiot! Why did you go back for that stupid umbrella? It only cost $10!”
I went back for it anyway—what can I say? I’m frugal.
The umbrella and I were both safe in the car; the doors locked.
It’s in the car already. At this point of the movie the music would rise fervently as the man would turn on the interior light and look into the back seat. As he did so he would see the creature there, like that guy in Jurassic Park.
I turned on the light. I was alone.
All was well.
The radio was turned on. Jars of Clay. I started my car and drove the distance back to Sandpoint.