Published: Jun 19, 2023

Trash tumbled down the parkway, carried by the wind. Trees swayed, the crescendo of rustling leaves drowning out the sounds of the street at the end of the block. Harold watched from the front window, standing in his living room, waiting for the rain. He noticed the birds were not flying, no squirrels were to be seen. He looked up to the sky, wondering if the clouds were green, or if it was some kind of reflection. An empty water bottle bounced and rolled. The street lights flickered, and began to glow.

He hugged himself, rubbed his upper arms. Harold was not a fan of thunderstorms, nor tornadoes. The window fogged as his breath quickened. Behind him the radio struggled to be heard over the television, images sending a stream of colors mirrored in the pane of glass.

Turning around to the TV, looking for new information about the storm, Harold shivered. The sky flashed, for a split second that seemed to last for minutes, overexposing everything in the room. The couch, rug, end table, paintings, books were all washed into faded colors. Harold stifled a whimper.

"I hate this," he said to the cat.

The cat, calico, blinked and resumed watching the storm's progress presented on the TV. After a few slaps of his tail, the cat stood, stretched, headed for the water dish.

"Thanks for the pep talk."

The cat ignored him, as they tend to do. Harold turned back to the window. A few specks of water were now on the glass. He looked up to the clouds again, trying to see if it was raining. He was not sure. A shudder of thunder rumbled through the building. He felt alone, which he was besides the cat, who was named Jonesy.

Harold went to the couch and dropped down. The faint whine of a distant siren called, rhythmic. Another alert rang through his phone. Take cover, he thought. Where? Where?


The cat meowed and continued to play with the water in his bowl.

"Get a companion cat they said. Big lot of good that's doing me."

Harold scratched his forearms, ten times each arm, alternating. He counted each stroke. Red streaks appeared where each nail dug into his skin. His knees began to bounce quickly.