One evening in the Scottish Borders
during a break away with youth club
when the air was glue-thick and soup-warm
and the sky bruised purple-black
we sat telling ghost stories
– not scary in the slightest –
while the youth workers and chaperones
drank cheap lambrusco from mugs
until we witnessed the awesome temper of the sky
as death-white splinters thrashed from cloud to meadow
cracks booming louder than screams of tweens and young teens
most of the lads and lasses ran for shelter in the bunkhouse
sharing safety in numbers
and the comfort of cuddles from terrified friends.
I stayed out until the last of us were told to go in
– once the adults had took the last long draws of their roll-ups and regal king-size
so i went and watched by the window
mesmerised in the maelstrom of pines and ferns
getting whipped in the nearby wood.
It took me a while to hear a young lass
screaming and shrilling
‘we’re all gonna die’ repeatedly
between sobs and falling tears
as heavy as the rain outside
I felt bad for enjoying myself
while she was terrified.
One of the older lads said we’d all look after her
and that – or the storebrand ovaltine the youth leader made –
seemed to calm her to sleep
and, as the thunder rolled back
the bruised horizon gave way
to star-flecked inky skies and a pure pearl moon
she slumbered soundly
while we told tales of nature
some more scary than others.
Thanks for taking the time to read ‘Thunderstruck’. I hope you enjoyed it. While you’re here, feel free to check out some of my other work.
Take It Easy,
(photo courtesy of canva)