the radios have stopped working

by uzwi

Storms move furtively along the horizon all morning. Then without warning a terrific stench of cowshit pours in through the open windows on a wave of moist air. Appallingly close flashes of lightning, whistling explosions of thunder. A few large splashes of rain on the hot dry concrete outside, then a torrent. The power fails. Through the brown darkness in the room the furniture looms–old, inert, of threatening but apathetic shape. Before each blast of thunder there’s the sputtering dry sound of the discharge, like the sound of water globules dancing on a hotplate; afterwards, a sense of pressure relieved from the ears & sinuses. In the houses on either side the radios have stopped working & the children are kneeling up on the window sills silently watching the air come down as water. The opposite side of the valley disappears in a soft grey haze. After ten or fifteen minutes the sky brightens a little & some chains of black birds appear against it as dots very high up. The thunder moves away. People run up & down outside in the abating rain, laughing & slamming car doors. They are glad to have escaped with nothing worse than wet hair. The children begin to shout & jump. From the farmyard someone can be heard shouting, “Goo on there! What’s the matter with you ? Get on!” to an unfortunate cow. The electricity comes back on. [Holmfirth 1980.]