Storm Dancer

Lenard folds the corner of a document, places it gingerly in a corner of his overly tidy desk, and rises to his feet. The afternoon is proving to be somewhat irksome with all the paperwork.

Lenard is an engineer; he is supposed to be designing and working with ideas. But then he'd been lured from the sensible path by a hoard of money counters and business men. Supposedly his ideas had had too much potential not to be 'cashed in'. And so Lenard had foolishly started his own company.

He paces across the room with a pent-up and restless energy. Sure, the change in direction has given him a few more luxuries in life. He has a new car, plenty of beautiful office space, and all the clever toys and gadgets he could desire.

And yet he dearly misses those days spent in the park with a plain sketch book and pencil. It had been about the dreams back then. And now it is about the money. Where had he gone awry? He'd always turned down those jobs that had felt wrong or unethical. He'd always been careful to fuel his ideas with his own beliefs.

Standing at the window, Lenard stares out into the downpour of the season's rain. He loves the rain. Smiling across the lawn of sparkling damp grass, he recalls a certain memory and lets out a rough laugh. In his old office he'd used to get wet when it rained!

And then a faint twinkle enters his eyes, and he turns slowly to look across the bare hardwood floor to the door. Memories flood back to him like droplets of rain water, the sound of their splashing blending seamlessly with the current storm. He sighs as his days of young love are seen dancing in the rain with polka-dotted umbrellas and shiny yellow rain boots.

His sigh stops abruptly as his aching passion finally bursts free. He grins, drops his formal jacket, and dashes across the office to the exit.

His work can wait. His worries can take a hike. And he can most certainly dash through a rain storm and get mightily wet without a care.

The pouring rain touches him deeper than any hot shower or any affectionate embrace. It hits him with force, and a wild energy shivers over his muscles. He runs across the lot and into the park with his arms pumping at his side and his shoulders tense. When he reaches the grass, he lets his muscles relax, and he falls to the earth.

Laughing with the sheer spontaneity that has taken him, he rolls onto his back and looks up into the passionate sky, his eyes blinking under the onslaught of droplets.

Something about the wildness of nature fills him with such wonder and excitement. And even with the unexplainable mystery that accompanies this wonderment, he is utterly content to simply be a part of it all.

The sky throws itself open, and the rain somehow intensifies until Lenard is jumping to his feet and dancing across the park with arms full of life and his heart crying out for more.

"Rain, damn it!" he cries to the heavens. He is beyond the restrictions of his mind, and all that remains is him and the storm.

"Let it out! Let it all out!"

He spins around in a circle, his arms out to either side, and his head craned to see the heart of the clouds. And then a most peculiar thing happens.

There is a sudden fluttering of wind, and a roar moves across the sky. He stops, his open mouth catching rain, and his eyes scanning the sky. With the roar, the clouds swiftly begin to transform as if their watercolors are being swept up by a godly paintbrush.

In his dizziness at looking up, he falls back against the rough trunk of an elm tree to watch. Within a few stunning minutes, a perfect circle has opened up in the clouds and a patch of brilliant blue is shining down upon him like the face of a passed away loved one. On the fringes of this circle, the clouds must be four hundred meters thick. Nothing in Lenard's knowledge of meteorology has anything to say. And so his mind remains quiet in wonder.

After a moment, a series of quick, short gusts move across the landscape, each one nearly enough to knock Lenard over, but only lasting half a second each. He begins to stumble for shelter, an incredibly powerful presence seeming to breathe down his neck as he retreats.

Above, the clouds are continuing to shift, and the rain begins to fall in condensed splashes, here and there, while surrounded by patches of still air.

Lenard stumbles out across the clearing and passes through a moving barrier between hot and cold. He falls to his knees in shock as the temperature drops ten degrees in the space of a second.

Grasping for some sort of logic, he looks up to give the world a searching stare. His eyes widen in horror as a wall of gray swallows the last trees before the grass, and rushes towards him with alarming speed.

The End

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