The Word for Thunder – a short story

It’d been close all day – sweating even in shorts and teeshirt. Four cardboard boxes in the hall, their voices echoing off new paint. The smell of new paint. The house felt new, but it was empty – not even any carpets. They’d thought there would be something.

And there was no water. The taps juddered and spat and only air came out. They both felt like old pipes that day, like dry tanks.

Then Mike came and he was their first guest. He staggered up the path with a microwave and David ran out to help him. Mike also knew where to find the handle to turn on the water. Sarah made tea with the microwave and David put his head under the kitchen tap.

Mike had brought just about everything they needed – pans, knives and forks, plates, cups, bowls, everything. He said the furniture would come tomorrow.

They ate dinner on the back step, then Sarah said she could smell rain. David said rain didn’t smell of anything, but two big drops thumped onto the concrete. They argued about the word for thunder until the downpour pushed them inside. Sarah and David watched it get thicker and thicker until they looked up at a noise above the rain and they realised they were living under a flightpath. The wings seemed to be held up by their own lights.

David pulled off his teeshirt and ran out into the yard, turning round and round under the rain and the noise of the plane coming in to land.

“David! Stop it! You’ll be ill!”

But David could hardly hear her. He lifted his face to the sky.

“Landing gear!” he shouted, laughing. “Landing gear!”

Story by Ian Harker

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