Story postcard – the drum of thunder (2)

Rudd grins, and waves back as he walks past to check the glass doors off the verandah. He opens them slightly, and has a quick glance around the lounge area.

Quiet in here. And solid. Things turn bad, this is where I’m bringing everyone.

Feeling slightly calmer, he slides the big doors closed. He decides not to go back to the bar again, as he knows the new roof over the dance floor there, will be more hazard than shelter if the wind gets stronger.

He returns to find the guests still eating. As he looks around the tables Simi catches his eye. She looks worried, and he is about to try to signal some encouragement, when Marybelle leans in front of her to speak to Jambee.

She’ll be fine between those two. They’ll take care of her.

Rudd’s eyes move on.

Reckon we can manage this, just so long as it doesn’t turn into Beira.

He tries to map out a just-in-case plan, focusing on the most vulnerable. As he ponders, there is more glass-pinging from the top table, and Tim, urged on by others, gets to his feet.

“Hello … can you …”

His half sentence struggles against the wind, and thunder splits through the hills again. Its boom and echo drowns the words and leaves the fairy lights fainting.

“Speech,” a voice shouts.

“I bless the rains down in Africa … ” another sings out, joined by a rowdy chorus.

The words swell louder, as great barrels of rain tip over the verandah roof.

This is not good. We need to get everyone inside, before the lights go.

Rudd claps his hands.

“Apologies,” he shouts into the wind, “but we’re going to have to move you inside while we clear this …too much rain ….”

Another thunder crash explodes, cutting off his words. It’s closer this time, and in the grey freeze of light that follows Rudd sees bunches of guests getting to their feet, balancing one against the other. They jumble, laughing, towards the glass doors with Marybelle and Simi amongst them. Other guests remain seated, their singing getting louder and louder.

Rudd looks quickly for Fred and Bernard, and catches a brief glimpse of them before a group surges past, blocking his view. He moves quickly, hoping to reach the pair, but they are no longer where he thinks he saw them. As he turns to check behind him, he sees Tonderai and Innocence struggling to lift the cake off its stand, with rain pouring over the gutters beside them. Rudd rushes to help.

Another crack of thunder sounds directly overhead, and great gusts of wind swamp the tables in rain, snuffing out the last of the candles. Around the bar and dance floor the prancing fairylights blink their last. Rudd struggles to keep his feet, blindfolded by pitching dark.

 “Tonderai! Innocence! We need to get inside.”

“Yes … no … safe.”

“… now …”

The replies fracture back, and Rudd can just make out the blurry shapes of the two men, staggering with the cake between them.

 “I’ll get the torches,” he yells. “Can you try the generator?”

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

Space for comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.