Story postcard – champions in the storm (1)

“Come on Simi. We better move. Jambee wants us to go with him. Let’s get inside.”

Simi, happy to stand up, follows Marybelle to Jambee, who is like a breaker in the waves. They reach him, and push on towards the lights shining out from the lounge.

Overhead thunder cracks again, booming over the roar of rain on the roof. Marybelle’s voice, chiming like a bell on a high sea, is the only thing keeping Simi remotely calm. She clings to it as they tumble through the doors. They are barely inside when the lights go out.

Around them the crowd swirls with laughter and storm, as it moves deeper into the room.

“Everyone okay?” Rudd shouts.



“Lost my beer.”

“Great. Torches coming round now.”

Bright beams flick on around them, and in their light Simi sees laughing faces, energized by the electricity in the air.

“Are there a lot of storms like this?” she shouts into Marybelle’s ear.

“This time of year, yes. They’re amazing. Do you want to get closer?”

“No. I’m good here. Don’t want to …”

Simi feels Marybelle squeeze past her.

“Come on! This is a proper storm.”

Alarmed, Simi in a flash of torchlight, sees Marybelle’s bright pink top push back through the surge of bodies.

“Marybelle …” she calls out, but the top does not turn. “Marybelle.”

Simi turns around, hoping to see Jambee, but she cannot. With a stab of panic she realises she is alone in the storm-crazed crowd.

“Marybelle …” she calls again. “Marybelle.”

“I’m here.”

Ahead, Simi sees the slight frame of her friend, now half-turned towards her.

“Wait. I’m coming,” she shouts, elbowing her way through to Marybelle, now only feet from the glass doors.

Outside the sky flickers pale, silhouetting the last of the guests to come inside. They stumble in, laughing, and pull the doors closed behind them.

“I love these storms,” says Marybelle. “Can you see? Look over there.”

At first Simi sees nothing through the pouring rain, but in the judder of the next lightning strike, she sees what Marybelle has seen – the shimmering, silver lake that was once the swimming-pool.

“Is that the …? There’s the champagne.”

Simi swings round. Katania is just behind her, glaring out into the storm.

“The champagne’s still out there!” Katania turns back to face the room. “Tonderai! Tonderai!”

“Not seen,” a voice replies.

“They’re at the generator,” Rudd calls.

“There must be someone else. Any staff here?”


“You’re on your own Katania. Are you after a drink?”

Laughter rises briefly.

“It’s the drink I’m worried about. There’s champagne out there.”

“I’ll get it,” replies a male voice.

The room quietens, as a shape shoulders through towards the doors.

“Where is it?” the young man asks, as the crowd begins to follow his path towards the front.

 “There. Just by the corner of the building.”

“I see it,” he says, and pulls open the doors, the rush of wind shoving Marybelle sideways into Simi.

“Shut the doors, man!”

The doors slide shut, and all push forward, straining to catch a glimpse of the champion in the storm.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023

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