Charlie’s Room: Rainbows

The storm grew as the day went on. It was dark out now, and the office lights didn’t seem quite strong enough to fully chase away the gloom. Rain clattered at the windows. Suddenly, the power went out.

The emergency lights were on at the exit, but the office was dark. The wind rattled the windows. Everyone waited. “Oh, just go home early,” the office manager said.

Someone cheered, but in the dark no one could tell who it was. There were rustling, creaking, thumping sounds.   Little lights blinked on, pushing back the darkness, illuminating hands and desks and chairs.

Isaac packed up his things using his phone for light, and followed everyone down the stairs. The streetlights were on, but the buildings were dark. The streets were crowded as people tried to all leave at once.

It was a little hard to see through the rain, and even with his umbrella, Isaac was soaked walking from his office to the car. He sat in the dark in his car and watched the ordered chaos. He waited for a few minutes more. Traffic thinned out. He drove home.

The house was quiet. He turned on the lights and listened to the rain hit the roof and windows. It was a nice, cozy sound when he was inside. He took off his wet coat and shoes. He left his shoes by the door. He didn’t want to put his wet coat in the closet to drip on everything else. He hung it on the doorknob instead.

His trouser legs were all wet. So was his hair. He looked forward to changing into something dry and warm. Maybe he’d take a warm shower first. That would be nice. He turned on the hall light and walked quickly down the hall.

He paused by Charlie’s room. Something didn’t sound quite right. The wind was wrong. He could hear a car drive by and it was too loud. The rain was too soft.

He pushed the door open. The curtains were waving like banners. The window was open. Water was dripping down the bookcase below it. The carpet was dark with rainwater in a large, roundish patch, spreading out from below the window.

In the middle of the wet carpet, there was a small gray bird. It looked like a little blue heron, but its bill was shorter and its tail was longer. It looked at him and crooned a short, questioning note.

Isaac whistled back. He’d always been rather good at whistling. The bird ruffled its feathers and warbled a few more notes.   Isaac whistled the opening of Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite number one. The bird perked up and chirped along here and there.

He switched to whistling his favorite parts of Dvorak’s symphony From the New World. The bird began to flap its wings and chirp louder. Isaac stopped whistling and the bird began to sing a song that Isaac hadn’t ever heard, but it was beautiful.

He hummed along here and there. Wind rushed in through the window and blew around the room, rustling the clothes in Charlie’s closet and the papers on his desk. It was cold and pelted Isaac with rain. He shivered.

The wind died down a little and it rained harder. Rain blew in the window like ribbons. The bird sang louder. It began to glow. The room felt warm. The bird sang louder and the room grew warmer. There was a flash of light and a rainbow shot out the window. The bird seemed golden instead of gray.

The room felt much too warm. Isaac took a step back. The bird flapped its wings and stopped singing. The glow and rainbow stopped.  The bird launched itself out the window.

Isaac hurried over to tug the window closed. He could faintly hear the bird singing again. He watched it soar into the clouds and take the rainbow with it.

He looked around to check the water damage. Everything was dry. Even his trousers. He looked out the window.   There was a tiny glow of light still flying up higher into the clouds. Rain tapped against the glass. Isaac smiled.