Charlie’s Room: The Storm
Suddenly, it was pouring. The rain hit the roof all at once as though someone tipped over the clouds to empty them all at once. The walls glowed for a moment, followed by a loud, echoing boom.
Isaac loved thunderstorms at night. There was something extra cozy about being safe and dry in a nice warm bed while it rained outside. Perhaps it was the feeling of gratitude for his good fortune. Perhaps it was the lulling, repetitive sound of rain hitting the roof. He smiled and snuggled into his nest of blankets.
He glanced at the alarm clock. 1:00. It was a new day. What a nice way for the day to begin. He yawned and closed his eyes.
And then he sat up. Yesterday, when he arrived home from work, Charlie had come running out of the house. Isaac had rolled down the window to see what he needed.
“Dad, don’t drive in the garage. You’ll smoosh my art project.”
“Can’t you move it?” Isaac asked.
“Mom said it can’t go in the house because the paint needs to dry and it smells terrible.” Charlie scrunched up his nose.
Isaac smiled. “You could put it on my workbench or off to the side.”
Charlie shook his head. “It’s too big and the glue isn’t all the way dry. It’ll break.”
He laughed, turned off his car and followed Charlie inside. Had he rolled up his car window? What if he hadn’t? At this point, the fabric-covered seats would be sopping wet. He would drive to work sitting on towels and a garbage bag.
Isaac jumped out of bed. The quicker he closed the window, the less water to deal with later. He pulled on a jacket over his pajamas and tried to zip it closed. The zipper was stuck. He yanked.
The zipper pull came off in his hand. There was a flash of light and an echoing boom. Isaac blinked.
He opened his eyes, feeling extremely confused. He was lying in bed. It was dark and still and quiet. There was no rain. He rolled over to look at the alarm clock. 12:00. What just happened? Was it all a dream? Was it the zipper?
The car window! He hurried out of bed and glanced at his jacket. Would it be alright to wear it if he didn’t zip it up? Deciding not to risk it, he stepped into his slippers, picked up the car keys, and hurried down the hall.
He paused by Charlie’s room and waited until he could hear soft, steady breaths. All was well there. He continued down the hall. He changed his slippers for outside shoes, pulling them on without socks. They felt strange on his feet.
The car waited in the shadows, a metal robot waiting for his commands. It seemed strange that such things were commonplace. He pushed the button on his key fob and the car clicked, flashed its headlights and beeped twice.
He walked around to the driver’s side. The window was still down. He rolled it back up and locked the car again. He patted the driver’s side mirror. “You’re safe now.” He shivered and walked quickly back inside.
He continued shivering as he changed his shoes for slippers and scurried back to bed. The sheets were cold now. He curled into a ball as he waited for them to warm up. Without noticing, he fell asleep again.
He woke up to the sound of rain on the roof. The walls glowed for a moment, followed by a loud, echoing boom. He turned to look at the alarm clock. 1:00. Was this his second time seeing this or had it been a dream the first time? Did the broken zipper send him back in time? Was the whole thing a dream, and his car window was still open?
He sat up in bed. He needed to check the window. He got out of bed and did not put on his jacket. He put on his slippers, grabbed the car keys, and checked on Charlie. He changed his shoes and grabbed an umbrella.
He pressed the button and rounded the car. The window was closed. What did that mean? When did he close it? He locked the car and hurried back inside.
He shivered as he left the wet umbrella by the door and went to bed. He’d worry about what really happened in the morning. Maybe he’d ask someone to look at the zipper, just in case. For now, all was well and he had a storm to enjoy.