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  • Year 9 student

Summoning Storms

The ghostly sheets of lightning against the horizon seem intangible, fangless beasts, in

comparison to the candles on the tablecloth. Their orange flame makes the crockery glisten

and dots the glasses with chinks of warm light, casting a protective halo around the table

and the five people seated at it. At their backs, the harsh sands are in deep shadow, the

rocks by the water softened by starlight and the wear of the tide. The uniform bowls,

stamped with the crest of the hotel, hold a multitude of seafood dishes, the salt of the fish

contrasting starkly with the caramel sweetness of grilled banana tarts that the youngest

table member, eyes glinting in the light, is eyeing with obvious intent. The father is evidently

occupied with his thoughts, wound tight as a spring, a branch ready to snap, frowning whilst

stripping meat from the delicate white bones of his fish, taken from its ocean home that

morning at sunrise. His fork clinks rhythmically against the edge of the plate, joining the

whispered lapping of the sea and the sounds of chewing in the fight against the deafening

silence of night. The mother has picked up her champagne glass and is observing, with

childlike interest, the continuous string of tiny bubbles, clearly uncomfortably aware of her

husband's tense bearing and unease. The brothers, one having abandoned his garlic-

buttered prawns for the dark sweetness of dessert, the other holding his glass of water in a

spidery hand, are going through the overly familiar motions of an argument, hissing and

jabbing angry fingers into the vulnerable skin of stomachs and sides. The last member of the

beach gathering, not the oldest and not the youngest, is staring at the lightning that inches

closer, finger tracing the wet ring her cup has left on the tablecloth. The fabric is rough on

her fingertips, more real than the approaching storm, less real than the urge to ram the

point of her elbow into the ribs of her brother - seated next to her on the wooden bench,

damp from the foamy spray and the sea air - which is written all over her face. Suddenly the

first blotches appear on the table like pale blue watercolour, causing the candles to gutter

and the flames to hiss in complaint. Hands are held, palm upward, out of habit, to judge the

weather. Noses are filled with the vaguely pleasant smell of petrichor, ichor being the

golden fluid that in Greek mythology flows in the veins of the immortals. Reluctant final sips

are taken. The clatter of plates in a basket and the barely audible sound of footsteps on

sand follow, until only the sea, inky and foreboding, remains.


written by a year 9 student

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1 Comment


bluegooner7
Feb 20, 2022

wow!!

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