Chapter 7

Written by: Donna McTavish

The storm came a week later. She had been restless all day and had watched the grey clouds gather on the horizon and slowly darken the sky until it seemed that the weight of them would crush everything below. Fingers of sunlight pierced the darkness until they were snuffed out one by one by the thickening clouds, and then the rain came. The first drops were fat and heavy, throwing up tiny puffs of dust. Then they fell faster until a curtain of water dropped from the sky and the earth opened her arms and soaked it up. Angelica sat on the steps of her hut and listened to the thunderous sheets falling until the ground was full and there was nowhere for the water to go. Every hollow filled up and water cascaded from the palm leaves and everything was clean and bright. Angelica remembered how Dr Noland had described the storm as a reawakening and how it called to his soul, and as she listened to it break across the island, she understood what he meant. At one with the world she thought, and she smiled as she pictured Craig rolling his eyes.


When the rain stopped, it did so as suddenly as it had started. The clouds passed over and steam rose from the earth where the sun fell on it. Birds called, and the children of the village burst from their huts, released by their mothers to play, their brown feet kicking plumes of water into the air, soaking their half naked bodies. 


Angelica loved watching these children. The first morning they had gathered a few meters from her hut and had smiled shyly when she waved to them. In the days following, they had become bolder. She had taught them her name and she had learned theirs and now they were friends. They taught her where to find the best fruits to eat and she gave them paper torn from her notebook and they drew pictures and giggled with delight when she wrote their names with a thick red crayon. These children had no school to attend but they understood the world in a way that Angelica was only beginning to appreciate. 


There had been a feast to welcome her to the village. The speech she had prepared had not been necessary and she had felt welcome and safe in the company of these strangers. She had been honoured with an invitation to sit with the men as they shared a pipe while the women cleared the food away and chattered softly among themselves stealing glances in her direction. Angelica guessed that they were talking about her and longed to join in. In the company of the men, the women had kept their tongues silent and their eyes lowered but Angelica had caught the eye of a young woman about her age and had seen a look of such longing that she made a plan to speak to her alone if she could.


This is a perfect ending for the next writer to pick up on. I liked the way you described the storm and without appearing to reference the story's title. I also liked the way you hinted at the kind of knowledge these children might have that is not the kind we are familiar with. This is a gentle chapter full of ambience. Loved it.