A storm of blackened smoke obscures your eyes
And yet the flame you carry’s shining bright
The fire eats away at orange skies
But you hold on, to share its guiding light
While others fill their days with little sparks
To gain the quiet lives for which they yearn
You sacrifice your soul to make your mark
While flesh is left behind as fuel to burn
Yet after everything you sacrifice
All mortal efforts kneel to the divine
A chilling wind replaces ash with ice
Even the brightest lights must cease to shine
As fast as it appeared it fades from view
Yet from the embers hope will burn anew
From the clouds to a nearby tree or roof, a lightning bolt takes only a few thousandths of a second
to split through the air.
The heat from the electricity of this raises the temperature.
the surrounding air crackles,
the hunter lines up
his shot; sitting there,
waiting patiently for his prey to come in sight.
One last breath before a quick squeeze, followed by a deafening
The compressed air explodes outward from the channel, forming a shock wave of compressed particles in every direction.
It was the Norse god Thor, the Greek god Zeus, and the Roman god Jupiter who wielded the mighty bolt of lightning to keep man in his place.
the attraction of positive and negative charges in our atmosphere act in an opposing manner, leaving us with a striking beam of light;
Congress, 19 Nov. 2019, www.loc.gov/everyday-mysteries. Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.
www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_info/thunder2.html. Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.
NOTE: The following is a transcript of season 211, episode 4 of the hit HGTV show List or Exorcist? The season was taped shortly before both Kelly and Dan disappeared under mysterious circumstances from a house in Atlanta.
(KellyJo and Dan stand on the sidewalk of a suburban neighborhood, close enough together that we think they’re married, but far enough away from each other that we suspect they might be having problems.)
KellyJo: Welcome to List or Exorcist, a show where we flip and resell haunted, possessed, and demonic houses. I’m Kelly Joan David Foster Wallace Daumier.
Dan: And I’m Dan.
KellyJo: And today we’re going to renovate this three-story beauty in Savannah’s Olde District.
(KellyJo and Dan walk up to the front door of the house, which opens itself. A noose drops down from the ceiling, and the walls begin to ooze blood.)
KellyJo (cont.): Wow. Look at these high ceilings.
Dan: The pipes need a little work.
KellyJo: Why don’t you get your team of white guys with one token white woman, and I’ll go see an interior designer who looks uncomfortable and agrees with everything I say, and we’ll get started!
(Several aerial shots of Savannah. A time lapse of the house overnight, during which time a pale face can be seen in the upstairs window, staring down at the camera. Cut to KellyJo walking into the torn-up foyer, where Dan is standing with his hands on his hips.)
KellyJo (cont.): This place looks amazing!
Dan: Hey KellyJo, look at this. I found out what was wrong with the pipes. A decomposing corpse had been built into the drywall!
KellyJo: Great! That puts us back under budget.
(Montage of before and after photos of the house. This accompanies KellyJo’s voiceover.)
KellyJo (VO): After a few days of carpeting the upstairs to cover the bloodstains, moving the failed science experiments out of the basement, and selling the collection of dolls in the attic, our house was ready to go on the market. It sold for $666,000, and a family of four who had moved across the country for their dad’s job bought it. They moved out again two months later after a series of paranormal encounters.
(Cut to KellyJo and Dan standing in a green space presumably somewhere in Savannah.)
Dan: Well, KellyJo, was this house a List or an Exorcist?
KellyJo: Since we have legal coverage and plausible deniability, it was a List!
(They high-five. Roll credits.)
I still think back to what you told me that night.
We were underneath the cherry tree, when it started to rain. I thought our night was ruined. You told me the rain makes everything so much better. I never had your optimistic outlook on the world. I never understood how you could see the rain and picture the flowers that would grow from it, instead of just seeing the mud that it created in the moment.
I dreaded the future, dreaded the mud that would inevitably come, no matter how perfect something seemed. You looked at the future with excitement, waiting for the flowers that would sprout up no matter how bad the situation we were in.
I wish I could move on. That I could follow through with the promise I made to you before you left me.
But I keep breaking that promise.
I keep coming back to that cherry tree, trying to remember our last night there. I hope that it will rain, even when the sky above me is cloudless. I want to try to see the flowers that will come, and not just see the mud.
I want to know how you were always able to see the flowers, how you made the best of something no matter how horrible the situation was.
You were the only one who could get me even close to seeing the flowers. I could see the seeds starting to sprout, little green stalks coming from the ground, so weak that they could be crushed if someone stepped on them.
But now I only see mud.
I wish more than anything you would come back. I constantly look up at the night sky for a shooting star. I close my eyes when I blow out a candle. Then berate myself for how stupid I am acting. I used to tell you that wishing was pointless. I wish I never did that.
Funny how now all I do is wish.
But you won’t come back.
I know you would want me to move on. I know I should try to move on.
But I’m not ready yet.
The cherry tree was cut down. Someone had said it was because it was too old. Someone else said they plan to build a new house there. More people keep moving here. But no matter the reason, the tree is gone now.
Maybe I should take that as a sign to move on. The tree is gone, and so are you, but I can’t seem to accept that.
I still grab out two of everything: two bowls, two plates, two cups. And then remember that I only need one now: one bowl, one plate, one cup.
I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that.
Some days it doesn’t even seem like you are gone. I think that you’ll come home from work at the end of the day.
But then I realize you won’t.
It has been awhile.
They built a new house where the cherry tree once was. I can’t bring myself to walk past there.
Some days have been better than others. I try not to let the bad days win. Like you told me.
I try to see the flowers.
I still see mud.
I started to see someone. But that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten you. I hope you understand. He seems nice. He knows about my past, and understands it. But I feel guilty. I can’t give him the same love that I gave you.
I know my smile isn’t the same. I feel I put on an act from him. I try to seem happy, that I love him as much as he says he loves me.
But I can’t.
I want to be able to move on, to not look at everything and somehow connect it back to you.
How do people do it? How do people have everything crash down around them and not let it show. How do they see the flowers?
I can’t even look at him without thinking of you.
Without thinking of every way he isn’t you.
His smile doesn’t reach his eyes, the way yours always did, even to the end. He doesn’t laugh the same way you did. It’s shallow. Half hearted. Forced.
Maybe we are both putting on an act.
I try to see the flowers that this could create.
I try not to think of you. I try not to think of the ways he isn’t you.
But that’s all I think about.
The way he speaks to me. The way he treats me like I am too fragile. Like I am a flower that will get destroyed if the wind blows too hard.
You never treated me that way. You treated me as an equal.
He acts like I am a child. Someone who needs to be spoken to softly, and in a simple way. As if I couldn’t understand anything more difficult.
He claims that he loves me. I think he loves the idea of me. I am just a trophy to him. Something pretty to look at, and nothing more.
Maybe I won’t get another chance of having a love like we had. I was so lucky when I found you.
But he offers me protection.
Maybe that is the only reason I stay with him. He offers me something I couldn’t give myself no matter how much I wanted to. I couldn’t take care of myself on my own. Even months later I still can’t find a job. They all think I’m too fragile to work.
They all think any girl is too fragile to work. And I can’t seem to prove them wrong.
I needed someone to protect me after you left.
You would say that there is a difference between surviving and living. I don’t have the luxury to make that distinction now.
I have to do what I must to survive.
Happiness be damned.
But can I spend the rest of my life without happiness?
Maybe I could. If I just focus on surviving and nothing more. People don’t really need happiness in their lives to survive, right?
And when we are reunited I’ll be able to feel happy. I’ll be with the one thing that made me happy.
I can see the flowers now.
THE LIVING HAND
This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calmed–see here it is–
I hold it towards you.