While the storm buffeted the trailer like a sardine tin in a washing machine, Edie wrapped a fresh bandage around her foot. The stink of ointment filled her small room. If her foot didn’t heal soon, the pink paint was certain to peel. The thought dragged her eyes to her Back to the Future poster. The paint had already been peeling before they’d moved in. Doc and Marty may not have been anyone else’s first choice in covering a small blemish, but she didn’t have any other posters.
She hung other things on her walls. Mostly old dance shoes and jewellery she had made. She fastened a pair of purple clasps to the bandage, then hobbled over to her bed. She stuffed a throw pillow under her foot, and then folded a much larger pillow behind her back.
There wasn’t a television in her room. There was barely a television in the living room. Edie slipped her arms in between her head and the pillow. From the creaking and near thumps, she figured that the storm would soon take out the electricity anyway. She wiggled the toes of her uninjured foot and stared up at the ceiling, stained by previous storms.
It would have been nice of any of the stains had resembled an animal or even a country. Clouds had more experience in that department. However, as the clouds were in the middle of work, Edie made due with the oblique brownish stains. There was a particularly large one that could have been a horse. If she squinted. A lot.
Sighing, she reached for the silver chain around her neck. Her newest creation. The chain had taken almost as much work as the charm she’d strung it through, each link sturdier than it seemed. The pendant resembled a warped door. She had meant to shape it like a crystal, the vague, overly symbolic kind in video games, but something had gone a little wrong.
Thunder rocked the trailer. Edie jerked up, releasing her pillow so that it fell to the floor. In that same second, the lights winked out.
Heart hammering, she gripped her pendant and rummaged for her flashlight. It ought to have been right beside her. Unless someone had borrowed it without asking. Too sore to bother, she flopped onto the bed, flat on her back. It bounced back slightly, jarring her foot.
The pain dragged her up, like a marionette on its strings. As she straightened near the window, something caught her eye. The storm had knocked out the entire park. The only lights still braving the battle were the lampposts on the sidewalk, just outside the entrance, and far away from Edie’s family’s trailer.
She pressed a hand to the window, wincing at the cold. There was something out there. Someone walking in the rain. She huffed, glad that they didn’t have a generator to try. Old Mr Bennet’s generator always had some issue, and he never even tried to fix it until a monsoon had hit and the power was gone.
And yet. Mr Bennet was a tall man. Almost freakishly tall, like a guy in the circus with his name in lights. It was difficult to tell with almost the whole world dark as the inside of a top hat, but the dark figure didn’t look tall.
Careful of her foot, Edie knelt so that she could bring her face closer to the window. Definitely not tall. Short, even. Maybe someone her age. But she was the only kid in the park. Everyone else was either single or too old to even have young grandkids. And even procrastinating Mr Bennet didn’t go out to fix his generator without a poncho or an umbrella. This person wasn’t even wearing a coat with a hood.
Still, as wet as it was out there, hair plastered down may as well have been a hood. Or a skull cap. Edie shivered and moved away from the window. Her dad must have been asleep, or he would have come in to check on her by then. She checked the gap under the door for the weak flicker of candlelight.
Wind rattled the window in its frame as it picked up speed. Raindrops splattered hard against the wall. They sounded like bullets striking iron.
“Dad, the power’s out and you took my flashlight again! I need it!” She heard herself shouting over the sudden rumble thunder. Multiple claps stacked over each other, invisible cards that buried her voice.
Then the blinding flash of lightning that followed revealed a human face just outside her window.