Word Count– 500
Tonight, She Rides the Lightning
By Josh McMullen
The lightning illuminated the room where they both sat, and in an instant, it was dark again. They had been sitting across the room from each other, neither saying a word since the power went out.
Between them sat a phone, on which was a text message that threatened to split the both of them apart: “Do you remember what happened on that trip? Best night of my life…” with a winking emoji at the end, as if it punctuated three shotgun blasts to the heart with a knife to the back.
Maggie sat on the couch with her knees to her face, sobbing silently. On the other side, Wyatt stared out the window, watching the lightning move ever closer to them. He had spent over two weeks planning this getaway for the two of them, and all they had done was answer a text, then argue about it for two hours.
He explained that nothing had happened; they had met for drinks and that was it. Maggie didn’t believe him in the slightest; she had heard all of this before. He was supposed to be in Boston one time for a meeting and less than 24 hours after he left, she received a text message that he was in Albany with his arms around not one, but two women. Then, there was the time he was supposed to be in Providence – he never made it there, and she actually caught him walking into a hotel with her (now former) best friend. Both times, he asserted that nothing happened and begged her to take him back; both times, Maggie obliged him and took him back.
Now, with lightning splitting the sky into jagged shards, it had happened a third time. Not even a third time…that would be optimistic, she thought. Goodness knows how many times he had done it that I don’t know about. She had absolutely no reason to believe him again. She had actually thought that this was the point where he would actually turn over a new leaf and leave his young and stupid self behind him. What made her the angriest was the fact that she was dumb enough to believe him.
She looked out the window as another bolt of lightning cut through the sky almost immediately before the rain came down in an almost continuous sheet. She got up slowly and walked toward her backpack, pulling out her raincoat.
“No, no, don’t do this…I told you nothing happened…” Wyatt said, but Maggie ignored him and silently continued pulling on her boots and her coat. “Please don’t do this…I’m-I’m sorry…” She pretended not to hear him as she flung the door open and walked out into the storm, flashlight shining out into the darkness. Wyatt could only stand and watch as the light got further and further away, until finally, it was gone.
Seconds later, the lightning cut into the sky, as if putting a period on a declaration of Maggie’s newfound independence.