Shadow in the lightning

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https://darknessprevails.org/shadow-in-the-lightning/

I have always been intimidated by the strength of storms in place like Pennsylvania, New York, Kansas, and Texas. But, in some states, they’re especially nasty. During the 2015 hurricane season, I took a trip to Florida with 3 friends and decided to stay on the shore unless a hurricane was coming. There was a chance of rain, but I didn’t mind. I had no idea this would lead to one of the most terrifying nights of my life.

At 4 PM the day we arrived, I took a look out over the water and saw something that worried me. The horizon had as one of my friends described “angry” clouds. We also had a cold wind blowing around us, and the air was chilly, yet electrified. I said “Looks like we’re gonna get one of those pop-up storms. We better get inside.” We got inside the chalet we had rented and decided to just wait out the storm. Though I was nervous, I didn’t want to appear wimpy, so I acted like it was no big deal. One of my friends had brought a handheld radio, so we listened to the news. After a Severe T-Storm warning for where we were, we heard a report about an escaped convict from a prison somewhere in Orlando. We were in Miami, so I thought we were safe. 2 of my friends didn’t care, but my only female friend was clearly freaking out. Turns out she had a reason to.

At 8 PM, the storm was STILL going on. My friend who droves us to Florida took out his phone and showed me the radar. We were in a line that was moving from East to West. With all the red, orange, and yellow, it was clear that we weren’t getting off easy. As one moved away, another followed it. I happened to look out the window and saw a huge shape. At first I thought it was just shadows in shadows. The next flash of lightning illuminated something that I really wish it hadn’t. In the light I saw a scowling face in a hat and overcoat with a large build, and holding a steak knife. He was tapping on the window with that very same knife. One of my friends dove into the bedroom, then ran out with a pistol. My female friend the other both dived into the bathroom, but my other male friend overshot his jump, and hit his head on the sink, knocking him out. I was terrified, because I’m small, my female friend was freaked, one of my friends was out cold, and the other couldn’t keep his hand steady. I just took out my phone and called 911. I calmly explained what the problem was and when I looked back out the window, the man was gone. My friend put the pistol on the floor, then slapped me on the back while saying “Nice job, bud! You scared him off!” I was relieved and terrified. The next day, I saw someone in the hospital where my friend was being treated for his concussion. When I asked her what the blood-stained shirt was from, she told me some psycho with a steak knife had stabbed her. I later learned that the guy with the steak knife was the escaped convict and he had mental issues. I still wonder, if my friends hadn’t taken cover, if I hadn’t called 911, if my friend hadn’t brought a gun, what would have happened? Now, whenever a storm approaches, I always think about that man, his knife, and the terrifying night in Miami.

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