W. S. McLean


As far back as he could remember he had been afraid of storms. Back there in the early years, some member of the family had set the pace of fear when a storm came. There was an old belief - probably a superstition - that if one sat on a feather bed, lightning wouldn't strike. Anyway, there was a general migration to the bedrooms during a storm. Mother became nervous if the storm was severe, and sister would have a fit of trembling. Brother made a vain show of bravery, which only intensified the uneasiness. All through his seventeen years the boy had had a dread of storms. Perhaps the psychologists would say it was conditioned by those early experiences.

So that night he lay huddled among the covers, as the storm raged. The room was dungeon-black, lighted only by the vivid flashes of lightning. All other sound was swallowed up in the crash and rumble of the thunder. He could feel the house shake as the wind dashed against it, seemingly in a mad effort to tear it apart. The rain beat against the window pane in a solid phalanx. And he was scared a pointless, unreasoning, foolish fear.



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