Lightning and thunder had always carried a pull of interest to my imagination, of the tales that they would always bring, on how lightning can magically take its physical form out of sheer nothingness to these flashes of a great declaration of its very discerning presence.
Even as a grown-up it would always take me wondering, what if it is more than just an atmospheric disturbance, more than just a by-product of the mixture of the warm and cold air. What if?
Often times it is perceived as this very frightening notion that still hunts the living daylights out of our grown-up selves.
I remember as a child, me and my best friends would always think of lightning as the clashing of the broadswords of the Giants that fought over the terrains of the clouds. Our nanny would also say that it can also be seen as a crooked hand of the grim reaper reaching for the souls of the dying. Or sometimes, it is being used as a bridge by the “Engkantos” when they travel to reach the other realms to harness mystical powers.
When these bedtime stories got the very best of us, we would always hide under the force field of the sheets and our blankets; each of us curled up like an Armadillo in the presence of its slayer. As this was the first of our many tactical maneuvers.
You’ve always got to have a defensive strategy. And this was ours.
We would then hold on to our flashlights to counter the striking and blinding power of our unpredictable foes, the Lightning.
To time when would be their next attack, we would always try to catch patterns by counting the seconds from the last lightning strike to the next. By doing this, we would know when to uncover and open fire.
But, we found ourselves stuck in a predicament. Although we are protected by our force field, we are as blind as a bat. The blankets are too thick for us to be able to see when the last lightning strike was. We’d be fried if we ever took a chance. And we figured we were outnumbered, we can’t afford to have any casualties.
“We have got to work with what we have”. A very compelling voice from our esteemed captain, He was also our neighbor.
And my brother and I looked at each other and came up with this brilliant strategy.
Since we cannot uncover, we will have to rely on the roaring sounds of the thunder. But the giants, despite their looks, are highly intelligent to have come up to delay the sound of thunder after each terrible lightning strike. And it took us quite some time to have figured out the patterns to solve this puzzle.
We counted 1, 2, then the thunder would come, and 1,2,3,4, then another, 1, and another roar, it was so random and almost impossible to decipher. We wrote all of the patterns on the back pages of my P.E. notebook, the one I never got to use a lot anyway, and discovered that despite the chaos, and its unpredictability, there’s this unique pattern that came out.
All we’ve got to do now is to make sure that we’ve got enough ammunition.
So my brother, our weapons specialist, made sure that a good supply of 9-voltage batteries was available, that we hid under the blue pillow we call our armory. These were recharged batteries. We believed that we can still use drained disposable batteries when you recycled and recharged it all day under the heat of the sun.
As I was waiting for the Captain’s signal, I wiped the sweat off of my palms against my battle uniform, which I also wear when I sleep, my pajamas. I was ordered to strike when it is time. And we believed that the light coming from our flashlights, our weapon of choice, can make holes through the clouds where the giants take their cover. And if we made just enough holes, they would fall from the skies, and the impact of the fall would kill them.
I held 2 flashlights, in case one would fail. Our first offensive strike was very crucial as this may be, the only chance we have. The giants are not expecting that we have figured out their secret, and if this was deemed to be a failure, they’d definitely change the thunder patterns and we will be defeated.
Time was not on our side as well.
Children get easily bored and unable to stay up that late. This was our weakness. If we fell asleep, they could easily snatch the win and we won’t be able to wake up again.
The Captain mumbles… with his eyes closed, calibrating and reading the flashes from the lightning and the roars of thunder. And almost in slow motion, gave the wave, gesturing the signal to attack.
“This is it, brother! You can do this! We’re all counting on…”
The last of the encouraging words from my twin was unheard, for it was abruptly interrupted by the blinding lightning strikes that were immediately followed by the deafening drum rolls of thunder. This was the last wave of their attack! A showdown between the soldiers of the light and the towering guardians of death itself!
The Captain reveals our frail bodies from all the sheets and pillows that helped camouflage us.
And he yelled, “Go, and Do it!” And I knew we were done the moment I saw the two of them, fading away, falling on the bedroom floor.
But I was able to stretch both of my arms high, and towards the window, I went, as each step was proven a struggle by our enemies’ blunt remorseless gestures. I was able to reach the wall, then showing myself, aiming to the great marsh of the night clouds, holding both weapons as long as I could until I was taken out by the giants’ hard hitting blows.
Then I was out. The 3 of us died in this great battle.
The next morning, the sunlight reveals the ruins of last night’s battle. Pillows and blankets were on the floor, the debris of toys fallen from the shelves, and our fallen bodies on the ground.
And when we woke up, we realized that we were crushed, and have died tragically from last night’s war.
Then we smiled and agreed that we’ll be astronauts the next night.
Yelling — “Let’s prepare for a mission!”