looks at me angrily, his long tubular nose pointing down at the little leather cushion i have placed myself on. i’m here because i have nowhere else to be; the power’s gone, my phone is at 32%, and i’m missing acting class as we speak.
giant cloudman is here because he has nowhere else to be too, only, he is the power, and tonight is his night to expend it all.
“shouldn’t you be asleep?” giant asks me in much coarser language. a bolt of lightning runs through his body, causing me to jump. i don’t doubt he smirked at that in the darkness.
“probably,” i reply.
“then shouldn’t you be bloody well at it by now?” giant cloudman is a rough brit, apparently.
“perhaps,” i say, tilting my head up to stare at the immense space of sky giant takes up. moly and mice, he’s huge. imagine him picking me up from my small spot in the roof to have a sterner chat. i’d both be dead from fear and insisting he fly me over to the moon, and then we’d have a talk about different levels in the atmosphere, and probably out of spite he’d reluctantly zoom me over to my sister’s flat in the states and i’d have to explain why i was wet and also with no other clothes except a tank top and some shorts (typical jo) and then i’d turn around to blame it on giant cloudman and he’d be gone already—
giant sighs. thunder echoes through the trees, and i nearly drop my phone.
“then why aren’t you?”
perhaps his first sympathetic question all night.
“i’m a creature of obstinance,” i begin.
“ah, don’t fool yourself dear, you jumped with that bolt of lightning.”
“well. yes. but i’m still here, aren’t i?”
“you shouldn’t be—“
“precisely! and so i am.”
is that the wind flapping back and forth or is giant shaking his head?
“you— you—“ he stumbles in his words, taking a good look at my hunched over appearance, trying to figure out the right words to address and scold me by.
“take your time,” i tell him. i reach out for some crackers in my other pockets and munch in his confusion.
“—you young… people make no sense these days.”
“didn’t you just form like, tonight?”
giant cloudman laughs in my complacent ignorance.
“don’t you know the saying? water has memory. and i,” he gets closer, rain starting to fall.
“i remember everything.”
i taste the rain and brush off a struggling ant off my leg as i look the giant in the eyes. “how’s that been like for you?”
he seems taken aback at my camaraderie. “tiring. very tiring. in such a short time this place seems to be getting worse and worse, thanks to fools like you.”
“tell me about it.” i munch on a another cracker.
there’s a volley of lightning that ripples throughout the sky, evoking purple and red and blue all at once in the lonely, young night. i cross my legs and watch as giant cloudman has conversations with his coworkers in the storm making business, and he eventually returns to me.
“you enjoy this stuff?” his brogue tries, but it can’t hide his confusion.
“he— er, heck yeah,” i say through muffled crackers.
“do tell why. i’ve never seen a child grin at lightning. are you mad?”
“oh, definitely,” i say. “it must be amazing to have such power. so… gah. so cool, so strong, so in control.”
i might’ve stoked his ego a bit. the giant gets louder. “ahh, and you wouldn’t know what that’s like.”
“no.” i say honestly. “i would never know what that’s like.”
it’s the giant’s turn to stop.
“well… i’m uh, sorry,” he says gruffly. i don’t suppose he’s used to making apologies.
“you get used to it,” i tell him. i look around at the darkness around me and inhale. the power has been off for a while, and yet i’d rather stay here and have this little chat with a being that could potentially kill me given the right motives. i’m not sure what to make of that.
there are murmurs in the air as the storm people begin their nightly torrent, and giant man sounds quieter when he says “in all seriousness, you should go find some rest.”
i stifle a laugh. “hmmmm. that doesn’t happen for people like me. doubt you get any of it in your kind of work either.”
the giant almost smiles. or maybe that’s the sudden curve of electricity that runs through what i imagine is his mouth. “you’re observing. it’s people like you that can’t be left alone, you’d find out how the world works and try to fix all its broken parts.”
i would respond if he doesn’t immediately crouch down to where i am, the roof space around me getting darker and darker, and i’m about to back up against the wall when he whispers (well, rumbles, he is a cloud after all),
“don’t give that up now, alright?”
i manage to stutter. “i…”
he doesn’t have to get me to notice his quickly dissipating form, i can see for myself that it’s fading into the blanket of clouds that are coming to shred the sky with more electricity. it’s now or never.
“yeah, no, absolutely,” i say. “i’ll… i’ll keep… observing.”
giant cloudman drenches me in water. i imagine that’s cloud affection for ruffling someone’s head. “good. good then. i better be going.”
but then he turns. and stops. and turns back to me. “i never caught your name.”
“i never caught yours either,” i reply. “perhaps it’s not very important.”
giant cloudman doesn’t seem content with that. “then i’ll have to name you. let’s see… small, cocky, slightly tragic, i’m calling you little storm. farewell, little storm.”
he turns to leave, and as a goodbye i yell through the steadily pouring rain, “why little storm?”
giant cloudman keeps floating away, but his voice echoes in the next rumble of thunder that passes over me.
“because you’ve got a bigger one coming.”