Red Sky, Ghost Cries

Originally published August 18, 2017

I glance out the window at the red sky. It’s just the way the setting sun hits the cumulonimbus clouds, I tell myself. But when a sudden clap of thunder rattles the legs of my bed against the hardwood floor, I wait for it to rain blood.

Befitting for the time we live in. A live-action horror film. When cars speed through crowds and crush the skulls of babies, when antebellum monuments are brought down upon the heads of their worshipers.

I plug in my ear buds and play a track from my deceased father’s rock band. Lately I’ve had the desire to listen to his ghost. Sing to me about the power of love overcoming political corruption, separation by race, pointless fighting in streets. When the world will know peace.

I raise the volume over the thunder, nearly deaf after three replays. When the song ends, I turn everything off. The house is silent; the storm has passed. I hide under the covers, knowing I’m alone. But my bedroom door is slightly ajar, and after lying still for over an hour, unable to fall asleep, I hear a light tapping on the other side.

Now I know the dead have done more than turn over in their graves. Our callousness has brought them back, absorbing energy from the uncanny storm to manifest.

I only pray this one sings to me.

Let me know I'm not talking to myself.

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