The sky opened up above young Munro Wolcott. It had been an overcast Thursday up until this point. As the clouds parted ways, the bright sun shone down on Munro. His eyes had grown accustomed to the grey sky, the dull stormy weather, and the soft, shrill breeze that would sweep from east to west every few minutes. But now, the sunlight radiated from the sky in such a haphazard manner that it felt a bit rude as if the sun itself had it out for young Munro.
He held his forearm over his eyes as he tried to look at the shining star in the sky that decided to peek through the monochrome clouds. At first, Munro could not see a single thing; everything in his line of sight was pure white. His pupils were unmistakably shocked by the brightness. Each time he blinked, however, he could see vague outlines in his field of vision. He blinked faster and faster until his eyes became used to this new brighter environment. When he finally regained his sight, he could clearly see what shone down from above. Clearly, it was not the sun. Munro had an inkling thought that this might’ve been the case but he didn’t want it to be true. But alas, there shining above young Munro, was the spirit of John Oppenheimer.
“Munro,” spoke John in a blistering voice that affected Munro’s ears the way the blinding light affected his eyes.
“Y-yes?” Munro said, hesitating.
“How are you, old chap! It’s been far too long!”
“It has.” Munro was not enthusiastic at all. How could you be? The gargantuan visage of a long-dead local was staring down at him. John’s bright smile reflected even more light; all of this light, shining over poor young Munro. He still held his forearm close to his face even though his eyes were now completely used to John Oppenheimer’s bright face.
“How’s the family? How’s Hilda and the boys? All well, I hope?”
Munro didn’t respond. He didn’t have to. Once John got started, there was no way to stop him because he wasn’t listening to anyone else but himself.
Munro’s annoyance had evolved into disdain. He stood there in the barren field looking up at the man’s face as he droned on and on about this and that. The sky is a very comfortable place to live in! John would say. Not as comfortable as St. Ragantine’s Hostel but it’s close! He would continue. Munro had heard the same tales time and time again.
Why today, on a beautifully grey, cloudy, overcast day would John Oppenheimer decide to pay Munro a visit? The thick clouds were no match for old Oppenheimer’s blinding light but they remained there, keeping Munro company, seemingly out of pity for the young man.
“And then, Martha showed up with even MORE casserole. The entire firmament broke out into laughter. It was purely glorious, old chap! You must’ve heard it, surely. It was that storm from a couple of weeks ago!” John had concluded his new story, to which Munro paid no attention.
“That sounds really nice, Jack,” Munro said. “Look, man, I’m really busy today. I have to get a lot of work done before winter rolls around. Can we talk some other time?”
As soon as Munro finished uttering his words, he immediately regretted it. He knew there was no way of changing John’s mind. How could a mere mortal man bargain with an eternal being made of pure light? Munro had crossed a line, he was sure of it. But the fear he felt didn’t bring anything to fruition. In fact, he began to feel darkness take over the landscape once more. Munro looked up at the sky and saw John receding into the grey clouds. The clouds quickly returned to their original places, as if ravenous to return the earth below into a dark, desolate land.
“That worked way better than I expected!” Munro said and he continued to reap his field.
Featured Image Credit: “Nacreous Metamorphosis” by Local Preacher is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0