The stars were shining in defiance of the coming storm. Though no clouds yet darkened the horizon, the storm was building out of sight. The gunfire piercing the night and echoing still in his thoughts were proof of its inevitable march across the sky. Rain and thunder had always accompanied, mirrored, the tempest on the ground before and he had long ago lost hope that their relationship would change. When shots rent the night, the following day would be miserable with weather.
Hitching his coat around his neck, he stepped free of his porch and across the dusty driveway to stand at his property line. His gaze was drawn east to catch the first of the morning’s warmth pressing against the heavens. Soon the world would spin enough to pry the fiery orb from its nightly slumber, but it would only shine for a few hours before clouds overtook it.
The thunder would roll forward first, signaling its slow approach. The crash and tremble would echo in his small valley and his thoughts would return to the previous night. Then the sky would soften and the rain would patter and splatter turning his driveway into a river of mud. The torrent would pound against everything in its path until it was satisfied its lesson had finally, and brutally, been imparted.
The students were never paying attention though and the violence would continue. He understood the duality of his kind even as he pondered the same and watched night give way to dawn. The edge of the world bruised and then blued. The sun came into view and the light shimmered in the clear air and reflected off the ground, heavy with dew. It was beautiful and hopeful but he could trust neither.
The gunfire echoed in his memory again and the first peel of thunder reached across the world as the clouds began to form. Small at first, they stretched high into the atmosphere before spreading horizontally to blot out the sun. The day crackled with energy. The storm sizzled with retribution.
He stepped away from his property line and retreated to the partial safety of his porch. The danger was real, no less than it had been the night before, but that didn’t mean he could shirk his responsibilities. It was day and that meant work must be done, despite the risks and the coming downpour. It wasn’t yet time to get started, though. The sun was still shining.
So, he watched the storm build and he waited for it to arrive. Once the first fat drops splashed into the dust he would step into the open again and begin. He would track down those who had called down the storm and he would silence them forever. One day, he hoped to keep the storms from raging at all. One day, he knew someone would come looking for him.
And the cycle would continue for someone else, to wake to the ringing shots and wait for the resultant storm.