Clink. Clink. Clink.
Rain poured outside. Droplet after droplet after droplet came crashing down, darkening the outside into a turbulent, stormy mass. The only illumination came from when lightning came careening down in a single bold strike, flushing the sky a moldy white in the haze of roaring before dying back down into the gray, bolstering and wild.
Despite the vicious thunderstorm taking place – one big enough to practically swallow up and digest the entire world in dark clouds and rain – a small, sturdy cottage stood amidst it, lit only by a few candles and sided by a nearby red-bricked barn. And, within that tiny home and within the window pane – a safe view to the outdoors – sat an olden figure, a statue who had cemented himself there to sit every day for as long as he needed. For as long as it was needed.
Inside the bleak house, a tiny fire came closer and closer until it settled softly on the desk with a subtle -clink-. The dull man continued staring outside without fail or observance of the disruption, and soon he was accompanied by another at his side.
“Tom, you’re gonna make yourself sick if you keep worrying and staring outside,” A meek voice fretted. “I know you’re worried, but we’re having the worst thunderstorm we’ve had in 14 years. There’s so many floods and our house is just barely safe, and the barn is seconds away from decay, and …”
However, the man did not move. She frowned then. If he was concrete statue – set in his way and unable to move, paved to the stool he sat on and stuck with the same dark grimace – then she was the crafter, attempting to sculpt him into something better and happier in any way she could, fretting and fearing that something may come to knock him down into cracks and pebbles.
The lady put a hand on his shoulder, rubbing it against his back and over his neck in a comforting loop. “Tom, you know I loved the boy with all of m’heart, but …” She hesitated, looking away and momentarily sulking back into the dark. When she returned, she brought a stool of her own and perched beside the man, carrying a small basket of bread rolls with her.
“…Tom, I love you. We’re gonna get through this, okay, dear?” The bread basket nudged itself over to the man, but he only politely refused with one hand.
But the movement was enough so for something to crackle through him and in moments the other woman’s eyes lit up with shock and an even stronger sense of worry, as she noticed her craft was cracking. When the man began to double over, a statue that once hunched and stared dully into the sea of murk, she wrapped an arm around his waist and nuzzled her face into the crook of his neck to brace him. Her craft was cracking, pebbling, and the cement was shattering – and soon he was wracked by sobs so loud they deafened out the chorus of blistering lightning, sobs so loud the world could hear and mourn with him.
And then he held onto the woman with powerful strength, cracking and breaking and aching. His statue was crumbling, color washing away with his cries and tears dappling his wife’s cuffed shirt. He cried, and sobbed, and his heart broke with the rest of him, just as the woman had predicted – knowing her craft was seconds away from cracking open with the storm.
But not without mend – no, not without mend.
Maybe the rain droned on – or maybe it had stopped, coming to a mere leak as the clouds fizzed out into tiny gray husks of the storm they once embodied.
And then there were footsteps; ones that were loud yet dulled by the grayening skies, no longer raining down droplets but still rumbling, aching like a hungry belly.
Slowly, beneath the blanket of lessened storm and thinning clouds he crouches, and he scoops something tiny into his hands with wide eyes and a gasp. Between cupped hands and a distant, muffled thundering he ran, clutching arms to his chest and panting as much as his aching lungs would allow.
“Addison!! … Addison!”
“Tom?! Is something wrong, or…”
Then they stopped in the middle of the kitchen as Tom caught his breath, and nimbly held the light-filled creature up to his wife expectantly – who gasped and smiled in awe as well, two birds of a feather.
There he cradled what was known as a tiny kitten in his arms, watching as she pawed softly at his fingers, delicately gentle in a manner almost inhumane for such a usually energetic tiny fellow. The man breathed out in soft, hushed breaths, air fogging up into the kit’s face (which caused the petite thing to let out a pitched squawk). As he raced his thumb across her forehead in a stroke so subtle it might as well have ghosted into thin air (except the soft care was exactly necessary, unknown to somebody who held the virtue of gentle love so deeply within he didn’t even realize the active practice anymore), he barely realized he was crying – in fact, tears were welling up in his eyes faster than he could manage. Tiny droplets began to sprinkle the baby kitten’s fur.
The woman across from him grabbed his arm openhandedly and kissed his cheek with the same sense of long-term sweetness. When her gaze returned it was to the tiny tabby bundle as well, whom she refrained from caressing but still held an innate sense of familial love for.
“She’s… she’s my miracle,” the man barely got out, sniffling and still swaddling the tiny furball. “My miracle… our miracle, after… after…”
A coo, so soft and elderly it could have scarcely even been there. “Our miracle, our soft, tiny miracle…” the woman paused, holding the man to her side and to her heart as well. “I always thought a lil kitten would be nice… Especially for the farmin’.”
“But we never wanted a kid,” the response came this time in a lighthearted chuckle, accompanied by a hum of peace and serenity. The tabby kitten rolled over on her side, still flicking her whiskers and stretching sleepily. “What… what did we want to name our kid, if we ever decided to have one…?”
“Hummm… well,” then the shadows looked softer, as if even darkness had become a work of comforting art. “We always liked the name … Micheala?”
“Micheala,” he repeated, as if savoring the name in his mouth while smiling down at the kit. “Micheala… what a pretty name, no?”
“Mhm – it’s always been a favorite of mine.” Rain fell, but there was something lukewarm now about its density.
Together, the two came together, arching over the kit like two guardian angels, the underpaid lighting and rusty windows creating homemade halos over their heads. Smiling, and shifting, and glowing together like two giant birds, the two reached down to both hold the kitten – their miracle, a miracle, the miracle. A rainbow after the storm sat between two perched, loving birds, both with their beaks packed full of comfort and ready to give the world to the kit now settled tightly in their nest.
“Micheala…” The tabby’s eyes suddenly fluttered open, seemingly like a heavensent response to the name. Claws contracted, whiskers twitched, and tiny ears swiveled around until they searched up, and up, and up into the source of the sound. And then there was eye contact, strong and light, strong and instantly homey. A home, a nest – a place for two birds and the tiny, measly baby kit they had adopted into their hearts after the storm.
He rubbed her cheek and widened his mouth in a big, warm chirp of a smile.
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