"What happened?", Adriana Armour asked her brother who was constantly crying.
It was Sunday evening . John Armour , a boy of 20 , was sitting at a desk in his room , working on his laptop. His sister , Adriana , a girl of 15 , was out of home to attend her friend's birthday party. His father was out of town for the weekend. His mother , Ashley , was preparing dinner for the family.
Adriana was astraphobic. She had developed this fear when she was about 8 years old. It was when she saw her aunt die from a lightning strike. There was thunder and lightning ; the wind blew hard ; the rain poured.Her aunt was standing in the rain , holding an umbrella , and talking to someone on her cellphone. Adriana was standing on the balcony. She screamed and all of her family members came running towards her. "Why did you shout?", Ashley , her mom , asked questioningly. Adriana pointed her finger towards the fallen lady. She was trembling with fear.Her teeth were chattering . She could not forget her aunt's cadaverous face. Ashley took Adriana inside.``Relax Ad , everything will be fine , you're my brave child", Ashley consoled Adriana . But , who knew that Adriana would have to carry this unusual fear her entire life. The cause of her aunt's death was cardiac arrest , the post-mortem report revealed. The electrical energy had caused blood vessel tears and thrombosis. Whenever it rained , she started crying. Ad ,thus, became astraphobic. This daunting fear continued to haunt her. She'd refuse to go to the balcony during rains.
Adriana came home after attending her friend's party. It was raining heavily outside. Lightning flashed and thunder rattled the window panes. Her adrenaline levels started to increase. She could be seen sweating. She went to her room to change her clothes. "Come on Ad , dinner is ready", her mom spoke in a soft voice sensing Ad's fear. Ad sat with her mom and brother and enjoyed the dinner. But , the fear continued to haunt her. She could feel her heart pounding in the chest. Her brother tried to comfort her. After the dinner was over , each one went into their room.
It was 11 p.m. . Her brother and mom were sound asleep. But Adriana was wide awake. She decided not to disturb them and went back quietly in her room. She could listen to the sounds of dogs barking , winds whistling , doors squeaking and thunder caused by lightning . Each boom of thunder was loud enough to rattle the window panes. There was no electricity at home and the lights were dim and flickering.
She found it difficult to sleep that night. "I'll study for sometime ", Adriana said to herself. She was sitting on the study table when suddenly she saw the shadow of a lady on the wall facing her. It looked more like a silhouette. The silhouette reminded her of her aunt and her day of demise. Also , the silhouette's hair was raised which was similar to that of her aunt's bouffant hair. Adriana yelled. On hearing the loud sound , John and Ashley rushed towards her room. Adriana was unconscious. John lifted her and laid her on the bed. Ashley was highly upset. "Seems that something bad happened. I'll sleep with her tonight , John", Ashley told John. Ashley hugged Ad , kissed on her cheek and slept with her.
Next morning , Ashley woke up around 7:00 a.m. She quickly bathed and went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. She was engrossed in the thoughts of her daughter. She decided to make Adriana's favourite burritos for breakfast. Ashley was kneading the dough when she heard Ad sobbing. She rushed towards Adriana's room. Adriana was shivering and tears were rolling down her eyes. Ashley continued to comfort Adriana. "What happened Ad?" , "Why are you crying?" , "What had happened yesterday?", Ashley put forward numerous questions that were uppermost in her mind. Adriana spoke , her voice stammering , "Mom, yesterday night I saw the aunt's silhouette on the wall. Did she rise from...?" Ashley stopped her. "Stop overthinking Ad". Ad's 15 year old mind had coerced her to perceive things in such a way. Ashley pointed her finger towards a doll that hung on the back wall. "See Ad , you saw the reflection of the doll. Don't overthink". But , Ad's mind was filled with the thoughts of the lady. She posed another question. "But mom , I also saw that the lady in the silhouette had raised hair just like our aunt had". " Ad, see there", Ashley spoke pointing towards the back wall. "Can you see a clock above the doll? The shadow on the wall might have attained such a shape". Ad stopped crying. She felt a bit relaxed after her mother's explanation.
Samuel , Ad's father was back home. Ashley told Samuel everything about last night. Samuel , too, was upset. But he comforted his wife and said," Don't worry Ash , we'll find some or the other solution".
John , Ashley and Samuel decided to do something. Adriana's unusual and long-nurtured complex and fear if left untreated could cause great harm to her. Sticking to it would rob her of her confidence .
John assured,"Next time it rains , Ad will neither tremble nor cry". They devised a plan and it was decided that they would create an atmosphere similar to the day of aunt's demise. Ad was afraid of going to the balcony during rains and seeing someone on the road added to her fear.The family wanted Ad to conquer her fear of thunder and lightning. They checked the weather forecasts and located a date that showed RAIN. It was FRIDAY - the day when the family would give an action to their plan.
It was Friday evening. Loud sounds of thunder could be heard. Yes , it was raining. John went to Adriana's room. He could see her shaking with fear. She was trying to hide her fear in front of John but he could see Ad quivering. He decided to take her out on the balcony. Initially , she feared going out. She even asked John to stay in the room. Standing on the balcony , John said,"Come on Ad, come here. The weather is amazing". Ad refused. But John took her to the balcony. A brilliant bolt of lightning ended in a deafening clap of thunder. Ad began shivering. John comforted her. The two of them stood there for a few minutes when Ad screamed again. She saw a lady on the road and the sight reminded her of that unfortunate incident. John explained,"See Ad , forget that incident. We can't change someone's fate. You can't hold on to that for your entire life". Ad was shivering. John continued to explain,"See there , that lady...".But then, John saw a streak of lightning. John paused. He was terrified. Stark terror seized him. It made his blood run cold. He felt paralysed. "What happened , brother?". But John seemed neutral. He did not respond. After a minute , he started crying. "Why are you crying , John?" , "What happened?" , Ad continued to speak. John pointed towards the fallen lady. Ad stared open-mouthed at the fallen lady , hardly believing her eyes. It made her flesh crawl. Ad started crying. "Brother , let's go inside", Ad spoke , her limbs shaking . John exclaimed ,"MOM".