When I see lightning, it dissolves my knowledge and reason, allowing primal fears to spill into my mind. It was 11:38 when the clock went out. The lights were already off, and I was in bed trying to force myself out of consciousness.
I was long past the phase where I half-believed closing my eyes, facing the opposite direction from the window, and drawing the covers over my head would help facilitate sleep, and was helplessly moving my vision around to whatever wasn't pitch black, waiting to feel tired enough that I would ignore my irrational anxiety. But it was all too much for my mind. The ghostly howling wind, the rain beating down mercilessly on my house and lawn, the thunder like the sky being torn in a monstrous cacophony, and, most of all, the vicious flashes which came seconds or less before the thunder and painted my backyard with eerie light that made it look like a cartoon.
I was aroused from the sort of hypnosis the storm had thrown upon me by a different sort of lightning. On my walls it looked like irregular flashes from a camera just outside my window, and there was no sound of thunder to accompany it. The normal lightning seemed to have been turned off to make way for this. I looked out the window to see what was casting the light on my bedroom wall.
To my surprise, it wasn't coming from above the treetops or behind the tall fence, but, apparently, from the middle my backyard, about twenty feet in front of the shed. I was transfixed. It was as if lightning from the four corners of the sky was converging in a spindle-shaped globule of light.
No, they weren't converging to form it. They were emanating from it.
The conglomeration of light sparked on and off in an irregular strobing effect, maintaining perfect silence. It was an otherworldly pink, like some sort of neon rose. After one of the times it winked out, it was dark for so long I thought the terrifying display was over. But after seven seconds or so it came back for two heartbeat-like flickers, and I could discern inside the blinding oval, as clear as the words on this page, the silhouette of a human figure.
After that, the light was gone. The regular lightning returned like a faded-in scene in a film, and its angry illuminations proved there was nothing and no one in my backyard.
My mind searched for an explanation for what I had just seen. It's still searching.
When I see lightning, it always brings me back to that night. My lifelong fear is still there, but now there's a long-standing mystery on top of it. With each bright gash that cuts through the dark sky, I almost expect to learn the answer.
I'm afraid that one day I really will.
Written by Floyd Pinkerton