When the Black Clouds Call for Me

by Christy Bonfiglio

Prologue

No one ever forgets their last moments, the smells, the sounds, especially when you are awoken with the suffocating darkness that lurks and haunts you. My heart is pounding to its own supersonic beat now, and feels it might actually bungee its way out of my chest at any minute. However, the world was still moving in slow motion around me, as if this moment in time hadn’t quite decided on my fate.

I sat straight up in bed, hearing the words leave my mouth, “ugh what is that”? I felt around with my hands in the bed to get some sense of what was going on with me, only to realize with relief I was just soaked in my own sweat. As my breathing began to calm and stabilize, I was coming to the realization that it had all been a dream; maybe nightmare would be more of an accurate description. The black clouds that I can never seem to escape from. Those damn clouds live rent free deep within my subconscious, waiting to one day reclaim me. I had somehow escaped their wrath when they came for me originally, and now it feels I am destined to relive those agonizing memories on replay in an everlasting loop, tailor made just for me. They like to remind me, they are still with me, waiting, eventually coming for me to finish what they started years ago.

Summer ‘89

It was the summer of 1989, and I was walking home from summer church camp. My parents were caretakers of the campgrounds at the time, so they tended to be busy since the camp session had just ended. I had walked home with all my things, and remember it was in the thick of the hottest part of that summer day. I thought I was going to melt, as it was quite the hike to where our home residence was, located on the outer edge of the camp grounds land. As I got closer to home, I took off running into the side door near my bedroom. I had noticed and briefly wondered why all of our wall decorations, pictures, and even smoke alarms were sitting there in the carport. I shrugged and rushed inside; figures, someone was always redecorating or painting around here. All I wanted to think about is how I was going to stand in front of that window unit, turning the dial to the highest it would go, and hoping it might just decide to hurl ice at my face.

The evening seemed to fly by with us. My dad was napping, which was normal, because he worked nights with his main job; being caretakers of the camp was their side gig. Summer nights were the best out there, as us kids would just play outside with the fireflies dancing around us, eating up some sandwiches on the front porch, and then off to get cleaned up before bed. Now laying in my bed, I felt completely restless. I had practically begged my mother to let me sleep in the living room, and the request had been denied with some excuse. I laid there trying not to cry, but unsuccessfully. For some unexplained reason, I felt like I shouldn’t be in my room tonight. I could hear my dad getting ready to leave for work, and as he was coming through the side door by my bedroom, he stopped in my room to see what was wrong. I began to cry uncontrollably and told him everything. He was really needing to leave for work, as we lived way out from town, and it would take him awhile to get to work; especially on these dark country roads. He leaned down and gave me a kiss on the forehead. He told me not to worry anymore, and to go sleep on the couch. I reached up and hugged him as hard as I could. I gathered my blanket and pillow and went quietly to the couch in the living room. I turned on the TV to hopefully help me calm down from being so upset. Soon enough, my eyes began to feel heavy, and I could feel my body turn into a giant noodle. As my eyes slowly inched closed, I could see the American flag waving on our TV screen while the National Anthem song faded into the night air. My eyes opened with a jolt, and before I knew what was happening, my body sprung into fighter mode. As I willed my body to find oxygen, I then tried to focus in on everything around me. Darkness, it was all complete darkness of a scorching degree. I tried standing up, but that seemed to make

everything worse; breathing was also quickly becoming a limited option. I ran into our very solid wood coffee table, which sent an unsteadily me falling to the floor. As I looked up to the sky from the floor, I could finally see the swirling thick black clouds taunting me as if they were trying to take me. I couldn’t stop the violent coughing while also trying to pitifully yell for anyone to help. My last thought before the black clouds would inevitably take over what little life I had left would be…but please, my family.

Epilogue

The police officer came walking over to review his report with the firefighters. “Hey fellas, this one was a hard one tonight; such a tragedy,” the officer said wearily. I just need to verify the source of the fire with your team. The report reads as follows: “The fire likely started near the little girl’s bedroom; room is separated from the rest of the house. Issue: faulty electrical wiring. Once the fire hit the hot water tank, the whole end of the house exploded, there is literally nothing but ash left in that part of the house.” I also just spoke with the family, and they said if it wasn’t for the little girl continuing to yell out, they probably wouldn’t have woken up. Thankfully, they were able to find her and get themselves out of one of the windows.

On Sunday mornings, you can find Christy sipping her coffee from her favorite mug, because the mug matters, and snuggling with her kids. She also loves home décor magazines, food magazines, cooking with her husband and trying new foods. She reads all types of book genres, especially when they sweep her away into the thick of a good story. Christy is happiest with her family while enjoying life at her ‘happy place’; going to the lake and simply just being on the water.

When asked about her personal goals, she replied, “To accomplish making more time for myself and not feel guilty about it!”

Leave a Comment