Jacob woke up, heart thumping, sweat sticking him to the sheets. Rebecca was whimpering.
“‘Becca?” Jacob asked. His voice came out a blurry mess. He tried to turn, but the weight of sleep was still heavy on him. Not to mention the sheets.
For a moment, he thought the rain was a plane passing overhead. The house was creaking in the wind. Jacob passed through a dream of a giant, pouring out a crate full of tiny ball bearings onto their roof.
Rebecca’s whimper pulled him back again.
“‘Becca.” A little clearer that time.
Somewhere far away, thunder rumbled. He moved a hand, got it up to his head. She whimpered again, and Jacob managed to roll onto his back. His entire left side was numb.
“Rebecca.” Whole name that time! Getting somewhere!
But she didn’t stir. Or at least, all of her stirring could be attributed to whatever nightmare she was having. Outside, something metal went tumbling across pavement. Probably one of the Porter’s porch chairs. The rain was loud. Noise filled the house, louder then the sound system, or the neighbor’s fighting.
How in the world was she sleeping through it?
But she was. Rebecca cried out, real fear in her voice.
“Rebecca!” Jacob called. He rolled over again to face her, and reached out with his numb hand, twisting so he could lean over her. He touched her shoulder. “‘Becca, you’re dreaming.”
Suddenly, the rain sounded like rain again. The wind stopped pushing the walls around. Rebecca’s hand came up and grabbed his, hanging on tight.
“Jacob?” She asked, voice as blurry as his had been.
“Yeah. You okay? Lots of bad noise.”
“Is bad dream.”
“No, wake now.”
She laughed at him, a bit weakly. “Sorry I woke you up.”
Jacob kept the ‘tired voice’ up, though he’d cleared the fatigue out of his mouth. “Oh noes! Bad wife! Have scary dream.”
She laughed again and pushed herself up into a sitting position. Jacob straightened out, curling up his legs and arching his back. The sheets peeled off, a relief.
“You missed the storm.” Jacob said, as she parted the curtains to look out at the yard. “It was really going until right about when you woke up.”
“Hmm.” She said. The streetlight turned her face golden-yellow. Somewhere between butter and zombie. “I’m going to open the window.”
“Okay.” Jacob said. The room was way too hot. “I think we’ll get wet though.”
“Oh no. What ever will we do.” She reached up and pulled the latch and pushed the window open. The rain began to land on her face and she snorted. “So much for overhangs. Hand me that towel.”
The breeze came in, bumping the curtains gently, pushing the heat around. Jacob leaned out of the bed, transferred his weight to the desk chair, grabbed the towel, and flung it at his wife.
She caught it, flapped at him with it, and then put it on the windowsill. Jacob leaned back into the bed. He sat there, legs folded in front of him, sheets a knot below him. Waited, watching the rain land on her face.
Eventually, she sighed and let the curtains drop.
“What were you dreaming about?” He asked. The dark made it safer, somehow.
“The storm.” Rebecca said. “How big was it?”
“Big.” Jacob said. “I think I heard a deck chair escape.”
She chuckled. The silence was less stifling with the cool breeze wafting in. The rain was gentle now, just a serenade. Like ‘nature sounds’ playing on the radio.
She was thinking about something. He could hear it.
“I fly on them.”
“When I sleep through storms.” Rebecca said, when he didn’t respond. “I fly on them.” The emotion in her voice was not fear. She sounded… in awe. At peace, maybe.
“Like in a plane?”
“No. Like, like a bird. Only, my wings are the clouds.” Her voice drifted even further from the conversation. “Just the darkness before me, and the rain and lightning falling from my heart. And the great weight of the storm on my arms.”
“Z’it scary?” Jacob tried. She’d sounded scared, when she’d been asleep.
“I.” She paused. “I don’t know.” The curtains spilled outward for a moment, letting in a stream of yellow light. “I was scared when I woke up. I don’t know.”
“You sounded really scared.” Jacob explained. “You were whimpering, and you, you know, ‘cried out’.”
Rebecca smiled in the dark. He could hear it.
The next morning she went out to inspect the damage while he made eggs. She came back in and left her rain coat dripping on the tile. “Well, nothing hit our house.” She said, in a voice dark with humor.
The eggs were screaming. Jacob watched them carefully as the butter sizzled. “That sounds like ouch for our neighbors.”
“Yeah. The Jacobson’s lost a tree and their fence, and you were right about the Porter’s deckchair. I dragged it back across the street and put it by their door, but I have no idea what happened to the cushion.”
“Ouch.” Jacob winced about the tree. “Glad it didn’t hit their roof.”
The Jacobson’s had three daughters. Every time he saw them he shouted, “My sons!” They all thought he was goofy, and giggled madly.
“Yeah.” Rebecca said, removing her boots and scarf. She was looking thoughtful. “I wonder if the bridge will be out.”
“Hoping to skip work?” Jacob asked.
Rebecca shrugged. “I mean, you know…”
Jacob laughed. Rebecca opened her laptop and crossed the kitchen to put the kettle on the stove.
“Nah.” She said, after a moment. “Actually, I’m wondering because I remember dreaming about the Jacobson’s tree. I must have heard it go down.”
“It was pretty loud.” Jacob agreed.
“But I remember dreaming about the bridge going down too. I mean, it seems reasonable, given all the rain.”
Jacob nodded. “Fair ‘nough.” But that wasn’t her point. “What else?”
“Avalanche on 101, of course. Accident on 82, two semi’s.”
“Hardly unlikely.” Jacob agreed.
“And a woman giving birth between here and Eureka in a blue Toyota mini-van that couldn’t make it to the hospital, twins, a boy and a girl, eyes the color of lightning.” She got it out all in one go.
“Huh.” Jacob said. “Man, you have the coolest dreams.”
“I know, right?” Rebecca wandered back over to her computer and began typing.
Jacob grabbed the toast and started slicing cheese and tomatoes.
“Well, the bridge is out.” She said.
He did avocado next, slowly.
Then, “And there has been an avalanche.”
“Of course.” Jacob said drily. He washed his hands and put the coffee together as the water boiled, pouring it into the french press and pulling out mugs.
“Accident on 82. Two semi-trucks.”
Jacob looked at her. She had that blank face on, the one she used when the world got thin, and she was worried it might flutter away if she coughed too loud. Like when someone was telling her about the CIA’s nanobot drones, or about the demons that watched them from empty corners. Jacob could feel it too. That yawning question, opening up over the dark abyss.
Her shoulders lowered and she breathed out in what might have been relief. “No news about a woman giving birth in a van.”
“Oh good.” Jacob said, picking up the plates and bringing them over to the table as she shut her laptop. “Because that would have been far too spooky and required uncomfortable re-evaluation of my world view.”
She laughed at him.
The story came up the next day. There was no mention of the color of the children’s eyes.