When I switched blog sites, I lost the archives with old posts. During a fleeting moment of boredom, I started looking through some old blogs and found this one. My feelings haven’t changed, so here goes nothing, although there are a few minor changes. This was posted by me back in 2010, during the monsoon season. (Sometimes it pays off to keep hard copies of things.) Interestingly, it’s thundering outside as I write this, and just starting to rain.
Opening a story with, “It was a dark and stormy night,” has become kind of a joke to some. Many say it’s too much of a cliché to use in a story. Okay, so how about, “It was a dark and stormy day?” That doesn’t seem to have quite the same punch, and it may not be as scary as what’s hiding in the dark and the storm.
I live in Northern Arizona and we had a monsoon storm of good proportions today. It started around six o’clock this morning, and although the sun is out for the moment, it looks like there’s more to come. The rain came down by the bucketful. (I can exaggerate like that because that’s what I do for a living.) However, it did rain pretty hard for quite some time. The lightning and thunder were awesome to see and hear.
At one point there was lightning all around us, which meant there were constant strikes and the thunder was continuous. It sounded like it rolled from one end of the sky to the other. The storm was directly overhead for a while, and there was an ear-splitting crack before the thunder boomed. Our electricity went off for several hours, which rarely happens in our neighborhood.
Sounds like the setting for a story to me, but it should have happened after dark. And it did, not too long ago. This is our monsoon season.
If the electricity hadn’t gone out I would have put a movie in the DVD player. It would have been a mystery that began on a dark and stormy night – what else? It would have been appropriate to what we were experiencing firsthand. What could be more mysterious and suspenseful than a dark night, loud thunder, and a sudden scream? Well, probably a lot of things, but I would have enjoyed it. Hmm. Maybe add the sound of forceful winds blowing.
Somehow a bright and sunny day just doesn’t say mystery to me. Mind you, I’m talking about the plus side of the stormy night in a mystery, not the plus side of a beautiful day. I’ll leave that for a different post. Menacing things can certainly happen during the daylight hours.
I mean, really, think about it. If there’s a sudden knock at your back door when you’re not expecting anyone, is it going to be more suspenseful during the day? Or at night, during a storm, when the back porch light has burned out? And you live in the country far from your neighbors – or you live in a nice neighborhood, but your neighbors are gone on vacation. The scenarios are endless during nasty weather.
Maybe your vehicle has broken down on a lonely road and a black car pulls up behind you with the lights out. And just maybe he nudges your car with his front bumper. Uh oh. You see someone exit the car in your rear view mirror. He’s wearing a hoody and you can’t see his face – and he walks funny. Is he a bad guy, or is he a bad driver with a sprained ankle who happens to be wearing a hooded sweatshirt because he’s cold and really wants to help you?
Watch some vintage mysteries. Many of them start out with a storm and pouring rain. It adds to the suspense. Oh, yes, it really does.
Anyway, after sitting through the storm today, dark and stormy nights were really on my mind. Just thought I’d mention it. By the way, many readers love a good storm to read by. Or, ...by which to read.
Until next time, wishing you bright and sunny days with no strangers showing up at your back door unannounced.
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