Galya Clark is a journalist, who lives with her family in the UK. In Bulgaria she was reporter on the national newspapers, editor of a magazine, published in English, author and presenter of the television programme “Diplomatic missions” in EBF TV. Galya has a PhD in History and has got academic articles about aspects of Bulgarian and British history. From Britain she continues to write for the Bulgarian and British media. In the last few years Galya has been writing fiction. She was a member of a Writing Club in Hethersett, Norfolk.
Thunder after Thunder
by Galya Clark
The summer storm suddenly hit; beginning innocently with long distant thunder and lightening. Thunder! Seemed to be right in the school. A second, third, fourth. The children behaved like crazy, shouting after each thunder, hugging exalted and frightened. In vain the adults tried to calm them, calling them to silence, but they would not. The adults themselves were frightened, but they couldn’t give a clear expression of their feelings. Children’s fright came together with confusion. Some began to cry and not just the girls.
After another terrible, perhaps the most terrible thunder, a new sound was heard. Viiowewow ..the fire alarm came on. That irritating sound added to the chaos and confusion. Teachers and assistant teachers were fussing around. Within a minute, the command of the head teacher came. ‘’Out of the school’’. The children must go to the sports hall outside’’. What now? How come? Outside it was raining ‘cats and dogs’, it was impossible for the children to go out in the pouring rain in shirts only, without jackets. Yet the command was an order.
‘’Go out – go to the gym’’, called the teachers.With tearful faces, tears flowed, all kids from four to eleven years of age passed by. Pouring rain, children wet to the bone, vague information. The creepy thunderstorm that never stopped.Class after class, the children entered the gym. Half of them were already inside, the others under the beating of the raging rain, when the head teacher came out, dry and impeccably elegant. “The management has decided that it is safe in the building, there is no fire. You can go back to the classrooms,” announced the authorised miss.
There was now a new series of wet pupils, coming from the hall to the school. And, of course, Murphy’s Law, there weren’t reserve clothes to change their soaked uniforms.
In the Five F class the children were crying their eyes out, some singly, some hugging in two’s and three’s. Everyone was worried about someone else.
“What is my sister doing at her school? ‘’I cry especially for my little puppy, which is home alone, not even a year old’’, said William, a blonde boy with glasses.‘’I hate my family. I hate them, but I do not want them to die’’, Alex, a boy with problematic behavior, was himself wondering about that paradox.”I love only my dad from my whole family and I wonder where he is now. I’m worried about him,” explained Charlie, a boy with brittle dark hair. “He’s in another city, and I see him only every two weeks. Mum doesn’t like him.’’”My mother is in the woods, in Thetford forest, in this terrible storm, but at least she is with a friend’’ Meghan wept, embracing her knees. She was feeling lonely and all of this was too much for her.
In the corridors of the school the movement did not stop – crying, hurrying children. Vicky, a tall, fair haired girl, was in a hurry to see if her little sister was feeling O.K and to comfort her if she was crying. The adults discussed the situation, also shocked by the terrible thunder and many crying children.
“I have to calm them down, but I’m also frightened,” Sally, a teaching assistant told a group of teachers and assistants. Her eyes were wide open and scared.
“And can you imagine, if you are now so desperate, what were the feelings, passing through the hearts of children during the Second World War?’’ Nicky, another assistant teacher asked rhetorically. The adult core did not have time to analyse the controversial behaviour of the leadership properly, but left the criticism for the next day.
The sun rose over the town ravaged by the storm. Children no longer remembered how they were afraid and wept; they are big boys and girls now, not babies. They were soon running joyfully in the yard again.
Translated from Bulgarian by the author