“The more we refuse to listen,” Phillip said, “the angrier the storm gets. We’re hurting its feelings.”
“I think I get it,” Gene said. “We need to listen to it, so it will go away.”
“Exactly,” Phillip said. “Just listen. Listen and find out what the song means.”
“What does it mean?” Jeanne asked.
“It’s different for everyone who hears it,” Phillip said. “I hear a beautiful lullabye.”
“A lullabye? In this noise?” Gene laughed. “That’s nuts.”
“Wait,” Jeanne said, her voice slowing. “I hear it, too. It’s gentle… calming now.”
The lightning flashed, and the children jolted in response. “That’s not a lullabye!” Gene shouted.
“Gene, calm down,” Phillip said. “The lullabye is working, but you need to close your eyes.”
“Close my eyes?” Gene replied, incredulous.
“Yeah,” Jeanne said. “If we can’t see the lightning, it can’t hurt us.” Phillip felt no need to correct her, as the explanation would serve his purposes for now. “Just close your eyes, Gene, and listen again.”
“That’s right,” Phillip said, closing his eyes himself. “Listen. Listen to the rain.” He felt the kids unclench their bodies, relaxing with each imagined measure of the rainsong, and their breathing slowed. It was a gradual process, but as the storm started to kick into high gear, the children were fast asleep on the floor of the den. Phillip felt satisfied that his gambit had worked, but it had an unintentional side effect in that he was now too drowsy to leave their side.
Well, he thought, there are worse places to spend a night. But far, far fewer better places.