Hatches

She was coming. They could feel it in the air which, after days of hanging lazily above the house and the fields, now pressed down on the roof, pressed in on the windows and on the doors.

The clouds steadily darkened as Robert worked atop the ladder, hammering iron into wood that would be their first line of defence against her.

The creak of the old farmhouse door preceded Emma’s arrival, bearing much-needed liquid refreshment. “I’d like to see him get through this,” he said as he took the glass from her.

“Him?” Emma asked. “It’s a girl, this one.”

Robert shrugged. “Is it? I thought that was a man’s name.”

“Well this is definitely a girl. Jake was the last one, remember?”

“Quite right. Still, I think it’s a good name for a young lad.” He said it aloud a few times, trying it out. “It’s powerful.”

Emma tilted her head, her eyes scanning the horizon. “Yes,” she said after a pause. “I think I do too.”

Emma hovered her thumb over the torch’s switch and arched an eyebrow. Robert shrugged. There was nothing to see down here anyway as they sat and waited. “Sure,” he said, and Emma clicked them into darkness.

They remained together on the sofa they’d dragged down the stairs, their fingers entwined, listening to the forces that raged above them.

“There’s something soothing about it,” Robert said a while later. He felt Emma’s body jump a little against him. As suspected, she’d been drifting off. “Maybe it’s knowing that we’re safe.”

Emma’s fingers glided along the side of his face. “I think it’s romantic,” she said in a low voice.

“Is that so?” he asked, turning towards her. “Well, we’ve got nothing but time.”

She chuckled in response, but her lips quickly sought his out, fleetingly.  “Maybe she’s making such a racket because she’s jealous of me,” Emma said, shifting further towards him. “Holed up here with you…”

They blinked in the light as they prised open the basement door the next morning, scared to see what had become of their home. The sight of shattered glass sprinkled across the hallway carpet made Robert curse.

“Oh what does it matter?” Emma asked, wrapping her arms around him again. “We’ve still got each other.”

“Too true,” Robert with a laugh. He leaned down to kiss Emma lightly on her forehead. “We can patch it up in no time.”

He was right. Within a dozen hours, the house looked as it always had.

But within a dozen weeks, Emma began to look very different.

And within a few more months, she and Robert found themselves at a blank. They couldn’t agree on a single name. Robert wanted something strong, Emma something unique. As they sat brooding, Emma noted, “You know, he was probably conceived during that storm.”

They looked at each other. A moment passed. Robert arched an eyebrow; Emma nodded.

“It can be a boy’s name,” she said, looking down at their son nestled in her arms. “Yes, I think it fits.”

Robert stood and walked over. He considered the new-born, asleep and content. “Hey, little Koren. Nice to meet you.”

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