‘It was a dark and stormy night… No, scrap it, that’s ridiculous.’
The apprentice looked up from across the desk, tapping her pen to her chin. She couldn’t keep quiet and had to point out the obvious.
‘But, it is dark and stormy, sir!’ She pointedly looked towards the window.
Being winter, the sun had already been going down, even though it was only late afternoon. When the storm had hit, all remains of the early twilight had been swept away. Right before that, the trees had blown the wrong direction. The first thunderclap had been the precursor of what was to come.
The view outside was pure darkness, broken often by the sharp light of lighting, illuminating everything in a cold white. The cracks of the thunder loud enough to rattle the whole body.
‘Perhaps…’ he mused, half turning to look outside. An loud boom cause a short shriek from the young woman. He looked back at her, eyebrows raised.
‘Sorry sir! That sounded really close though!’
‘So it was. So it was.’ he trailed of, staring at a point next to her shoulder.
‘It was a dark and storming night. No, that almost sounds like a swear, doesn’t it?’
He harrumphed. She chuckled. She’d always associated that verb with older people in stories, but her master wasn’t that old. and they weren’t in a story.
‘I’m not doing very good at teaching you how to write, am I? Well, I suppose this is also part of the proces. Often it comes as quick as the lightning,’ he managed to point towards the window right when the trees were visible from the lightning, causing red spots when they blinked, ‘and sometimes the muse rattles you as hard as the thunder does.’ The crack that followed really did shock her.
‘But from time to time, it’s as fleeting as the rain falling from the sky. One drop indistinguishable from the other, all melding together to form a puddle, or sometimes a stream, a chaos too large to pick out one clear image.’
The apprentice was scribbling frantically, aiming to get all the words exactly the way he’d said them.
‘What are you doing? I didn’t say anything even halfway decent.’
‘No sir,’ she put down the last dot with and embellished twirl of the hand, ‘uh, I mean, yes sir, you did! If I may say so, you’re used to your own words. A lot of exposure to something makes one used to it. So they don’t sound all that great to you? But to me, they sound beautiful, and I’m certain to many other people as well. That was classic stuff. Sir!’
A barely detectable twitch of his lip.
‘Well, there’s a reason you’re my apprentice. You just showed me that you have the right thoughts in you. Merely need to practice on replacing certain words to make it sound better.’ he gave a curt nod and continued. She thought she saw him whisper stuff under his breath with a slight shake of the head.
‘Write down: it was a dark and stormy night.’