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There once was a girl who was lost in a storm. She wandered this way and that, this way and that, trying to find a way home. But the sky was too dark, and the rain too fierce; all the girl did was go in circles.

Then, suddenly, there were arms around her. Strong arms-–good strong arms. And they picked the girl up and carried her away.

When she woke, she was lying in bed.

 

It was a warm bed–very warm–by a roaring fire. The blankets were soft, and she was dry. She looked around the room. There were paintings on the walls.

There was a hot cup of tea on the nightstand.

Hello? called the girl. Hello? Hello?

A young man appeared in the doorway. He looked down at the girl with a kind, quiet smile.

Feel better? he said.

And she did.

 

The girl stayed with the man for quite a long time, until she had all her strength back.

I guess it’s time for me to go home, she said, and started to gather her clothes.

But when she got to the door, she saw the rain was still falling. If anything, it was falling even harder. So she took off her clothes again, and went back to bed, and lay in the man’s arms a little longer.

 

This went on for many, many years, and eventually the girl grew very old.

And then one day she discovered on the wall by the door the switch that turned the rain on and off.

 

She stood there staring at the beautiful day outside, and then down at the simple little switch. She listened as the birds flew by the window, singing.

And then she turned and went back to bed.

 

In the night, that night, the man woke up.

Did the rain stop? he said. I dreamt it did.

And the girl put her arms around the man and held him tight.

It may have, she said. But it’s all right.

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Ben Loory BEN LOORY's fables and tales have appeared in The New Yorker, on This American Life, at Word Theatre, and on Selected Shorts. His book Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day (Penguin, 2011) was a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

14 Responses to “The Girl in the Storm: Excerpt from Stories for Nighttime and Some for 
the Day

  1. Gloria says:

    Interestingly, there’s a whole discussion about you and this book happening over on Duke’s post.

    But I’ll say here what I’ve said there:

    I’m midway through this book. So far, my favorite is about the boy in the storm drain. I find them all fun to read, but really unsettling. “The TV” – the one at the end that you included in the Appendix – is probably the most unsettling of them all. I’m going to be thinking about it for a long time.

    In the interview with you that Duke has posted, Duke mentions that you attended a Bradbury celebration. I’ve been trying to figure out what your writing reminds me of and I think I just realized that it’s Bradbury-ish itself. There’s something about the pacing and the tone that isn’t like contemporary fiction – and I love this fact actually.

    You’re a hell of a writer, Ben. I’m looking forward to the follow up to this book.

    • Ben Loory says:

      thanks gloria! i hope there is a follow-up! especially since i’m not qualified to do anything else… :)

      and yes, the tunnel is one of my favorites, too. although they’re all my favorites, so my opinion doesn’t mean much. i do love ray bradbury, though i kinda hate him, too… he’s kinda like a big brother i’m always at war with when i write… :)

  2. Love this story, Ben. Hell, I love ALL the stories in your collection. As for The Octopus, don’t get me started. That one almost had me crying as well.

  3. Jessica Blau says:

    Great story! I love entering your strange and compelling world.

  4. This is my favorite. But you already know that.

  5. Irene Zion says:

    Oh but this is a lovely, creepy-wonderful story, Ben!

    • Ben Loory says:

      thanks irene! and thanks again for always being so supportive!

      • D.R. Haney says:

        Did you see where, elsewhere, Irene referred to you as “the one true genius of TNB”?

        I personally think the man in this story is creepy. I mean, I don’t, really. But, every now and then, I like to be PC, just to break up the monotony.

  6. Nathaniel Missildine says:

    I didn’t need a further push on getting a copy of this book, but this reminds me all the same.

    I plan on rereading this beautiful, rare and strange excerpt while scribbling down inane questions to ask at readings about nameless characters and fabled authors.

  7. […] Peppered with Bigfoot, a leviathan, and yes, UFOs, the author’s work captures the feel of contemporary folklore: In Looryland, televisions write operas about Winston Churchill, a fish appears in a teapot, and a man breaks into a museum to parry with a medieval shield. For a “day pass” to the collection, see “The Girl in the Storm.” […]

  8. pixy says:

    whoa. i love this, but i’m conflicted about loving it. i think that means i’m growing up on the insides.

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