I had woken early that morning; I had even beaten the sun. So, when I watched the vibrant colours of the sunrise, I was sure that nothing could go wrong. Not when the day had begun with splashes of mesmerising pinks, and oranges, and reds filling the sky. Surely nothing could go wrong on a day that had started so perfectly?

By midday, black clouds had slowly moved across the sky, engulfing everything in their path, but it wasn’t until late afternoon that the storm’s true nature was revealed. The drizzle of rain, pattering against the roof, quickly changed to a heavy thud. A powerful spray of water, like bullets, cascaded down. Streaks of brilliant white light cleaved through the graphite sky, illuminating the room, soon followed by a roar of thunder. Trees groaned as the wind tore them out of the ground, exposing their gnarled and twisted roots.

I stayed huddled in my room, hugging my knees, beads of sweat formed on my forehead. I hated storms; I always have. Every single noise put me on edge, every crash of thunder was the roar of a ferocious beast about to attack, each bolt of lightning striking fear into my very soul. Howling, shrieking, screaming winds filled every nook and cranny, drowning out almost all the noise. Panic rose in me, my heart raced, thoughts flooded my brain, I couldn’t breathe; oh God, I couldn’t breathe. Why wouldn’t it end?

A blanket of silence smothered the town, as we stared in disbelief at the wreckage that had been left behind. The street was littered with splinters of wood, ripped from the corpses of trees. The glass that once made up a window, was now a thousand tiny daggers, scattered on the ground. I looked at the devastation, the silhouette of the town, the empty shells of houses; what had happened?

As others started to leave, I stood, rooted to the spot. I couldn’t believe that a storm could do this much damage; it should have only been small, a light shower at most. Dull clouds hung over us, taunting us, boasting about the destruction they had caused, but a glimmer of hope remained. Individuals walked over to a tree that had fallen into the road, shards of glass that threatened to burst a tire, or other pieces of debris scattered around, and started to clear them up. Soon, others joined them until there were flocks of people willing to help.

A crowd was gathered around a spindly tree trunk, and hoisted it up. They heaved it across the road until it was no longer blocked, and left it, abandoned on the pavement. As more and more people joined, the rubble was slowly cleared, and streams of golden light pierced through the veil of clouds. Gentle heat from the sun’s rays shone down on us, erupting from the glowing orb suspended in the sea of pure blue. A wave of calm washed over us.

Even though the storm had been horrific, something good had come out of it: the town had come together as a community. Not only, had we restored our homes to their original states, but we had also discovered who we could rely upon, who wold help us, who we could consider friends. This had truly proven that every cloud has a silver lining.