The main character, or the protagonist, of the story is a Creole woman named Calixta. When the story begins, her husband, Bobinot, and her son, Bibi, are away from their house at the store, leaving Calixta home alone when a terrible storm breaks. Bobinot and Bibi seem a bit concerned about Calixta, afraid, perhaps, that she might worry needlessly and feel anxious about them given the storm's violence. Calixta, however, "felt no uneasiness for their safety"; her response to the storm contrasts sharply with what her family expects. It turns out that she behaves quite differently from what her husband might expect as well! When a former lover of Calixta's, Alcee Laballiere, asks if he can take shelter on her porch, he ends up coming in because the rain is driving and slashes underneath the roof. This introduces the conflict between Calixta and Alcee. As she and Alcee get closer, Calixta begins to become quite agitated all of a sudden, and, now for the complication, the
contact of her warm, palpitating body when he had unthinkingly drawn her into his arms, had aroused all the old-time infatuation and desire for her flesh.
Their mutual passion and apparent lust for one another leads to the climax, when her "breasts [...] gave themselves up in quivering ecstasy" and "he possessed her." In the conclusion, the storm moves on, Bobinot and Bibi return home without incident, and Alcee tells his wife to continue her stay out of town if she would like.