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Spring Contest (Prose) - Rain

 
 
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  #1  
Old 04-19-2009, 08:11 PM
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Default Spring Contest (Prose) - Rain


April Showers bring May flowers, What do Mayflowers bring?

Our prose theme for this Spring is Rain.
You can love it, hate it, get caught in it, or any number of things! Have fun, get wet, tell us a rainy story!

* * *
Entries:

Members are allowed one entry in the prose contest. (You are welcome to enter our poetry contest as well.) Prose entries should be submitted as posts to this thread. The competition is open to all members of Writer’s Beat, including staff.

Members are requested to refrain from commenting on entries in this posting thread. Please use the Prose Contest: Rain – Comments thread instead. That thread will remain open throughout the posting period and afterwards, and members are encouraged to let entrants know what they thought of their entries.

Word Limits:

Fiction: 2,000 words maximum

Edits:

Once an entry has been submitted, it cannot be altered. Any work that is edited after it has been entered will be disqualified. If you feel you need to make a small alteration (a misplaced comma, a spelling error), contact a member of staff. If we feel your request is reasonable, we will make the correction on your behalf.

Close Date:

15th June 2009, 12 midnight GMT

Judging:

Winners will be selected by means of a public poll, so you, the members of Writer’s Beat, will choose the winners.

After the closing date, a voting thread will be posted. Voting will commence on the 16th of June and close on the 27th of June 2009, 12 midnight GMT.

* * *
Recognition:
The winning entries will be considered for publication in Writer'sBeat Quarterly, subject to the approval of the editors. To increase your chances of getting published (whether you win or not), make sure your document is as error-free as possible!

Also, the member (or tying members) with the most votes will get to choose the next contest theme!

* * *

If you have any questions about the contest, contact a staff member and we will happily answer them for you. Now sharpen your pencils and your wits and get writing. Good Luck!

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  #2  
Old 05-21-2009, 07:00 AM
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This isn't for voting on, but I just wanted to write something quick to get the ball rolling and everyone in the rain-themed spirit!


Mushroom

I didn’t think that it looked like a mushroom. I had heard at one time that if you can actually see it, you’d be dead. Well, I saw it, I’m not dead, and I don’t think that it looked like a mushroom.

The power was knocked out immediately. The blast was hard enough to shake my house and knock a couple of my pictures frames off of the bookcase. The windows shook so violently that I thought they were going to shatter.

I wasn’t in an earthquake zone, so I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I looked out of the window. Neighbors had already begun to exit their homes in that “there was just a car crash on the street” kind of way. It wasn’t automobiles that did it, though.

The sky was red, (and not that pretty sunset red), and the flames were seen in the distance.

After that, outside communication had pretty much ceased. We had thought at one point it only hit about 30 miles away.

***

That was three days ago, although it feels like an eternity. I’m sure, though, that my small population 500 town hadn’t felt the effects as greatly as some other cities have. Twenty-eight were hit in North America. That’s what the radio says, at least. The hardware store ran out of plastic wrap today. Plastic wrap, tarps, anything to try to seal the windows and doors were finally all used up. I bought as much as I could and gave the rest to my neighbor.

I look out the window now, and I can see the clouds off in the distance. I can see lightning with them too. Normally, I would welcome a nice thunderstorm. I’m too scared now. So, I just sit here in my house, waiting for the nuclear rain to start.
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  #3  
Old 06-04-2009, 09:56 AM
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Only A Little Rain.

Hermez, with his disheveled black hair stumbled out of the door of a two story suburban home. He held his head in one hand and a pack of cool-Z cigarettes in his other. He took the three steps in front of him one by one. Each step banged his head with more pain. Only when he made it to the bottom, still feet away from the yards entrance was he aware of the slicing cold that pinched him everywhere not covered by his small leather coat.

Hermez tried to pull out his cigarettes, grab a lighter and take out his cell phone all at once. They all fell to the floor. Shaking , Hermez bent down and scooped up his things. It was kind of dark outside; he barely saw his stuff on the pavement. The outside of his cell phone read 6:00 am. Hermez looked up. He only caught a glimpse of the darkened grey sky before a shot of pain snapped his head back down toward the earth.

Hermez sat down on the ground quite involuntarily and focused on lighting his cigarette. He pulled the long brown cylinder from its black pack. He fumbled in his jacket pocket which was full of change and scraps till he felt the hard metal and smooth yellow plastic. He stuck the cigarette in his mouth. Hermez held up his soft yellow hand, a roof to shield the flame from the dagger like wind.

*Flick...flick... flick*

The wind knocked away the spark till Hermez was lucky enough for the flame to ignite his cigarette. His first puff mirrored a single drop of rain that fell on his extended hand. The head pain was still there, but new thoughts fell on his mind. “I was so stupid for going to that party.” He would have told himself if a cigarette wasn’t stuck between his lips. The night before Hermez had showed up to the party with his cousins from college. More drops dripped from the sky. The polka dotted pavement in front of him silhouetted into one dark tone. The rain of course hit him.

That night of the party, immediately upon arrival his cousins dipped on him, each roached into different directions as fast as they could. Hermez didn’t know any of these people, so he when he arrived at the party he sat on the couch by himself. He grabbed a beer, popped it open and sipped it. He knew his first taste of alcohol would be bad. He was no fool. At least then he thought he wasn’t.
Hermez watched the drops of water create little pools in the dirt next to the sidewalk. He knew he watched the rain with his trademark expressionless stare. The same stare he used to browse the other party goes that night. Random thoughts raced through his head when he sat by himself at that party. He wanted to go home, but he had also wanted not to waste his time out of the house. When he was on the couch a girl popped in front of him.

A drop of rain splashed Hermez in the eye. Hermez squinted hard to rid himself of it. He thought of the girl and the first image he had of her, her chubby cheeks formed a smile as she looked down at him. He didn’t really see her as his type. She had really long black curled hair. That was kinda sexy, but her makeup made her look like a doll and she was on the heavy side. Hermez didn’t really dig fat chicks, but she sat down and said something to him. She asked him his name and she said hers. She told him where she worked, a call center. He told her what high school he had just graduated from and where he was going. She offered to get them something to drink. How could he turn it down?

The rain felt too heavy to hold his head up. Hermez let the water push his head down. He let the rain make it’s river on his head, it’s waterfall stung his eyes. The night of the party he drunk what was in the glass in front of him in appliance. She talked and he listened. Hermez's memory wasn’t too keen after that, but he remembered at least her leading him to a bedroom upstairs. He remembered the rest too, just not in much detail. He was supposed to be happy to have his skin inside of a girl, but it all felt mechanical. Afterwards he laid staring at the mostly dark ceiling thinking the same thing he thought now, How could I have been so stupid?

Hermez wanted to lay down and go to sleep in the rain. He didn’t really feel it anymore. The damp chill merely an afterthought. Sex was supposed to be this wonderful thing that he was supposed to be excited about, but he felt like he thought he would have felt if he ever believed in Santa and had that myth ruined for him. What’s the point of life? Would everything else be this drear?
The rushing sound of falling rain melted into the ambiance. The rain became white in its fullness of everything around him. Now he could barely see anything in front of him except more and more floods of rain. Hermez stood up from the pool he sat in. Gorges of water splashed out that was held up in his jeans.
“Fuck!” Hermez gritted threw his teeth.

He lifted up the left leg of his pants. His white socks got stained with the blue that bled off of his jeans. The water was washing the color from his pants away. Hermez took out the cigarette and, with his middle finger flicked it into a stream of water. The cigarette made an invisible splash. The rain was much too thick to single out and any rising or falling water. The cigarette dipped down into the water head first, extinguishing it’s light. It then bobbed back up and fell over. The water which was streaming in some direction took the cigarette out of sight and out of mind.

“I gotta get to work.” Hermez shivered.

He pulled his frozen hands inside his coat and walked however long it took in the rain to find a bus stop.
  #4  
Old 06-10-2009, 12:06 PM
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BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

I groaned and hit my alarm-clock with a tad too much enthusiasm. The glass of water I had put on the nightstand went flying. Water everywhere.

I don't think I've ever gotten up that quickly, but I had to save my phone. The phone that contained a text from Jason. Jason! In the process of getting up faster than physically possible, I stubbed my toe. Hard.

Why not? What else could have happened to start the day in a better way?

Heh, what do you know - that rhymes.

I looked down at the puddle that had formed over and under the nightstand, and even though I knew I would regret it later, I decided to leave it be. My toe was more important.

Quickly glancing through the window, I judged the weather to be good enough to put on my new white shirt.

Bad mistake.

While I limped my way to school - I'd slipped on the water puddle I hadn't cleaned up when I walked towards the door, and stubbed my toe again. Not something you want to try at home, kids - God had decided it would be fun to put the Earth under a giant waterfall.

Long live white shirts and no jackets.

After stubbing my head against the corner of my desk several times while I grabbed something from my bag, and receiving a volleyball on the tips of my fingers and my nose several times, the school day was finally over.

It was still pouring, of course, and all I could do to keep just a little dignity was to walk around cross-armed like some sort of moron.

Then, suddenly, there he was.

Jason.

Why now? Why like this? Why in the pouring rain? Why on the one day everything goes wrong? Oh, well. I guess I can take that, too. One more thing going wrong won't hurt me that much, will it?

He walked up to me.

He was going to make fun of me and my shirt. I was sure of it. How could he not? I would have.

Except he didn't.

He didn't say anything. He calmly walked up to me, and hung his jacket over my shoulders.

I couldn't believe it.

I don't think I've ever been as thankful for a jacket as I was right then.

Sure, it was too late. Sure, the entire school had seen through me. But still.

"You must be freezing," he said, and he pulled me into a hug.

That was the best day ever.

Last edited by HoiLei; 06-16-2009 at 02:27 PM.. Reason: fix single typo, per Ilseum's request
  #5  
Old 06-12-2009, 04:25 PM
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Default It was a rainy day.

*Note - Slightly experimental structure - arbitrary construction at times, but only in a sincere attempt to make the narrative more effective. Thanks.




It was a rainy day. And we all know what they say about a rainy day. They say –


‘You should always save your money for a rainy day!’



But despite these wise words, Mr. O’Rourke proceeded to defy them.

It was a strange incident.

The rain was spitting from the sky - so vigorouslyin fact - that one would have thought the clouds were showing their utter contempt for the soil below. Against all sorts of objects and buildings, the rain collided with such powerful force! A bus shelter – SPLISH. The concrete pavement – SPLASH. The shop windows – SPLOSH. The spray and foam glittered the wet streets. The rain was so heavy and so constant, that it even darkened the vision of all the unfortunate people who were caught up in it.

Perpetual rain darkly muttering.

Behind a dripping glass window, Mr. O’Rourke sighed slightly. He wished for no rain. He wished it would be sunny, so so sunny, with rays which would soothe the skin. But instead, this perpetual watery weather continued. In rainy Dublin.

The problem was that the young, rash Mr. O’Rourke had to cross the street. Only from the door of his flat to the post office opposite! The more he thought of the ridiculous predicament, the more and more agitated he became. The money must be sent today or else he wouldn’t receive the clothing he ordered earlier!

But Mr. O’Rourke detested the rain. It pained him greatly to feel even the gentle pitter-patter of a drizzly day fall softly on his face. He complained that the sensation of the rain against his skin hurt him.

“It injures me.” He protested to himself.

People scorned and laughed, tacitly implying he was a little bit too over-sensitive.

“A real hypochondriac.” They protested amongst themselves.

It was Dublin after all. If Mr. O’Rourke abhors the wet weather so much, they suggested, then he should evade the rain by moving to Spain.

But he did not even entertain the remarks made by the fools who spoke about him. Besides, he had only recently acquired the most enviable and sought-after of apartments – right in the centre of the commercial district!

People were green with envy! You could see it in their eyes. Their green, green eyes!

Nervously, he paced the floor of his small (but fantastically located) apartment. Every seven seconds or so, he contracted his eyes into beady concentration, and scrupulously watched every rain drop fall. Allergy to the rain? Unheard of!

He itched his perfectly oiled hair. Agitation.

Breathe!

A breath of damp air was inhaled. It injected a large dose of confidence and a degree of self-belief into the veins of the nervous, well-groomed youth.

He approached the door. Twisted the handle. EEEEEK. Oil need for that hinge. Step by step, slowly descending the staircase. A dull bass sound resounded the narrow landing. The music of his clunking feet was foreboding to say the least. Sweat. Streaming down the temple similarly to how a snake moves. Silence. Yes, he had the letter (cash customarily enclosed) clamped in his hand. He was there. The large mahogany door which led out onto the street before him. Shadowy, how odd.

SPLISH, SPLASH, SPLOSH. The battering rain and the sweeping wind incessantly ravaged the outside of the door. He could hear it. The savage water threatening him with rude, foul gestures.

“OK. Only one way to go about this”, he told himself encouragingly. “Run and be rapid O’Rourke!”

Bolting forward in a fumbling ecstasy, the brigade charged behind roaring. He straightened his face with determination and strength; courage seized him by the hand – in unison they flew.

The door flung open. Twenty yards remaining.

“AAAAAAHHHHH” Screamed O’Rourke. The initial searing pain morphed into a spurring encouragement. Rage and anger flooded his eyes and soul (he was usually a very level headed young man! He was famously unobtrusive, preferring to keep his pale, feeble self to his feeble, pale self.). What on earth had come over Mr. O’Rourke?

Ten yards! Ten yards till the guaranteed acquisition of all his expensive clothing! With rare athleticism and extraordinary dexterity (never before revealed by the fellow), he chased his goal with grit. The Post box stood erect and distinct – a shining image of masculinity piercing the skies above. He never once wavered from his course. The knight in broken armour. He battled resolutely with his fiercest enemy.

Two yards. A gust of wind bellowed. The force struck O’Rourke hard. In what seemed like an eternity, he saw his goal dissipating before him. The sudden gust punched him powerfully on the shoulder. He saw himself fall – he knew his fate – to be swallowed by the murky puddles below. A flash of the warm glow of the streetlight above. The constant rain spat on his face.

Smashed to the floor. Our broken-hearted hero of the commercial world – defeated in one fell swoop. In one deft blow from the lips of ancient Aeolus. The match was never fitting.

Gurgling, unable to raise himself, O’Rourke decided to let loose the reins of his relentless chase. He cursed his ineptitude.

He knew he would never receive those damn clothes.
  #6  
Old 06-13-2009, 04:27 AM
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Spring Rain

Within the falling droplets of a morning rain, we cry, hide my pain from those who gather. Those who feed on others’ suffering. She; my one love, stands to the side, out of reach for the first time in ‘our’ life. Secured behind a wall of stoic silence we watch as trains arrive and depart. A city of motion. Murmurs of strangers fill the in-betweens.

It hasn’t been easy for her. I am not the easiest man to love and passion never lets you go completely, it soaks you to the bone, chillingly so. We bore will bare the scars.

The train arrives; on time for once, and she steps on without looking back. I listen as the metal doors slide shut, too afraid to look. The screech of metal wheels in motion lets me know she is left. Too late I look up, wave goodbye.

But we are gone now.

Tears pour freely now and within a ragged sob I feel myself staggering, falling to my knees. Other watch, hungry vultures, camera ready to electronically capture my sorrow, pasted it on the net, give this cold world a smile.

We matter not.

Spring’s rains hold no life, instead just washes her lingering scent away.

Last edited by HoiLei; 06-13-2009 at 08:37 AM.. Reason: add title
  #7  
Old 06-14-2009, 01:49 PM
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Friday Rain

Today, another day. A cold wet Friday morning. The wind is howling at me in fury. The rain is so thick it looks like an ocean, populated with shoals of cars and where sharks have ringing blue sirens. The whales soak you to the bone as they drive past, straight through the puddle called a road.

A lonely church bell rings solemnly somewhere behind this blanket of rain. A blanket that is neither warm nor nice. Just wet, cold and above all it is miserable to the very core. I try to glance at my watch, but it is futile, but habits die hard, even when it lies shattered on the ground. At first sparks danced across it as the last of the battery discharged, that was a little before the 7:30 bell, some two hours ago, I think.

So here I sit, waiting, staring out at the drenching rain, on a Friday morning. One would think they would have come by now. I could understand if there was a little delay, but not two hours. What can I do but stay and wait some more, for today I found out that it is time for a new beginning, and so I wait.

There is not much I can do. The pub at the corner is not yet open and I don’t feel like buying a paper in the newsagent. Even if there was something interesting to read the paper would turn into just so much papier-mâché the moment I stepped out the door to cross the road. What if they came while I was in the newsagent?

This reminds me of those old white and black films, where the hero is a drunkard with a failing relationship chased by gangsters if he’s a detective or by the coppers if he’s a gangster. Either way the hero is at rock bottom and ends up standing in the rain, waiting for somebody. Smoking a cigarette as the rain pours on. After all I am wearing a trench coat and waiting, though there the similarity ends. I have neither a cigarette nor a failing relationship, I don’t even drink. Not since I was 21 and had my stomach pumped, that’s a night I won’t forget in a hurry, it was raining then as well, though compared to today that was a light drizzle.

What would I have thought if I knew then how everything turned out? Cold and absolutely wet, waiting for the end, after a life that was not really worth living, with nothing to dream for anymore. A disappointment on all fronts, like a bad film, again.
Excepted this film is not a film – it is my life, in all its glory; waiting in the rain for a new beginning, a beginning that is two hours late so far.

I’m not sure if I am really looking forward to what is ahead. The new beginning that the Father taught us; or the end we were warned against. It all seems a bit removed from reality, though the change of scenery might be nice. Then again what is wrong with here, apart from the rain, and the constant glances over the shoulder. Those days are over, but habits die hard, even with the promises of a fresh start. In a place where all my mistakes are discounted, where I am loved for who I am not how much money I can pay or earn. A place where there is no rain; drenching me to the bone. I just hope they have a good pie and some proper chips there.

It is funny how when you are young they don’t tell you that when you get old you can no longer keep up, the running, the constant uncertainty, and the fear. But what is one to do? After all an education is not something one could get in those days, not unless your dad was one of those rich folk that have a house with more rooms than other people have spoons. So one took any job one could, the local grocery store or the slaughterhouse, then one day one runs another errand, earned a few more notes, until one ends up one Friday morning in the rain.

I hear the echo of another bell, another quarter hour gone and still I wait. I am beginning to wonder if anybody will turn up, surely somebody wants my soul. It is the last thing I own. Neither demons from hell nor angels have come to claim me. What a mess I made of my life, poor Julia.

Headlights sweep past, briefly illuminating me as I sit and wait, soaked to the bone. At least the red stains have been washed away, and all the dirt and grime of so many years, yet still I wait for the new beginning, the afterlife, and nobody has turned up on this rainy Friday, not even to clean up my dead body. God what did I pay my tax for? They can’t just leave my body here.

Then again they have left me waiting in the rain all morning.
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:35 PM
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Default Rain of Revenge (some violence)

The man in the black raincoat disappeared into the poorly lit alley. The rain masked my footsteps, but I still hung back as a precaution. This time it is different. I cannot just run up and cut the man's throat. He was probably as guilty as all the others, but he is the only connection I have to my target. I took a quick look around the corner. Black Raincoat was meeting with my target Colin Reed. Colin wore his baseball cap low and was gesturing to the man I'd been following. Colin was the last one on the list.

I haven't been Johnny Blake ever since I made the list. I suppose I saved Colin for last, because he was the shooter who killed my wife and son. I would have died, if it wasn't for my late trip to the grocery store. A person never harbors the thought that getting a gallon of milk could save their life. It was a hit, pure and simple. As a P.I. I investigated Colin for fraud and wrongful death of his business partner. My client was his business partner's family, but they've gone the way of Colin's partner. Colin wiped out everyone around me after making a couple attempts on my life. I snapped after burying my wife and son. They were the reason for the list. Jimmy Morris was the first name on the list. I had such rage. I recall stabbing him over and over. The others were not as memorable. I only remembering burning my clothes and taking the revolver in my pocket. Revenge takes a toll on a person.

While Colin and Black Raincoat were engaged in conversation I walked around the corner. It was raining harder now. I could be running and they wouldn't hear me over the rain pounding on the metal dumpster. Colin is getting angry now, pulling out a knife. Colin plunged it into Black Raincoat's chest. I pulled out my revolver stopping almost on top of Colin. Colin looked up after pulling his knife from its victim's chest. Colin, viewing the gun, dropped the knife quickly and held up his empty hands.
"Remember my family?", I asked Colin.
"You're the private investigator with the wife and kid," answered Colin. "I should have waited till you got home, but your wife and brat's screams were probably heard by somebody".
I tightened the grip on the trigger feeling the revolver buck in my hand. Colin fell in a fetal position grabbing his now bloody knee. I felt the gun buck again and watched as the impact tore up the other knee. I don't remember kicking him, but I must have been doing it for awhile, because my leg was tired. I put the gun on Black Raincoat's body and watched as the hard rain worked to cleanse the bleeding bodies. I took out the list and watched the rain blur the ink on the soggy paper before throwing it down in the alley. I held up my arms letting the rain wash away my haunting memories, but as I suspected I would see many more rains before that happened.

*** I know I am disqualified, but I'd rather fix my errors than leave them in the story.

Last edited by ashlockusmc; 06-14-2009 at 04:32 PM.. Reason: too many errors
  #9  
Old 06-15-2009, 04:44 AM
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RAIN

I hated the rain.

I hadn’t always felt this way.

I vividly remember the day that I did.

It was August 23rd 2008 when everything changed.

I looked into the face of the man I had just punched. Blood was dripping from his nose, for his own part he was staring with an expression of disbelief at the blood present in the palm of his hand.

“Do I look like some cheap tart to you?” I asked rhetorically.

If I hadn’t been so angry I might have been incredulous that he was surprised. I had been sat at a table near the bar with one eye on the door while I waited for my friend Stella to arrive. That evening the two of us had planned to meet here for a couple of drinks before moving on to a nightclub just down the road. Consequently I had gone out that morning and bought myself a new red silk dress I had seen earlier that week when using the shopping centre as a shortcut to work.

He’d walked over and asked if I wanted to dance. If Stella hadn’t once again kept me waiting I would probably have declined his offer with a smile and the false promise to catch him later. As it was I had grown bored of sitting by myself. In any case I didn’t see the harm, as the pub was less than a mile from my flat, while I wasn’t exactly one of the regulars, I was confident that if anything untoward happened someone who knew me would step in to help.

As was the usual theme Friday night a corner of the pub was set aside for live bands and Bad Wolf, as they had chosen to name themselves, were performing a cover version of the Aerosmith song Crazy which as it happened was one of my personal favourites.

“My name’s Barry, what’s yours?” he leaned in and asked.

“Emma,” I said.

He leaned back and smiled at me, I just began to return his smile when I felt his hand slide what to me was an inch too far down the back of my dress.

“Don’t do that” I said.

He didn’t stop smiling as his hand continued sliding down my dress, and I felt his hand just begin to lift it up and touch my leg underneath. Taking a half step back I clenched my fist and lashed out, connecting sharply with the soft part of his nose and looking on with no small measure of satisfaction as the blood began to flow.

“Do I look like some cheap tart to you?” I said.

Without bothering to wait for a reply I paused just long enough to grab my handbag and leave the pub, fully intending to make my way to the nightclub and arrange for Stella to meet me there instead. I hadn’t realised it had begun to rain outside and it didn’t take more than a few seconds before my dress began to press into me like a second skin.

“Don’t be stupid Emma, come back inside,” a voice I recognised as belonging to Martin, one of the bar staff, shouted after me.

Realising he was probably right I began to turn round even as I heard the sound of running footsteps from behind me. A moment later the handbag I had been carrying across my right shoulder was torn free by an unseen hand, the owner of whom entered into sight as he carried on running down the street away from me.

On a different day I probably would have contented myself by turning the air blue in the direction of his departing back before going home and cancelling all my credit cards but I was still angry over what had just transpired back in the pub. Kicking off my high heeled shoes so I could run properly it was, I would come to suppose, likely that adrenaline played a part in me ignoring the sensation of my bare feet crashing against the wet pavement and through puddles as I tried to eat into the initial head start he had.

Roughly seventy yards down the street he looked back at me over his shoulder before cutting left into the local park. It couldn’t have been any more than five seconds later before I followed him in. He must have fallen over on the wet grass because he was seemingly waiting for me with a line of mud plastered on his trousers as we faced each other at a point just out of sight of the street. I had been so intent on trying to catch up with him and retrieve my handbag that the thought had never occurred to me he might be carrying a weapon such as the knife which he now held in his right hand.

He was breathing hard from the running he’d just been doing, and even through the rain I could see his face was flushed with anger. In a curious turn around I felt my feet rooted to the spot as he walked in my direction, the rain almost seeming to dance from the blade of the knife as he lifted it toward me.

In the days which were to follow my family and a large number of my friends were to visit this park and lay floral tributes at the place where I was to be found.

I hated the rain.

I hadn’t always felt this way.

I vividly remember the day that I did.

It was August 23rd 2008 when everything changed.

That was the day I died.

Last edited by HoiLei; 06-15-2009 at 01:10 PM.. Reason: Fix paragraph formatting
  #10  
Old 06-15-2009, 08:49 AM
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River Rising
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It wasn’t so much Richard’s story that did it. Nor was it how small, young and frightened Richy looked on the television, though both were definitely contributing factors. But what really did it – what really made Craig sink into his recliner and blink away hot tears of guilt and stinging tears of remorse – were Richy’s eyes.
Richy, only fourteen years of age or so, was going through school with Craig’s son, Stephen. Craig had seen him fairly regularly around the small town of Lucinda. Like most little communities, all the adults invariably ended up watching all the children grow up. Richy had always been the kind of boy that cradled a little spark in his eyes. Whether it was a spark of mischief or a spark of plain inquisition, Craig had been waiting to see.
But in the exclusive interview conducted by the local news station, Richy’s eyes held no spark. They were flat. Dull.
The spark had fizzled, washed away in the storm.

***

Richard’s gaze drifted across the swollen river that ran only a few metres from their cubby house. Light rain dimpled the surface of the water in a fashion that was almost hypnotic on its wide surface. The river must have been about thirty metres from bank to bank – and God only knew how far it ran, Richard thought. He liked the idea that it ran from one side of Australia to the other, connecting the oceans on both sides right next to their cubby. Even though he knew that wasn’t the case.
‘It’s a beautiful river,’ he said.
‘Dude, don’t be gay,’ remarked Andy. He was propped up on a cushion, resting against the wooden wall of the cramped cubby house. Lachlan was sitting opposite him on a cushion of his own, and now chuckling at the remarkable wit of Andy.
‘It is,’ Richard continued, looking out the one opening in the shack. It went from floor to roof and gained them entry from a metre-high, splintering timber ladder. ‘Look at it!’
‘Alright alright, it’s beautiful,’ Andy replied. He fumbled in his pockets and bought out a packet of Marlboro Lights. ‘Wanna see something even more beautiful?’
‘Shit, dude! How’d you get them?’ asked Lachlan, eyes widening behind his glasses.
‘I know the right peoples, son,’ Andy said.
‘Your brother,’ said Richard. It wasn’t a question.
‘Perhaps.’
A loud clap of thunder snapped the air around them, catching the attention of all three boys. The rain raised its intensity, roaring as it pounded the tin roof above them. Richard was glad the cubby house had been built properly by his father at times like these. No telling how it would have turned out if Andy had have done the work like he’d suggested.
We’d be swimming in the river by now.
The thought brought a smile to his face.
‘Ya know, maybe spending the night in the cubby house isn’t such a good idea,’ Lachlan said. ‘I mean, just not tonight.’ He was wearing the worried expression Richy had seen on his mother’s face every time he was home late.
‘Don’t be a chickenshit,’ Andy snapped. ‘We’re not going to get the chance again for ages.’
Lachlan looked ready to reply, and then backed down. Probably knew Andy was right.
Richy and Lachlan had both told their parents they were sleeping over Andy’s. Andy’s parents were out of town. It was finally the night where no parents could interfere with their plans to sleep in the cubby.
The cubby had been constructed a few hundred metres into bushland, in order to have some seclusion and be close to the river so they could fish from the door. Not a lot of fishing went on, but having the river near by was sweet.
Richard sat down against the remaining empty wall opposite the entry, forming a triangle with Andy and Lachlan. Lachlan was still looking nervous. Andy had put a cigarette in his mouth and was unsuccessfully striking a lighter. It was obvious he hadn’t done much smoking. Finally, it fired it up and he choked back a small cough. With the cigarette positioned awkwardly in his hand, he sighed. ‘I’ve been hanging out for that.’
The roar on the roof raised its volume.
Surely it can’t get any heavier, Richard thought.
Lachlan’s eyes were fixated out the door. Andy took another draw on his cigarette and smiled. He picked up the bundle of Lachlan’s sleeping bag and threw it at his chest, making Lachlan flinch.
‘Get comfortable,’ said Andy with a cheeky, crooked grin.
Outside, the rain continued to fall with a ferocious intensity.

The boys were sitting in silence. Rain fell in a crescendo on the rooftop drowning out any hope of conversation. They were huddled against their respective walls of the cubby house, curled up in sleeping bags. The rain had stayed consistently heavy for three hours. The last of the daylight had crept out unusually early under a heavy layer of clouds, pitching the cubby in darkness.
Andy had quickly set the gas burner up and Richard propped a board in front of it to stop the spray from the rain. Having the gentle glow in the cabin had helped eased tension from the darkness, but the expression on all three faces was still nervous. The cubby squeaked, cracked and groaned against the tirade of water and wind. Even Andy seemed to be having doubts about how good of an idea staying in the cabin was.
‘When’s it going to pass?’ yelled Lachlan.
A leak had sprung in the roof and water trickled down into a corner of the cubby, forcing Andy and Richard to scurry apart to escape it. Nobody had thought to bring a bucket, and the drips slowly became a puddle that spread across the floor.
‘Soon,’ yelled back Andy.
‘I don’t think so, man,’ Richard added. He got to his feet and walked to the side of the door that wasn’t getting completely hammered with rain. Little flecks of water still smashed off the wooden frame and sprayed him with an icy chill. ‘This rain looks set in.’
Lachlan said something incoherently under the noise. He realised the other two couldn’t hear him and crawled in between Richard and Andy. ‘What are we going to do if it doesn’t stop?’
‘Well it’ll stop eventually,’ Richard assured him.
‘What if it doesn’t? What if this cubby breaks apart? We’ll be fucked!’
‘Well, it won’t –’
‘Shut up, Lachlan!’ Andy interrupted. ‘Far out, man. There’s nothing we can do now, okay? So just shut it.’
Lachlan looked stunned. It was like Andy had slapped him. ‘Fuck you, Andy! This was your stupid idea! Now we’re stuck up here!’
‘If you want to leave, then just leave!’ Andy snapped, grabbing Lachlan by the shirt. ‘But don’t be a pussy if you’re gonna stay!’
Lachlan snatched at Andy’s throat and got a good hand on him causing Andy to cough and choke. Richard’s hand quickly found each of their chests and pushed them apart.
‘Look, both of you just chill out, right?’ Richard snapped. ‘If we’re going to be stuck in some small friggin’ cabin, let’s not try and kill each other. Nobody’s going nowhere. Walking through the scrub in the dark and rain would just be stupid.’
Lachlan and Andy both slumped down.
They were both sulking, but at least they weren’t fighting, Richard thought.
Part of him was secretly satisfied with the sense of authority he had suddenly wielded. It was like something his father would do when he and his brother were getting stuck into each other.
Thunder boomed so close that it shook the cabin. The air seemed to vibrate. A suddenly intense blast of wind slammed the walls and the whole cubby swayed. Another bright flash pierced the night sky, a fork of lightning stabbing the ground on the other side of the river, then splitting the air with thunder. All three boys hit the ground, gripping sleeping bags and shutting their eyes.
‘We’re going to die out here!’ screamed Lachlan. Nobody responded.
The cubby was swaying heavily. In fact, Richard had never felt it sway like this before. The thought made his stomach sink.
Somewhere outside the walls of the cubby, there was a noise of timber cracking. And then another pop. The swaying of the cubby increased again.
‘Was that the cubby?’ Andy yelled.
‘I hope not! Oh, man! What are we doing out here!’ screamed Lachlan, cords sticking out in his neck.
‘We have to bail,’ Richard said, his voice becoming solemn. It was going to be hell to get out of here.
‘In this?’ Lachlan queried.
‘You want to stay?’
Lachlan said nothing.
Richard walked to the door and looked out. Darkness. He snatched a torch up and shone it out at the ladder. Rain was hitting the water so hard it seemed to boil.
For a moment he was fascinated by the effect. And then his heart died in his chest. What was water doing all the way up at the ladder . . .? ‘Oh, shit.’
‘What?’ asked Andy.
‘No bad news, Richie. Please, no bad news,’ whined Lachlan.
Richard just stared. The water was up to the third rung. It appeared to be moving. But surely the river never ran that fast. Did it? He wished he could see behind the cabin. But to do that meant climbing down the ladder.
We should have put an opening in the back!, he thought.
His heart was now screaming at a thousand beats a minute.
He turned back to Andy and Lachlan on shaky legs. They looked like deer in headlights.
‘Well?’ Andy prompted.
Richard paused. This wasn’t going to be pretty. ‘We’re part of the river.’
‘We’re what!’ screamed Lachlan.
‘We’re part of the –’
A strong gust of wind threw itself against the cubby, shaking it with unprecedented ferocity. Rain slapped against the timber boards, which squeaked and groaned like the joints in a knee that had worn away its cartilage.
‘Shit!’ yelled Lachlan, but it went unheard by the other two boys under the commotion of the storm.

***

The night of the storm and flash floods haunted Craig for years. It was a good night in those first six months when he didn’t wake up screaming, the bed moist with sweat. It was like the image of the cubby house swaying in the breeze was imprinted underneath his eyelids, fleeting before his eyes every time he closed them.
His modest house was nestled into the mountain, no more than a few hundred metres from the cubby. On that tragic night, he had been sitting on his dark porch; listening to the rain hammer against the roof and watching it make the river swell like beaten flesh.
He studied the cubby house as it rocked and swayed in the rain. He had called his son Stephen to the veranda to watch.
‘That cubby’s taking a thrashing, Steve,’ he said, motioning in its direction. His son had the eager look of a small boy about to watch something get wrecked. Craig smiled at him, remembering when he as a boy had helped his father smash the walls of a house he was renovating.
There’s just something about destruction that pleases boys, he thought.
The two of them sat there for half an hour, watching the cubby get lacerated by strong winds and slicing rain. Finally, one of the legs gave way and the cubby crumpled in on itself, fragment and then spread out into debris in the swollen river.
Craig and Steve had cheered.
The power of Mother Nature, Stevey,’ said Craig.
The poor boys are going to have to rebuild, he thought.

Three days later, and two days after the deceased bodies of Lachlan and Andy were found, Richard told his story of survival to the nation. Craig wept, and not just with sorrow.

Last edited by HoiLei; 06-15-2009 at 01:19 PM.. Reason: Fix a word
  #11  
Old 06-15-2009, 10:06 AM
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Requiem for Rain

Like emperor penguins we shuffled forward—past fog-breathing vendors, the fishmongers and steaming artesian bread. Cum resurget creatura—all creation awakened to the silver light of day slanting through the market. In the cold, soft rain I drifted, right into the warm crush of strangers. I was oblivious to jars of native honey, and didn’t give much thought to the apple butter or quirky, outside art either. Scented flowers held no lure.

With a flourish, a street violinist summoned forth some jazz fusion then deftly coaxed it into a capricious tango. The music was stronger than espresso. I listened as the tango reverberated off the walls; it consecrated the olive oil and fermented Chinese cabbages, found the recesses of soft shell crabs and cleaved right through a rime crusted memento mori. A tear I didn’t remember shedding leaked into my mouth. Lacrymosa dies illa—tearful was the day. Must have been the cold; the way he melted my cold, cold heart and claimed me, spine and soul like a deconstructed spoil of war.

He played a wolf whistle on the strings for a pretty girl and everyone laughed, all those complicit strangers who fell easily into each other's company. Militat omnis amans—every lover is a soldier, fighting for the territory between heart and soul. We armor up, make our treaties, and give our pound of flesh.

***
Tourists flanked a hostess to taste little spoon offerings that wouldn’t blunt the appetite of a doll. Not enough heat in the cioppino at any rate.
“Excuse me,” I murmured, before working my way through the crowd, squeezing under a talcum-scented armpit in search of air.
I ended up at the front of a demonstration on how to dress a free range chicken. The chef looked like Julia Childs returned from the grave. God does love a good joke.
  • Pluck the area free of feathers from the top of the breast to the bottom of the breast.
  • Cut the skin along the path of the breast bone. You can spread the skin out with your hand and cut the tight skin, this will make the process much easier.
  • Once you get the skin loose begin pulling it away from the breast toward the wings. Push the skin as far down as possible. You are merely pulling all the skin away from the breast.
  • You will notice the skin falling away from the breast bone.
  • Once the breast is free of the rib cage you will need to cut around the wing joint.
  • Once complete you have a nice clean fillet to process.

Unlike my gastrofarian betters, I’m no Maximus Decimus Meridius. I was ass up at the smack down again.

The doctor says it’s returned, just like Christmas, to re-gift me with the same two choices: invasive or non-invasive surgery. Libera me—deliver me.
It’s just a breast, I say to myself, and walk back out into the rain.



  #12  
Old 06-15-2009, 02:38 PM
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Default Terms of Surrender

Statuesque against the black sky, the Aeromancer held his fragile frame amid the maelstrom of elemental rage that dominated the mountainside. Arcs of static electricity leapt from invisible friction in the air before him, penetrating his flesh and cleansing his body until his mind was at one with the building chaos that rumbled in the pregnant sky before him.

Any other figure so frail would blow from the mountain with the first gentle breeze, but not this figure, and not today. The storm had looked into the man, and he too had seen within the eye of the storm. It saw in man its own chaos reflected back; ungovernable, raw and without master. Its power no longer to be contained, but harnessed, by this last man, of the last line of men who had ever understood the nature of such things.

Far below, in the valleys of Beriah, Yetzirah, Assiya and Azilut, the darkness of man’s heart was everywhere evident and manifest in all things. Its malice turning brother upon brother and father against son in a deranged myopia that had torn humanity’s very soul asunder and blinded him to the truth of his existence by the exclusion of nature’s harmony from his own abbreviated reality.

Too long had the land been deprived of the cleansing rain. Too long had the dark half held sway.



Deep in the rock valley of Yetzirah, General Braethur nodded to the Standard bearer and watched the Allied crest fall to the ground against the thick swirling gloom of the black sky. In the distance, he saw his infantry front line collapse from it's charge into a confused and messy standstill, and spurred on by such apparent cowardice, the ten-thousand-strong writhing swarm of the northern hordes continued it's advance across the black volcanic ash, only a few minutes from engaging the now ill prepared Allied infantry.

"General, we appear to have ceased the charge...” The subordinate barely managed to mask his insolent tone. “...your orders?"

"None. Maintain your position."

"Sir, with respect, the enemy will overwhelm the entire regiment. We have mounted Reivers on the west embankment, a flanking maneuver would-"

"Stand down Captain. We have no need of cavalry."

The general eyed the field. Their long planned strategy, now abandoned at the pivotal moment would leave the battle-wise among the troops fearing treachery in the upper ranks. Only Braethur knew the truth. The battle was over for him. He closed his eyes and opened his mind to the dense and foreboding sky above.

The troops at Yetzirah are in place, Marcelina. Both armies are in the field. The rest I leave to you.



Marcelina heard her cohorts words echo across space to materialize in her mind. She began to formulate a reply but was drawn from her thoughts by a fifth wraith crossing the slipstream behind her and closing in to attack. Four she could hold off, but now she needed help.

Command, this is Marcelina. I have five sky wraiths closing and holding attach formation. Sending co-ordinates...

The ear splitting howl of the ground to air mana cannons confirmed that her message was received a split second before the plasma flash detonated behind her and picked off three of the attackers with the opening volley. Marcelina checked her shoulder.

Don’t worry about the other two, they’re too close, I can hold them off long enough to launch... Moving in to neutralize the Assiyah district Central Shield Station...

Behind her the last two Wraiths closed in, weapons ready.

“Ground, this is Sky Wraith six, Allied craft is approaching on a direct attack vector for the Shield Station, request repeat confirmation that shields are operative...”

“Wraith six, this is ground with a repeat confirmation, shields are in place...”

The Wraiths kept the pressure on, still trying to figure out what a lone, allied craft was doing on a suicide mission into the heaviest occupied territory in the New World to attack a command post which had shield defenses fit to hold off an entire fleet.

The proximity alarm sounded, and Marcelina watched the pink speck flash in confirmation on the console as the temple came within range. A moment later the soft blue glow of the mana incendiary launched from the base of the craft and descended for the Temple Shield Station.

“Ground! Payload is away! Not conventional warhead, I repeat, unidentified plasma based weapon, inbound. Four seconds to impact!”

Three...

The fighters fired on the rogue ship but could only watch as the pods ejection canopy slid away below the pilot seat and the occupant vanished into the night, speeding toward terminal velocity and the ground below.

Two...

The green all clear flashed twice in Marcelina’s right eye read-out, and an instant later her glide suit wings deployed.

One...

The two Wraiths that were descending after her shot past as her suit dug in to the drag, slowed her descent and sped her away west towards the retrieval zone.

Zero...

She glanced down to her right to see the ground below erupt in a blinding flash as the targeted section of the temple station was carved in two under the Etherial incendiary grenade.

Impact. The auxiliary command post shields are breached and the shield station is non operative. Repeat, all shields are down and the fleet is in the open... All yours Mujin...



The incursion alert sounded it’s shrill tone along the fifth floor hall of Central Command a moment before the distant rumble shook the glass of the building and confirmed, for once, that this was no drill. Officers, clerics and mess hall attendants left their stations and poured from every doorway, spilling into the corridor towards the main exit. A second explosion rang out, this time taking the main power with it as the halls fell into darkness, illuminated only by the feeble emergency lighting and the muddied gloom that broke through the rain sodden clouds outside. It hadn’t rained in as long as anybody could remember. But it would rain today.

Ira leapt from his post, his hands fumbling over the last intel transmissions as his feet cut a path across the escaping crowds and towards the Area Six sub level elevator. Shaking hand clutching the report, he corrected his jacket as he walked, smartened himself up.

It wasn’t his fault. It had been thirty years since anyone had seen etherial weaponry. Shields we’re not even rated for non-physical attacks anymore. Not since the Empire gained full tactical dominance. How could the Allies have harvested the energy? It didn’t matter, Ira told himself. The Empire still had technological superiority. The Allies might have reclaimed the Arcane Arts and breached the shields, but they had no way to coordinate an attack; no way to deliver a decisive blow... not as long as the Empire had the sky, not as long as the Viceroy remained in control- Ira was torn from his thoughts by the soft thud and excruciating pain of his windpipe folding in on itself. Hidden hands arrested his fall and dragged him, choking, into the shadows of the hallway. He felt the tip of a finger push just far enough into his eye socket to restrain his initial impulse to fight back.

“Card key.” A raspy, seemingly aged voice said.

Ira’s hand shot to his waist pocket and retrieved his bio key, an instant before an audible ‘crack’ sent his body limp and darkness swept the life from him.

Key secured. Moving to objective.

The figure stepped into the corridor and moved silently towards the lift under the flickering neon of the emergency lighting. He waved the biochip past the reader, moved inside and the doors slid smoothly shut behind him.

Viceroy Yemitso Zamyatin eyed the field display.

“Extend to six-one-nine...” He said to a nearby officer at a terminal. The screen flashed and spread wider showing the entire field of operations and a thousand cubits beyond in every direction.

“Switch to thermal.” The officer responded and a wave passed over the screen leaving it a dozen shades of red.

A small screen mounted at the Viceroy’s side flashed blue and flickered to life revealing the image of a florid, eager looking face.

“Viceroy. Do you have the report?” The face said urgently.

“We are awaiting it. When we know, you will know”

The man on the screen opened his mouth to say something else but was silenced as the viceroy reached out and folded the optic monitor shut, his gaze never leaving the map laid out before him.

He heard the soft hum of the mag-rail engage to stop the elevator behind him.

“Here he is now...”

The lift door opened and the two sentries had only enough time to aim before they were blinded along with everyone else in the room.

The Viceroy was barking his fourth order to the fifth subordinate by the time he realised all six of them were dead. As his eyes adjusted once more to the room, he saw the intruder stalking towards him, a blurred shadow.

“Sit down.” The intruder said, taking a seat himself at a control terminal. The viceroy did as he was told.

“Your can’t possibly hope to-”

“Shhh...” The intruder cut him off, his fingers dancing expertly across the input pane as he navigated through the system. A soothing female voice sounded from within the terminal.

“Accessing atmosphere regulation system. Grade one security required. Input retinal scan to confirm.”

“Time to do your duty for the new Republic, Viceroy.”

“If your grand strategy hangs upon me cooperating, you should have spent more time over it.”

“Fifteen seconds, Viceroy. I only need an eye. Whether or not it remains in your head I leave to you.”

“Fool. You can’t even conceive of what you ask of me. Have you any knowledge at all of Emperor Vamicharin?”

“I have no Emperor. Ten seconds...”

“I will never cooperate, do what you will.” The Viceroy spat.

The intruder unsheathed a serrated blade from a sheath upon his inner forearm and closed on the Viceroy, pinning him to the seat back by his throat as his other hand brought the knife towards his face.

“...wait.” The Viceroy strained against the arm holding him prone. “I said wait! ...I will cooperate...”
“No. No more time, Viceroy...”



The Aeromancer’s body lurched and twitched like an extension of the very storm itself. Seemingly suspended at the cliffs precipice, he convulsed now under each wave of blue fire that swept his body, burning through every nerve and synapse. His mind was almost lost to him; his consciousness exploding in a perpetual annihilation and rebirth of the natural force within. Somewhere deep inside, beyond the chaos, the Aeromancer heard a voice.

Objective secured. Empire has lost atmospheric control and advantage. The sky is ours.

Only the barest intention of the words formulated in his mind before the Aeromancer felt every cell in his body reverse polarity under the immense power vested within him. His body shook, and convulsed so violently as to contract every muscle to its extremity, until all tendons ripped themselves free off the charred and fused bones which were now dissipating along with his flesh into the very ether around him.

The fusion was complete. The Aeromancer was gone. He was at once no more, and yet evermore. He was nowhere and everywhere. He was the rain and it’s cleansing love. He was the storm and its raging fury.

The first drop of rain fell upon the mountain where the feeble dust of the Aeromancer’s body lay. It started slowly, but soon built to a deafening roar; the roar of a wild uncaged force of nature, echoing it’s intent into every valley below.

In the distance the eye of the storm moved against the wind. Slowly, surely inching towards it’s enemy, to bring itself to look upon the darkness below, and do its master’s will.
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Old 06-15-2009, 06:28 PM
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My colleagues and I first met the boy who could make it rain during the summer of 1985. The team, which consisted of doctoral students and a mentor, landed in Chad with the hopes of discovering a common ancestor between the more prominent indigenous tribes of the region.

At the time I was studying evolutionary biology at the University of Iowa and was becoming more disheartened with the lack of substantial research I was involved in. Hoping a stint in Africa under Dr. Tengali would reignite some spark inside me, I quickly hopped on board.

Be it fate or happenstance, we landed in Chad while it was entrenched in a civil war; a civil war that led us to seek refuge out of major cities for our own safety.

Our translator, whose name escapes me, led us to a small hut-village populated by the Mbole tribe. Our reception was more than welcoming. We were each given ceremonial cloth for the event that was to occur later that night. Traditionally, we understood events to be sacrifices, dances, or celebrations for deities so we expected bloodshed; what we saw I will never forget.

It was dusk, and the sun had not yet fully submerged under the horizon of the arid yet fertile landscape. As our group of clearly out-of-place outsiders and villagers convened, we were met with the leader standing on a platform as if ready to recite a monologue from Hamlet. The fire-lit stage was small and made from the trunks of the surrounding trees and when the 30 or so onlookers grew silent the tribal leader commanded his wife to fetch what we thought would be the sacrifice. Which is why when she emerged from a hut with a boy no older than seven years old, our group became uncomfortable and eager to voice protest. As he was led towards the stage with sunken and sad eyes, women of the village poured leaves and flower pedals over him. Chandra, who was sitting in front of me, asked Brett if they were going to kill the boy, but neither Brett nor any of us were familiar with this ceremony.

Our surprise came when the boy was seated front and center while two performers got up and started doing a slap-stick comedy routine. I would swear they were stealing content from an episode of The Three Stooges if they even had known what a television was. As the audience’s laughter grew and the performers endured more hilarious bouts of pain, the boy in the center cracked a smile and then began laughing hysterically. That was when the laughter stopped and all eyes were on the child. In the distance, the clear orange sky was darkened by the now ominous-gray cloud cover and the rumble of thunder. The ceremony was over, the tribe succeeded.

Naturally, our team was in bewilderment.

“This has to be a coincidence,” Brett exhaled in our tent as the rain outside leaked through the roof, “humans can’t change the weather. Even if this is an evolutionary change, they don’t happen this quickly.”

“Can we evolve out of necessity like this?” Chandra asked.

We had dig tools for the archaeological sites. We weren’t prepared or equipped to do the slightest bit of testing on the child or the environment. We could posit all night if we wanted too: above normal electromagnetic fields in the area, the meeting of different weather fronts, but none could be proven or even tested.

We stayed at the village for another two weeks and witnessed the ceremony twice more, and without fail the rain fell just as it had the first night. Our small group of skeptics was becoming uneasy believers. Then the Pende came.

The Pende and the Mbole were warring tribes that usually fought over livestock, but when the Pende came to hear that the Mbole village to the west had a boy that could make water fall from the sky they assaulted the village in full-force and kidnapped the child.

This wasn’t our fight; Hell, by all accounts we weren’t even supposed to be there, but we offered our help. Reluctantly, the Mbole leader allowed us to speak with the Pende tribe before the Mbole assembled for retaliation. With our translator, our group trekked the 7 miles to the Pende village that had the same structure and layout as the Mbole one. The leader promised us that the child was safe and well-fed but that the boy might be returned given his ability to produce rain. We returned to the Mbole empty handed and flustered. Then we left.

12 days behind schedule and running out on our welcome, we left. Most of us only accepted what we saw as unexplained scientific phenomena; Chandra was convinced it was a miracle while Brett remained the die-hard non-believer.

A week or so passed before we received news that during the Mbole retaliation, the small boy who could make it rain was killed. We never knew his name, so our group gave him one: Wamai, meaning ‘from the water’.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Chad; perhaps because I never found what I was looking for or maybe because I want to forget. The Mbole and the Pende will certainly not forget; they’re facing the longest drought in history.
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