Haunted Rain

Submitted into Contest #34 in response to: Write a story about a rainy day spent indoors.... view prompt

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He sought out the rain as if it was nothing, a heavy rain beguiling a heavy heart. His soul craves enchantment and love, a tale that was not forthcoming of the poor and the unloved. Oh but he was both. The boy and the man he sees every day in the broken mirror that was barely hanging on his fainted wall.

The rain felt good on his skin and he wouldn’t trade it, not for the hundreds or thousands of words, promises brought upon by a wishful heart that believes in God and angels.

Once upon a time, he had a dream. He wanted to be someone. But time waits for no one, and neither does life nor destiny.

And now the memory of him basking in the open air, enjoying the breeze and raindrops on his skin feels like a lifetime away. Now, he had become just like the rest of them, a slave to the world and all it entails. He became yet another prisoner with his heart tied and buried deep in a chest meant for those whose wings were broken down by crashed hopes and tainted dreams. He doesn’t know if he could be someone other than a broken shell of the boy he used to be, the boy who stands in the rain no matter what the consequences, the boy who dreams, and the boy whose every step feels like a step closer to a journey the world deserves to know.

Now, he was alone, a man of solitude in the stillness and darkness of his prison room.

He seeks out a helping hand of comfort but no one would offer it. And so he stays, here in the barren house with fainted walls, cobwebs and broken mirrors, a house tainted with brilliant memories of a family filled with magic and dream come true, now all soiled and abandoned, the family long gone, the dreamer long dead but still breathing.

He became an artist, and brokenness became his inspiration.

“Tilt your head,” he said to the woman half covered in sheet and kneeling on his floor, her golden hair flowing like waves on her bare milk back.

“Like this?” the woman asks, obeying him.

“Yes, but a little more.”

“You know you have the talent. I don’t know why you settle for clients like me. If you want, the rich would offer hundred thousands for what you can do for them. Your hands, they’re a marvel. Your paintings are nothing museum arts could dare compare to.”

He huffs at her advice, his elbow raised to scratch his cheek, and she laughs when it leaves a dab of blue green on his tanned skin.

She was beautiful from the day she was born, they both know. And yet even her voice, as velvet as the song of the sparrow and the dove, has nothing to the sound of the rain falling on his window pane.

“Now that is beauty,” she says about the fog outside, of the pitter-patter and of the moist flowers in the flower pots hanging in the window sill.

He painted them once, and like always, she called his work beautiful.

“What happened to you?” she asks, looking at him again. “You didn’t use to be like this. You used to have a life. You used to be so much more than an empty shell scraping for crumbs to keep living. Do you even know what happiness feels like?”

He continues to ignore her, his pale blue eyes focused on his unfinished sketch, his fingers about to complete her arms, the pencil layering shadows to make it look real.

“I don’t know,” he lies.

Then it was her turn to frown and ignore him.

She rises, letting the sheet fall to the ground as she walks towards him in all her nakedness.

“Why do you paint?” she asks.

He stopped to ponder for a second. Then, like nothing happened, he resumed his work.

“The same reason you pose,” he responds.

She laughs. “To earn money, you mean, hoping that some passer-by with connections will get to see my potential and seek me out. Keep fooling yourself. You have better chances of being famous than I ever did!”

He frowns. “I don’t care much about fame.”

“Then what do you care for?” she asks, taking her coat from the stall and putting it on. “Can I open the window?”

“Sure,” he shrugs.

“So, you haven’t answered. What do you care for?” she insists, while struggling to open the window.

He sighs, and came to help her. He easily lifted it up and they both shivered as a cold breeze entered the room.

Thunder and lightning strikes outside, and again, they both think it’s beautiful. The sky shifting colors, a zigzag of light amidst a veil of darkness, the stars long hidden and the moon scared to come out.

“I just want to be the boy who isn’t afraid of the rain,” he murmurs.

She smiles.

“Ask me then. Ask me what I want to be,” she tells him.

He stares at her as if she was a puzzle he couldn’t seem to figure out. Perhaps she was. Among other things, she was. He thinks she’d like making herself a mystery.

“What do you want to be?” he asks of his muse.

She didn’t answer. She took a step closer to him, picked up his hand and gently guided it out the window so the rain falls on his open palm.

Her hand feels as cold as the water but he doesn’t care. There weren’t many things that could touch his heart.

“I want to be the girl who makes you feel alive again.”

He didn’t mean to freeze but he did. And slowly, he drew his arm back so she wasn’t touching him.

“The dead doesn’t feel. The dead doesn’t dream.”

“You aren’t dead yet,” she argued.

And like every time she says those words, his heart couldn’t feel any heavier, beating louder than a gong inside his chest, beating so strongly, he fears it would tear itself out.

“No,” he agrees, shaking his head in sadness. “But you are.”

She backs down, strained tears welling up her chocolate eyes. “I wish you wouldn’t be this stubborn. I wish you’d go out and enjoy the rain again. You can, you know. You’re still alive.”

“Not without you.”

“I hate seeing you like this,” she cries. “You have to let me go!”

He brings a finger to touch her cheek. It feels like ice but he didn’t step away. “Not when I can keep you here.”

“This isn’t right! I am nothing but a memory!”

He sighs in preparation for a scream. “What does right have to do with it? The living gets some things right and some things wrong! You say I am alive? Well, I don’t feel I am!”

“I do not want this!”

“No? Neither do I, but what can I do? They killed you and I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye! All that’s left is your memory and as long the rain keeps falling, you can be with me.”

He sought out the rain as if it was nothing, a heavy rain beguiling a heavy heart. His soul craves enchantment and love, a tale that was not forthcoming of the poor and the unloved. Oh but he was both. The boy and the man he sees every day in the broken mirror that was barely hanging on his fainted wall.

The rain felt good on his skin and he wouldn’t trade it, not for the hundreds or thousands of words, promises brought upon by a wishful heart that believes in God and angels.

Once upon a time, he had a dream. He wanted to be someone. But time waits for no one, and neither does life nor destiny.

The rain continues to fall, and he continues to live in illusion. In the barren house with fainted walls, cobwebs and broken mirrors, the broken artist cries for his muse, haunted by the happy life they could have lived.





March 27, 2020 17:33

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