Jake was concerned. His farm had been through droughts before but never as severe as this one. His crops hadn’t seen rain in eight months. Resulting in the failure of all harvests during that time. Pumpkin season was upon him and despite the dry soil he planted a sizeable number of seeds. Looking out on the fields he felt an urge to try something out off the ordinary. Perhaps a rain dance or some sort of sacrifice to the rain Gods. He was a desperate man who was willing to try anything. If the pumpkins didn’t produce, he would lose his home and land. If it didn’t rain soon and consistently, he would fail his family.
Nicole paused washing the dishes to look out the window at her husband. Jake had always provided for her and the children despite hard times, but something was different today. Each morning of their fifteen-year marriage he had always woken her up with a gentle shake and soft peck on the cheek. Today Nicole woke up late to an empty bed with her husband already in the fields. She drove one of the farm trucks out to him with a bagged breakfast in hand. He seemed distracted, unfocused, and worried.
“You know we’ve got my inheritance to fall back on if it doesn’t rain soon.” Nicole stated while He took a bite of his blueberry muffin.
Jake paused mid chew and looked at his wife for the first time that day. He frowned as he swallowed and attempted to deliver his words as gently as possible. “Honey that can’t happen. We have already discussed and decided your inheritance is going to the kid’s college fund. I’ll be damned if I let them end up like me or you stuck in this town with nothing to show for all our hard work.”
She felt a moment of anger at his comment but hid her emotions with a straight face and a nod. She knew he was worried about the drought and forgave him immediately for his insensitivity. As far as she was concerned, she was happy to be “stuck” in their town despite the struggles. She excused herself from the field and hopped back in the truck. During the drive she reflected on her husband’s unusual mood and thought there must be something she could do for him. She would do anything for him…anything.
Later that evening after the household was asleep Jake picked his phone up from the nightstand. He googled “Rain Dance” and scrolled through the many results. Nothing seemed to pique his interest until an article on the seventh page jumped out at him.
“Have a problem you can’t solve? I can help you. Thousands of success stories!”
‘Bullshit.’ Jake thought to himself but clicked the link anyway. The website introduced him to a self-proclaimed shaman named Merrick who helped people with all sorts of issues. Money, relationships, addiction, fertility and more. He took his time reading and searching the entire website until he was drawn to the button that read ‘Tell Me Your Dilemma’. He tapped the button which led him to fill in all his information including location, credit card (only for verification purposes), and of course the issue. He hesitated to tap the send button and weighed the pros and cons in his head. Ultimately, he decided If he ever heard back from this Merrick person, he could always decline any so-called healing packages.
Two weeks later things had gotten much worse for Jake. Not a drop of rain had fallen and the relationship between him and his family was strained to say the least. He hadn’t meant to be distant and short with them, but the stress of impending failure proved too much. Three nights ago, he moved to the spare bedroom and hadn’t interacted with his wife or kids.
One morning while he observed one of the fields he looked up at the sound of an approaching vehicle. A black SUV pulled beside the field and cut the engine. Jake assumed the party was lost or trying to sell something when a man emerged from the back seat. He was well dressed in a blue suit with shiny black shoes on his feet. He appeared to be in his mid to late forties and walked towards Jake with an obvious confidence. Jake took a breath to begin his greeting, but the stranger beat him to it.
“You are Jake, and you desire rain for your land.” The man said with a smooth deep voice.
Jake took a moment to compose his thoughts and emotions. Again, the man interrupted his reply.
“I am Merrick, and I can bring you what you most desire, but I must warn you. It will require you to pay a heavy price.” He stated closing the gap between them to less than twelve inches.
Jake chuckled out loud before exclaiming, “Listen buddy if you think you’re going to come here and demand a high fee for some sort of guru bullshit then you wasted the trip. Unless you can tell me what it is exactly you can do to make it rain and prove it will work, I won’t even consider paying you.”
Merrick bent down and picked up a handful of dry soil. He let it filter through his fingers as the wind blew it away. “I do not want your money, Jake. I want to help you. The price required goes beyond monetary value. I will not waste your time. Take my hands and I will show you what can be done.”
Jake hesitated as the stranger placed his hands palms up waiting for him to engage. He battled with himself before deciding there was nothing to lose and sighed as he gripped Merrick’s hands. The moment they connected something strange happened. Starting at the bottoms of his feet an energy began to pulse throughout him. Growing and gaining until it spread upwards to the top of his head. Jake was stuck knowing he felt the energy but not understanding it. Then a drop of water fell on his forehead. He was trapped in the energy but forced his eyes open and looked up just as a torrential downpour fell from the skies. It smelled like rain, it tasted like rain… it was rain. He didn’t know if he could believe it.
Merrick broke the bond and the rain stopped. “I have shown you what the universe lets me provide. I will provide again if you are willing to pay the price.”
Jake bent over breathing heavily still wet from the downpour. “I will pay anything you ask. Just make it rain like that all season.” He said shakily.
Merrick approached Jake and placed a hand on his face guiding him into a standing position. “I will make the rain for you Jake. I will make it rain whenever you desire for the rest of your existence. The cost…you must sacrifice your family and burry them in the pumpkin patch.”
Jake laughed out loud. He spat on the ground and paced back and forth before responding. “Sacrifice my family? Burry them? Are you out of your mind?! I could never, I would never. Get off my property right now before I call the authorities. You’re insane.”
Merrick took a breath and began walking back to his SUV. “I will leave for now Jake but know this. My offer is only good for twenty-four hours. If you desire your rain, you will complete the sacrifices within that time.” He entered the backseat of his vehicle and closed the door. The sound of the electric window brought Jake’s attention back to Merrick. “Twenty-four hours Jake. Once the sacrifice is complete you will have what you desire.”
That night at dinner his wife and kids couldn’t seem to talk about anything except the sudden rain shower earlier in the afternoon. Jake looked at each of them studying their faces. ‘I can’t be thinking of this.’ He thought to himself, “I am doing all of this for them so how could I possibly… NO! I won’t. Granted I would have a profitable farm and Nicole’s inheritance if they were all gone but, what would be the point if they are gone?’ He wrestled internally.
Suddenly Merrik’s voice was loud in his head. “You don’t need them, you never wanted them. Pay the price and you can start over. You will have everything you want.”
It all happened very quickly after the voice spoke to him. He asked Nicole to join him upstairs so that he could discuss something with her. Once in the bedroom he approached her with a gentle embrace and kissed her passionately. She responded with a moan and sighs. As their lips joined, he brought his hands up to her throat and began to squeeze tightly. He kept his eyes closed as she struggled beneath his hands. She made almost no sounds and it took far less time than he thought it would until eventually she collapsed to the floor. Jake finally opened his eyes to check his wife’s pulse, but it was obvious she was gone. He knew he should be frightened but he wasn’t. It was too late to turn back now.
He grabbed his revolver from the nightstand tucked it in his waistband underneath his shirt and headed back down to the kitchen. Once there he approached the table and took the knife from the roasted chicken. “Daddy has something very important to do now kids. I promise this won’t hurt a bit. Remember Mommy and I love you always.” His daughter looked confused as he approached her. When he plunged the knife into her heart, she cried out for him to help her. Still, he felt nothing. As his son stood up to run, he pulled the revolver from his waste band and put two bullets into the back of his son’s skull.
Jake sat down at the table to finish his meal. He had done what was required of him, but the job was not finished yet. He smiled as he ate the remainder of his chicken, peas, and mashed potatoes. Some part of him knew he should be sad but all he could think about was the smell of the rain.
The next morning with only an hour to go before the deadline Jake stood dirty and sweaty in the middle of the pumpkin patch. “There, I’ve done what you asked Merrick. I’ve paid my price now let it rain!” He declared to the sky. Nothing happened. After forty-five minutes Jake began to question what he had done. He rose from his seated position in the field and began to walk back to his truck thinking of ways to pass off his family’s disappearance when the first drop fell. He stopped and turned his face up to the sky. ‘Please?’ he thought, ‘Please, please, please?!’. Just then the heavens opened, and the rain came in droves. He stood there letting it wash off the dirt and blood. He was so enamored by the rain he didn’t hear the sirens in the distance steadily approaching the farm.