Sad Adventure

"Grab a coat, dear. It's raining again."

"What's it raining today, darling? I hope we get some water rain soon."

"No, dear. It's acid today. Looks like we're gonna have acid for the next few weeks."

"Ah, that's how it goes, isn't it?"

"Yes, I suppose. Get going, dear. You don't want to be late to work."

"Yes. You're right, Martha. I shall return in a few hours. Be a dear and start a kettle while I'm gone, please?"

"Of course, John. Be safe."

"Of course, darling."


John gives Martha kiss on the cheek as he pulls on his acid resistant coat, promises of a quick return being whispered into her ear. Martha watches as he takes out his umbrella and hat, walking out to the work car. She waves goodbye to her husband, knowing that he might not return. Martha hopes for the best, though, as she always does.


"Grab a coat, Thomas. It's raining today."

"Oh, Mother. Must I wear a coat?"

"Yes, child. You must wear a coat. If you don't your skin will have terrible burns and scars on it, as your Aunt Layla does."

"Oh, is that why her left eye does not open properly anymore?"

"Yes, but let us not talk about that now. You must prepare for school. Have you gotten your satchel? Your lunch?"

"Yes, Mother. I have. I've got my satchel, my books, and my lunch all in here."


Thomas slings his torn, brown bookbag over his shoulder and grabs an apple from the bowl on the counter. He hugs his mother and rushes out of the front door of their cottage, scrambling to get on a tram before the acid rain starts. A slight drizzle opens the storm, like an instrumental opening to a movie. Martha watches her firstborn son walk out of the door with a smile on her face. Her twins, Jenny and Robert, walk down the stairs.


"Grab a coat, Jenny. Grab a coat, Robert."

"Mother, why must we wear coats?"

"Because, Jenny, they offer you the protection that I cannot. Now, take the coat, please."

"Mother, my coat is the blue coat, not the red one."

"Mother, my coat is the red coat, not the blue one."

"Yes, yes. Just grab a coat, my darlings. I'll drive you to school today."

"Robert! Give me back my coat!"

"Jenny! Stop whining, baby sister!"

"I'm only younger by two minutes!"

"Yeah? Well-"

"Children! Stop fighting! Let us put on our coats and go to school."


Martha herds her young twins into their car, turning on the acid resistance feature. She buckles them into their car seats with the help of a servant, taking a seat in the passenger side of the car. As they drive off to the children's primary school, Martha can't help but feel a strange pit open in her stomach.


"Grab a coat, Mother."

"Yes, thank you for reminding me, Jenny."

"Don't forget your hat, Mother."

"Thank you, Robert. Shall we go?"

"Yes. But I think we should run like cheetahs as we go."

"I think we should do twirls as we run!"

"Children, please. Let us just walk and not risk tripping."

"Mother, lighten up."


"Sorry, Mother. But please?"

"Fine. Let us say our prayer, first."

"Yes. I think we should hold hands as we do. Robert?"

"Yes, we shall hold hands, Jenny. Mother?"

"Yes, yes, my golden suns. I shall take your hands, and we shall pray."


Martha, Jenny, and Robert all pray for safety and guidance through their day. When the get out of the car, Martha puts on her hat and gives the children their coats. They run towards the door of the wooden school building, stepping inside the cleaning facility as they enter. Once the three of them are dry, Martha takes their hands once again and leads them to their classroom. Martha, their teacher, begins to teach their small class of 12 children; 6 boys and 6 girls. A phone call interrupts their class session, allowing Martha a moment to take a break for a few short minutes.


"Yes? Hello?"

"I should have grabbed a coat, my dear."

"John? What's the matter? You sound so rushed, my darling."

"There is a new shower on the way. Not acid, something much -gasp- stronger. My dear, we were not prepared."

"John. What is going on?"

"Take the children. Run. Go underground."

"Where will you be?"

"I... won't be there. I should have listened to you. I should have grabbed a coat, my dear."

"Darling, don't talk like that. It will be alright."

"Be their coat, my darling."


"Protect our children. Be their coat."

"Of course, my love."

"I love you, Martha. Wait... I have to go. I love-"


As the line cut off, Martha trembled with newfound tears in her eyes. She herded her students down into the basement of the school, gathering siblings and teachers together. Robert, Jenny, and Thomas all crowd around Martha. Thomas comforts his mother as Robert and Jenny cling to each other.



"Yes, Thomas?"

"Would you like my coat? You are freezing."

"No, Thomas. You need it more than me."

"Are you sure, Mother?"

"I'm sure, my darling. We all need our coats now."

"Mother. Our coats can't always protect us. That's why we have you. And that's what I'm here to help with."

"Thomas... You are such a good son."

"I try to be, Mother. I guess it's just from how you've raised me."


Thomas hugs his mother tightly, giving her the comfort that he knows she needs. Jenny and Robert join the hug, leaving them in a dark corner of the basement together. Jenny sobs, her tears spilling into her blue jacket. Robert is angry at the acid, his young mind unable to tell why this would happen. Thomas brings to comfort to all of them, is deep green coat stained with some of the grass from the basement floor.


The rains come and go, each a mix of different substances. Martha passes on after three decades, dying peacefully in her sleep at the age of 57. Thomas grows up, creating a family with a lovely woman named Brooke. They have a daughter and son, whom they name Martha and John. Robert learns the trade of water balancing, which is a laborious and dangerous task. Jenny becomes a nun at the church, not wanting to have to deal with the sadness of loss anymore in her life.


"Grab a coat, dear. It's raining again."

"What's it raining today, darling?"

"Well, dear, we have a surprise."

"And what might that be, Brooke?"

"Today is forecasted for a watery rain. No substances, just... water."

"Really? That is amazing news, my darling. Have the children grabbed their coats?"

"Yes, they have. Why are you always so concerned about their coats?"

"Because we must make sure that their coats protect them when they cannot."

"That is very wise, Thomas."

"My mother told me that when I was a child, Brooke."

"She sounds like she was an amazing mother, Thomas."

"Yes. You're right, Brooke. She was. I shall return in a few hours. Be a dear and start a kettle while I'm gone, please?"

"Of course, Thomas. Be safe."

"Of course, darling."

February 26, 2024 22:28

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RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

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