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October Rain (p1.)
“I can’t remember the specific date it started on. All I can remember about the day was that it was raining. It was also the beginning of my fear of rain. I don’t know why I was more afraid of the rain than of them. My father never did return after going into the rain that day. I think that’s why I’m afraid.
The old man paused for a moment, then, wiped his eyes. He sat there silent not talking, just trembling in his chair moaning softly to himself as he wept. I turned my sight on a window near me. I rouse out of my chair to look outside. It was still raining. It was still early into the night; the lights coming from such a big city made it seem like day. Only the dark storm clouds hovering above the giant buildings indicated the time of day. Sometimes the moon would make an appearance from out of the clouds and illuminate the city below. Even though the night was still young, many of the small lights coming from the windows that covered the giant buildings were being turned off. Everything in the city seemed to be going to sleep. The cars that usually fill the streets were gone, leaving behind an empty street. Only wet newspapers filled the sidewalks below me. Even the moon had disappeared behind the clouds. The nearby park that is usually filled with the sound of children playing was silent. The sand that lay below the swings was completely wet. Huge puddles of rain water were scattered about the playground. The houses behind the park were completely silent. The sudden stillness of the city was eerie. It frightened me. I felt as if the city, moon, and the all of the city’s inhabitants had rushed into hiding as if they had seen the enemy from afar. Everything seemed to be waiting quietly for something big to happen. The world had gone silent.
I moved away from the window. I was cold, tired, and exhausted from my interview. The old man had moved out of his chair and onto a couch near the fireplace. He had stopped crying and was now asleep. It was probably time for me to leave anyway. I walked over to my chair and picked up my tape recorder, pencil and pad; the usual things I use for an interview. I walked over to the coat rack and put on my black trench coat. I reached into my pocket and put my card onto a table. I hope I could resume the interview tomorrow, but I doubt that was going to happen. I couldn’t help but look over at the old man before I left. He seemed at peace even though it was raining. I wonder if he is still afraid of rain.
“Goodbye sir,” I said softly.
He stirred in his sleep. I didn’t want to wake him up and so I left. I silently closed the door behind me, but the sound still echoed throughout the empty hall. I was very dark, and I couldn’t see anything. I didn’t want to walk the hall in the dark; it has been one of my biggest fears that had stayed with me since my childhood.
“I’ll wait until the moon illuminates the way for me,” I said to myself. My voice sounded strange. I guess that’s what happens when your life’s profession is to listen to people talk.
My eyes were adjusting to the darkness. I could see that the room I had just exited was at the end of a long hall. Many doors filled the hall on both the sides, and there was only one large window at the end of the hall. I could see that it had stopped raining. The dark storm clouds had disappeared for the moment and had allowed the moon to reemerge from the clouds. The luminescence of the moon was filling the hall. Unfortunately, the light couldn’t penetrate the darkness from where I was.
“I guess I have to walk to rest of the way,” I said to myself.
I was afraid of the dark. Not from the scary stories that parents tell their children to get them to sleep. No, my fear had come from the fear of other men. I had listened to the most horrifying things that men have dealt with. From wars to illness, it was as if I had seen it through the eyes of the men and women I had interviewed. It had never bothered me as much when I had first started my career, but as the years has gone by, their stories had found a way to sneak into the cracks of my skin and latch onto my mind and heart. My most recent interview with the old war veteran had really disturbed me. The way his father died, his fear of rain, and the war had made me rethink all of my beliefs. The old man had made it seem as if we were all living in a false sense of security. Only our blind faith in our sanctuary kept us living. We were all walking in a tunnel with no light coming from the end. If we only knew what was brewing against us on the other side, many of us would wish not to live.
I didn’t want to think about it anymore. Beside, the moon wouldn’t be out for long because it was raining again. I made my way down the long hall. The sound of my boots echoed against the walls of the hall. I continued until I reached the end of the hall. I could see that the storm clouds were still hovering above the giant city. It wasn’t raining as hard as it was before, but every now and then a strong gust of wind would throw the rain around making it seem as though it was getting worse. I stepped away from the window and looked around the end of my part of the hall. There was an elevator, a door leading to the stairs, and a door that didn’t indicate as to where it was going to. Since I was thirty stories high, I decided to take the elevator. It was hard for me to look for the elevator button because the button lights were lightly dimmed. I put my hand against the hard surface of the wall to feel for the button. I moved my hand up and down the wall, but I didn’t find it. I reached all the way down until I felt the smooth surface of paper. I picked it up. It was a recent newspaper clipping from two days ago. Not anything important was on the paper; some information about the war in Iraq, the U.S. economy, and other articles. Only one heading stood out to me the most. I was delighted to see who had wrote this article
October 10th, 2007 Issue 478
Medical breakthrough on its way
by Emma Valentine
The U.M.R.F. has made a breakthrough in medical history. Having just recently found the gene that controls aging, scientists have discovered a new way to reverse the affects of the aging gene by ten years. Not much more can be said because of the confidentiality of the research. Dr. Wilson, leading scientist of the project, said in this last interview with me that “We are still in the infancy of medicine. Fifty years ago, scientist’s greatest medical discovery was penicillin, the miracle drug. Now, fifty years later, we are able to fight against cancer, AIDS, and many other illnesses that afflict humanity. Yet, even with our many achievements, thousands of diseases are still destroying us. Leukemia snatches the young from us, and Alzheimer takes away a lifetime of memories from the elderly. Having discovered the gene that controls aging, we might be able to use that in our fight against disease and ultimately postpone our death. Again, we can’t give out any information, but we will inform you on anything significant to come…..
A loud clanking sound had attracted my attention to a nearby wall. The doors of the elevator swung open and a small man stood in the middle of the elevator. His coat was drenched in water. His hat was dirty and the boots on his feet were covered in mud. He looked me straight in the eye. His face looked haggard, as if he had spent the last few hours out in the rain. Maybe he had walked here.
“Good Evening sir,” I said.
The old man stepped out of the elevator and walked past me. I stood motionless as he made his way down the hall and disappeared into the darkness. I could hear his footsteps and the sound of a door opening. The doors of the elevator were closing slowly so I walked inside. The elevator was poorly light. I could barely make out the number on the control panel. The numbers that indicated which level you wish to be taken to were glowing bright blue. I pressed the number “1” and the elevator started to shake. I was going down to ground level and I knew it was going to take about three minutes to reach the bottom. The elevator was so small and cramped. I had always hated being in small spaces. I’m not cluster-phobic, but just the fact that you are powerless to move from a spot for a long period of time makes me nervous. I mean, what if the elevator brakes down? How long would you be able to stand in this spot until help arrives, if it ever does? I put my hands in my left coat pocket and pulled out the article and reread the part written by Emma Valentine.
“I wonder if Emma is still….”
The elevator stopped with a loud bang, and the doors swung open. The marble hall leading to the entrance of the building was revealed to me. I stepped out of the elevator. The door closed behind me and I tucked the article into my pocket. Nobody was in the hall. The late night security guard wasn’t at this post. Some of the lights were turned on, but were only half way light. I made my way down the marble hall. Again, only the sound of my foot hitting against the marble ground kept me company. I could see the tracks left by the old man I meet in the elevator. When I finally reached the main entrance, I could see that it was still raining. I didn’t want to get wet so; I pulled out my cell phone and called a cab to pick me up. I hated having to see her wash anything at all, especially if it was mine. It was half past nine, and so the cab ride to the outskirts of town to my house would probably cost me over twenty dollars, but I didn’t mind. It would take at least ten minutes for my taxi to arrive. I would wait patiently until it arrives.
“It was a disaster from the very beginning. First-of-all, we had only six men on the team including myself. That bastard Sergeant wanted us to secure a nearby tower from enemy snipers. From there the enemy could relay our position to their head quarters. That would cause a hell of a lot of problems for our fire team and the incoming reinforcements. We could have used our Sherman tanks to blow the tower to hell, but our leading Sergeant was too afraid to risk it. It was raining too hard that night. The rain was so thick and heavy it looked like a sheet of rain was falling down. I swear I could only see one hundred yards ahead of me. The enemy might have had Panzerschreks hiding in other towers and could have caused a lot of shit,” the old man sighed. I could see the pain building up in his face as he struggled to continue.
“So what happened next?” I asked.
“Well, we geared up to try to sneak into the building and kill the Krauts inside. I was a private back then, and so I only could have a Grande rifle. My bubby Allen was killed in a firefight a few minutes ago, and I took his Thompson from him to use. I don’t think he would of mind. I mean, I did kill the son of a bitch that murdered my friend. See, we were just coming up from Luxembourg to our rendezvous point after our last encounter with the Krauts. We had been fighting all day long and we’re tired. Our moral was low. Our rations and supplies were running out. The wounded we were carrying were dying. We ran out of morphine in our last fight. Allen, my best buddy that had been with me since training before the Normandy invasion just wanted to rest his legs for a while. I mean, he deserved it, we all did. We were far into enemy territory. Our closest command center was about two hundred miles. All we had were our friends, weapons, blood and guts. Hell! We didn’t even have our blood or guts,” the old man stopped for a moment. I saw a great pain grow in his face. His body started to shake.
“And then it happened. I never thought it would actually happen. I’ve seen it happen to other guys and heard of it from my other friends, but I never thought I would have to experience it so soon,” he started to moan.
“Those sons of bitches killed my friend,” I could barely understand him.
“They came up….behind….warehouse….they shot him in the chest,” he stopped talking and just cried in his chair.
Most people would feel uncomfortable in this situation, but I have grown use to it. Many of my interviews are emotional for the interviewee. I just waited calmly for him to stopped crying and for him to regain his composure. I felt sorry for the man. He had experience a horrible event in his life at such a young age. To have to carry this around for your entire life seemed to me to be worse than hell itself. I didn’t even know it, but he had started to talk again.
“...grabbed my bayonet and stabbed the Kraut in the throat. I knew he knew he was dying. I had no compassion for him. I saw the fear in his eyes and he saw the rage in mine. I pulled the knife out of his throat and into his stomach.” I could see a small grin growing on the old man’s face. It quickly went away as soon as it began.
“His blood didn’t shoot out of his throat like it does in the movies. No, it slowly flowed from his neck down his body. His blood was warm and since it had been raining the entire day, it felt so good on my hands. I didn’t notice it at the time, but everyone in my squad was staring at me. I was holding a dying man in my hands, and they knew I was enjoying it. I threw his body onto the ground, and I then knelt down next to my friend Allen,” he paused for a moment.
“Allen knew he was dying. He had been shot in the chest. We were miles away from any medical station, and we didn’t have the supplies to save his life. He reached out to grab my hand. I wiped the blood of my hands and grabbed his hands. I could feel the warmth leaving his hands. His face was slowly fading from a fleshy pink color to a dark gray.”
“Sammy, I’m dying,” said Allen. Miraculously with only half of his chest he was able to talk.
“Yes, Allen? I’m here. I promise I won’t leave you.” Allen started to cough. His face was a deathly gray. His lips had turned blue. The man was lying in a pool of his own blood.
“Remember….remember a month ago….we went to the lake for a week…so nice…so warm…,” he stopped talking.
“Allen, Allen!” He had died.
The old man stopped talking and just starred onto the floor. He didn’t say anything or move. He reached for a glass of water and took a small sip. A small grin grew on his face.
“Are you going to get in or not sir? I don’t have all day!”
“What? What are you talking about?” I said loudly.
I looked around. I was still inside the building. I must have been daydreaming for a couple of minutes. The taxi driver outside was staring at me. He looked pissed.
“Yeah, I’m going. Just give me a minute.” The taxi driver walked back into his cab. I grabbed my suitcase and stepped outside. It had stopped raining and hopefully for good. The dark storm clouds had disappeared and the moon was shining brightly from behind one of the towering buildings.
“Where will you like to go sir?” asked the taxi driver. He looked into the mirror.
“Take me to 1303 Winter Drive.” I moved over to the middle of the taxi.”You do know where it is right?”
“Yeah, I know where it is. It’s a fifteen minute drive from here.”
I looked at the backside of the front seat. The driver license read “Timothy Yarbrough Taxi 173 Drive Inc.”
“I’m going to take a small nap until we get to my house Timothy, if that’s alright with you?”
“I’ll wake you up when we get there sir,” said Timothy. I really appreciated his kindness. I feel asleep before I could thank him.
“Excuse me sir. We’ve arrived, time to wake up.” Timothy was talking to me outside of the taxi. He opened the car door for me.
“Here we are, 1303 Winter Drive. What a gorgeous house sir.” I was so tired. My whole entire body was fighting against the drowsiness that had settled over me. I grabbed my belongings and step out of the car. Timothy was much taller than I had expected. I was roughly six feet tall, but this man had to of been six three at the least.
“The total is going to cost you twenty-two fifty sir.” I reached into my pocket and pulled out thirty dollars.
“Here you are Timothy, twenty-two fifty and please keep the change.” I smiled at him. I could barely see his face as he reached for the money. He seemed quiet please and content.
“Goodnight sir,” said Timothy
“Goodnight, sleep well.” The man stepped into his car and drove off into the opposite direction. I was alone now. I looked up into the sky. I could see the stars shining brightly in the night sky. The murky sky and dark clouds had disappeared while I was asleep. The moon shone brightly upon the sleeping neighborhood. The wind blew softly upon the land but barely strong enough to lift the numerous leaves off the lawns and streets. The community I lived in was very small. Only about fifteen houses were on the same street and on average about thirty five houses would be found in most neighborhoods. I never liked the neighborhood I lived in. My neighbors had never taken the time to get to know me. They always kept to themselves. Sometimes I felt as if they excluded me out of their community. During the Super bowl, I would hear people yelling from inside of my neighbor’s house, cheering for their team. I knew they had invited over some of the other men from the same community. I didn’t really mind at all. Not until there was a robbery close to my house and everyone had suspected me of doing it. There wasn’t any proof that I had done it and nobody claimed me as the culprit, but I knew they were all against me.
I turned around and now was facing my house. I loved my house, especially since it was a gift from my beloved grandfather before he passed away last spring. I could see that one light was on in my house. I picked up my things and made my way to my house. I opened the door and stepped inside. It was so warm and in fact, numerous lights were on inside of the house. I could hear the television on. I set my things down on the ground and put my wet trench coat on the coat rack. Sukie came running down the stairs. She reached the bottom of the stairs and in a second was circling my legs. Sukie had always been my favorite cat since I had first bought her from a friend five years ago.
“Meow, Meow!” Sukie stared up at me from the ground.
I picked her up and held her close to my face. She smelled of lavender. She must have recently taken a bath today because if she had gone outside, she would be covered in mud. Sukie was so warm and fluffy. I just wanted to use her as a pillow and go to bed.
“Meow, Meow!” She started to purr. I stroked her back, slowly petting her. The cat closed her eyes and rested her head against my arm.
“Is that cat sleeping again?” said a voice from the kitchen.
Was she still awake at this hour? I walked towards the kitchen. The television indeed was on in the living room. I placed the sleeping cat on a couch and made my way towards the kitchen.
“I just gave the cat a bath today. Make sure you don’t let her get outside.”
There she stood in her pink pajamas making hot tea for us to drink. She was staring out the window, looking our neighborhood. I knew she was afraid of the rain. She could never get any sleep during a storm except when I’m with her. Besides, she had been expecting me to come home around nine thirty. She turned her gaze upon me. She looked so lovely just staring at me with her mahogany colored eyes.
“I’m so sorry I’m late. My interview with Mr. Wilson took longer than I had expected. The cab took forever to come pick me up. It was so dark the entire….” She grabbed my face and kissed me. Her lips were so warm. Her hands were so soft, I could barely stay awake. It felt so good.
“I missed you so much. I hate the rain. Even Sukie hates the rain.” The fat cat had entered the kitchen and jumped onto the table. She starred at us curiously.
“I think she’s hungry. I’ll feed her,” I said. You just go to the couch and relax. I’ll join you in a minute.
“Alright, but you better be back in exactly one minute.” She winked at me. I couldn’t help but get lost in her eyes. Her face was so smooth and pink. She let her curly dark brown hair grow past her shoulders. She knew I loved long hair especially if the hair was brown. He lips were so pink, I wish I could...
“Hey! If you stare at me any longer, I’m going to have to charge you!” She smiled at me, and I smiled back.
She always loved playing around with me. Sometimes we would just start dancing in the kitchen to no music. Salsa dancing was our favorite. I reached over to the cabinet that contained the cat food and grabbed the box. Sukie started to meow at me. She knew it was time to eat. She jumped onto the counter and licked at the box. I poured the food into her bowl, and she jumped onto the ground and started to eat. I put the box away and washed my hands. I looked outside. The moon was about to move into a cloud. The moon’s luminescence wouldn’t cover our city for much longer. It would be getting darker soon. I looked at the clock. It was almost ten and just about time for me to go to sleep. I walked into the living room. She was sitting on the couch. The television was on and she was watching the nature channel, her favorite show. She saw me walk in and reached over for the remote control and turned off the television.
“Hey, I was going to watch that!” She looked up at me. I couldn’t believe how pretty her eyes were. Her eyes glimmered and shined as he looked up at me. She reached over for a nearby blanket and pillow.
“Come, sit down. I haven’t talked to you all day.” Again she smiled at me.
I reached down and took off my shoes and socks. I jumped onto the couch and immediately she threw the blanket and her arms around me. It was so warm inside. She was even warmer and softer than the blanket.
“Hi!” She giggled a bit.
Even after being with her for almost two years now, I’m still not use to her so close to me. I feel strange, as if I didn’t deserve having such a wonderful, intellectual person at my side. We had been together throughout high school and even though we went to different colleges, we managed to maintain our relationship. I couldn’t imagine life without her, not even for a second.
“Hey beautiful, did you have a good time here at the house? I’m guessing you didn’t even leave the house.” I looked straight into her eyes. She smiled at me. She knew I already had figured out that she didn’t leave the house even for a moment.
“No, I didn’t leave the house. I was too busy finishing my report on the U.M.F.R. project. You remember right? Well after I did that, I clean up around the house a bit. Watched the television, gave our Sukie a bath. Then I made a lovely pumpkin pie. I know how much you love pumpkin pie.”
She knew me all too well. I love pumpkin pie, especially when it had been freshly made; still warm and you put the cold whip cream on it. The way the cream melts down the pie until the entire pie is covered in whip cream makes my mouth water. Most people put the cinnamon on the pie before they heat it up, but she puts the cinnamon all over the pie when it’s still hot. You can smell the aroma of the warm cinnamon as it slowly melts into the pie. It’s the best food in the world in my opinion.
“Oh, that sounds so good right now. But I’m exhausted. I just want to fall asleep in your arms,” I said to her. She could see the tiredness in my eyes. It was late already, but she could never get any sleep until I told her about my day.
“So, how was your day? Good, bad, ugly….?” I grabbed her hands. They were so soft and much warmer compared to mine. She flinched a bit as I grabbed her hands. My hands were icy cold. She just laughed a bit because she knew I could tell she didn’t like the coldness. A gentle smile crept upon her face. I move her hand to my face still holding it. I felt so at peace and relaxed that I started to slowly fall into a deep sleep.
“Are you going to sleep here sweetie?” She moved her hands out of mine and started to rub my head. Again, she knew that I loved the feeling of someone stroking my head and playing around with my hair.
“Hey sleepyhead, aren’t you going to say goodnight to your wife?” She whispered into my ear. Yet another tantalizing quirk I have. It feels so good to me when someone whispers in my ear. The care and gentleness a person has to put into whispering make me so relaxed and calm. It also tickles my ear.
“Of course I am,” I said softly as I moved over to her ear to speak into. “Goodnight Emma.” I felt asleep instantaneously.