Run From the Rain
The first drop hit the ground near Bergson. It sizzled and kicked up white smoke. To top it off, it had a distinctive acidic smell that Bergson knew all too well.
Bergson froze at the ominous sight. He glanced at the darkening clouds above which seemingly came out of nowhere. Maybe it was just a fluke, he told himself. Maybe it was just one drop and that’s it.
Another hit nearby. His heart sank as his fear rose. He heard – and smelled – more drops hitting nearby.
The shock dissipated. He shot a look toward his ward -- several orphan kids he took under his care -- playing in what was left of a playground. They screamed and giggled while running around corroded jungle gyms, rotted and dead trees, and a pot-marked sandbox.
His lips quivered, but the words stayed within him. Then, another drop hit near his rubber boots. It sizzled and blackened portions of what was left of a sidewalk.
Finally, the ominous word that was stuck in his throat shot out with a blood-curdling precision.
The kids stopped what they were doing. Laughter and glee was soon replaced by gasps of horror. They too, knew what the rain brought.
“Let’s go!” Bergson ordered. “Get back to the shelter!”
The children didn’t hesitate. They ran past Bergson, racing to the shelter’s entrance. Bergson followed them. Frantically, he peer toward the darkened clouds. He prayed that the downpour wouldn't come while they were in the open.
He remembered what happened when people were caught off guard by the rain. He still had nightmares about it.
The drops increased some hitting his bio-hazard suit and mercifully bouncing off him. Still, Bergson felt its heat. It drove him to run as hard and fast as the kids.
"Go! Go! Go!" he screamed.
But it wasn't necessary; the children were in full sprint mode as the drops of rain increased...and the acidic smoke increasingly emanated from the blackened soil.
Finally, they made it. Bergson ran to the front of the group, pushed the shelter door opened and motioned the children in. After the last child, he slammed the door shut. The children continued down a ramp that headed toward the showers in the decontamination room.
He didn’t follow them. Instead, he stood at top of the stairs, peering out of the door’s portal to view the increasingly menacing world outside.
They’ll always run away from the rain, never getting a chance to enjoy what he once knew to be safe when he was their age.
It was now a downpour. Drops of poisonous rain pelted the bleak and ruined landscape; eroding it some more while it made its insidious hiss and white smoke.
As he watched hell form before his eyes, he pondered upon a time when such things didn't exist. That was a long time ago, he realized. It was time when he was young adult with a future ahead of him. It was a time before the war, before the bomb, and the radiation clouds.
Mostly, it was a time when the rain replenished to world, rather than killed you in the most horrifyingly way possible.
He glanced down the ramp where the children were. He realized that world was gone. They’ll always run away from the rain, never getting a chance to enjoy what he once knew to be safe when he was their age.
What have we done, he thought, what have we done?
Other stories of a Bleak Future
- A Black and White World
In a world decimated, even the sign of color is a reason to hope. Here's a story inspired by the song Black Planet by Sisters of Mercy, in which two travelers search a world literally black and white.
The Real dangers from Raindrops: Acid Rain
© 2015 Dean Traylor