Haphazard Explorations & Experiments In Fiction
That smooth black stone must have been more comfortable than it looked because at some point in my reflections I leaned back and dozed off. I wish I hadn’t done that.
I was woken by a searing pain in my right forearm and at first I didn’t know what to make of the blackened indentation I saw there. But then something fell and hit my leg, leaving the same mark. Looking up I saw what must be one of the most beautiful aspects of living down here, and certainly one of the more terrifying. It rains, and it rains hot.
Maybe it’s commonplace to people who have been down here for years or maybe they’re so accustomed to pain that it doesn’t bother them anymore. Whatever the reason, it didn’t seem to bother many of them. Just me, the newcomers at either side of the river, and a few here and there throughout the small town I was almost inside of.
That’s where I ran, but oh man did that short trek hurt.
It wasn’t even hard to get there. The ground was even, with wet dirt, rock, and plant life of some kind growing everywhere. Virtually nothing to trip over and only a short distance to cover, but it felt like a long time before I reached the edge of that town. I dove into the nearest doorway as soon as I had come close enough to it.
The desperate jump to safety is the last thing I remember before waking up in a little shack. It’s the same building I had jumped into, and glaring down at me was a well muscled, sharp featured man. Before thinking about it I asked, “who are you?”
“Who are you?” he shot back, breathing steadily, body poised, clenching and unclenching his fists. Not having any particular reason to hide anything about myself I told him, “The name’s Drew. Drew Stevens.”
“And just what the fuck,” he said as he inched closer to my face, “made you think it was alright to jump into another man’s home?” Finally realizing why he was acting so aggressively I mentally scrambled for the words to explain my situation.
All I got out at first was a faint, “I’m new here.”
“No shit pal. I didn’t ask you to state the obvious, I asked what you’re doing in my home.”
Rising from my cozy spot on the floor, slowly so I wouldn’t get my head kicked in again, I nodded. “Fair enough. You didn’t notice those drops of fire coming down on everyone.”
“Oh I noticed,” he said as he rolled his eyes, “that ain’t a good reason though.”
“Are you kidding me,” I said, “that shit hurts.” On my feet again, swaying a little, I tell him I had to get out of it. “Sorry for stepping on your toes man. It’s just… your, um, your home was the closest building.” After a few long, awkward seconds of him studying me the tension left him.
“Okay Stevens, I’ll take it as an honest mistake.” A faint smile played on his lips but his next words made it clear he wasn’t warming up to me. “The rain’s over now, so get the fuck out.”
Stepping through the doorway I turned around hoping to talk, get a few answers. It’s a good thing I wasn’t standing any closer ’cause he slammed the door in my face and would’ve smashed my nose into my face with it. As it was my head must’ve hit something when I jumped out of the fire and brimstone pouring down.
Must have, ’cause reaching up I could feel a wet patch on the top of my head, wet with something sticky and thick. I didn’t bother looking before wiping my hand off on my pants. I wasn’t to worried about it though. After all, the marks from that horrid rain were already gone. A concussion and a scrape would probably be gone in no time.
II. The Third Day