Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Ok, today I'm going to post one of the many stories I wrote years ago. It's been so long since I've been able to write anything, but I used to be pretty good at it. I have close to 100 documents here on my computer, most of them written in 1998 and 1999, I've hardly written anything since. Though I was good at writing, I never finished anything I wrote. I never even knew what I was writing about when I was writing it, I just made it all up as I went along. So I have dozens of these small documents, ranging from a couple of sentences to 8 pages. I can only think of two stories I ever finished. This is not one of them, this is one of the many unfinished stories that seems really cool, but I was never able to get any farther in it. This story also has features that appeared in many of my stories, such as rain. I wrote several stories about an unnatural, unending rain, and in fact, this story seems like it could take place sometime after the events in another story I wrote, it shares many of the same themes. Another thing that appears in this story that appeared in many of my other stories is a sentence I was very fond of, many of my stories would contain a line about "wincing against the sudden light." I'm sure a psychologist could say many things about that. Anyway, enough rambling, here's the story.

His wet hair hung limply in strands around his eyes. The rain continued to fall from the dark sky. Rain dripped from the leaves around him, but was not soaked up by the already saturated ground. Drops of water welled up at the ends of his hair, and dropped off. He looked up into the rain, wondering if it would ever end. How long had it been since it started? He couldn't figure out exactly how long, he had lost track of the days, but as close as he could figure, it had been about three weeks. Three weeks that seemed like a lifetime. He rose in the darkness from his resting place under a large tree that provided some shelter from the rain, and walked out of the darkened park, and into the dimly lit, empty, city streets. It had been three days since he last saw another person, another human. A fleeting glimpse of a bedraggled form scurrying into the darkness of an alley. There weren't many people out in these days, what few people there were tended to stay in their dwellings, or in some other hiding place.

Suddenly he stopped walking, the rain had slowed, but not ceased. He looked once again up at the sky, for what must have been the millionth time since the rain began. A small hole appeared in the clouds, and he could see a small portion of the night sky, dotted with many glittering stars. A cool breeze blew over him. He stood there staring at the stars. It had been so long since he had seen the stars, or even the sky, other than the constant dark clouds. The wind began to blow harder, and become more chill, and the break in the clouds disappeared, and the sky was again a wall of clouds. He shivered in the cold and wet. He decided that he had better find some shelter for the night, some real shelter. His usual tree in the park helped keep away some of the rain, but did nothing for the cold.

He found a stairway down into what appeared to be the storage basement of a small café. He was in luck, this night he would have shelter and food. He crept into the darkness, groping for a light switch. He found one and the room became illuminated. He winced against the sudden light, and after his eyes adjusted he took a look around to make sure the room was not already occupied by one of the gangs that had arisen in the last few weeks. He had had a couple of run-ins with them already, and was lucky to get away, and had many times come across their handiwork. They were the largest groups of people he had seen since the rain began. He couldn't see anyone in the room, and so he relaxed a little. It appeared to be safe, or at least it didn't contain any immediate danger, nowhere was safe these days. You could at any minute become the victim of some seen or unseen danger, if you were lucky it would be one of the human dangers, and not one of the others.

He slumped down into a corner to rest, and fell almost at once into sleep, and dreamed.

In his dream there was no rain, there were no clouds. The sky was clear, and it was day. The sun shone brightly in the sky overhead. He was standing in the still empty city streets, but he heard something he hadn't heard since the rain began. He heard the birds singing. Everything seemed to be normal, except for the lack of people. Suddenly, a new sound came to his ears, from somewhere around the corner. It was the sound of children laughing. He ran to the corner and looked around, but could see no children. He heard the noise again, from farther off, and he began to walk after it. As he walked, though, it seemed to get farther away from him. He kept walking, and it was always somewhere in the distance, out of his sight. He began to walk faster, and finally he began to run after it. Still he could not reach it. Suddenly it sounded like there were more children, and they began to laugh more. As he ran, the apparent number of children continued to increase, until it sounded as if there was a great group of children, and it began to sound as if they were all laughing at him. Suddenly it seemed not as if he was running after the children, but running from them. Then, abruptly, he stopped; he found he was standing at the entrance to the park, the park where his tree was. The laughter abruptly ceased. He entered the park and began to walk across it, to where his tree was; he felt a sudden urge to find his tree. As he topped a small hill near the center of the park a sudden wind came up, and the sky began to quickly grow dark, and cloud over. In a few seconds the sky was a wall of black clouds, and the rain began to fall. A bolt of lightning flashed from the sky, and struck his tree, which burst into flames.

At that he awoke, and heard the last rumblings of rolling thunder. While pondering his dream, he found some packaged food that was still good, and ate his meal in silence.