Dancing in the Rain

Hopefully this journal finds an audience, however considering the current state of the world that seems entirely unlikely.  A downer to be sure, but despite everything that has happened I hope that someone reads these words.  It has started to rain…

There was a time in my life where I loved the rain.  Nothing could make me happier than to listen to the rain fall while I lay in bed.  To raise my face to the sky and feel the water dance on my skin.  The way that after a rain storm almost everything had been erased, that we all got a chance to start over with a clean slate.  A tabula rasa.

Now, well, no one enjoys the sound of falling rain.  No one raises their faces to feel the water dance on their skin.  No one takes a stroll in the rain, well that isn’t entirely true, no one comes back from a walk in the rain.

As a child I remember hearing environmentalists screaming about what we as a species  were doing to the planet.  The hot button issue in those days was acid rain.  That years of unregulated industrial pollution have added all sorts of nasty things to the atmosphere which eventually gets caught by the rain and dumped on us.  I imagine all of those hysterics are feeling a warm glow of “I told you so” right about now.  Although I think only the really extreme ones would be feeling thrilled about the current state of affairs.

I am rambling, I have been having a really hard time sleeping.  If there were a mental health specialist available I am sure they would diagnose me with a healthy case of survivors guilt.  Fuck.  Well I will try to organize my thoughts as much as I can.

The end started around lunch time on a Tuesday.  The morning had started as a grey day.  Everyone was expecting rain and tried to dress accordingly.  The strange thing about this day was how wide an area the clouds covered but of course no one really noticed this until a few days after it stopped raining.

There were roughly 310,000,000 people in the United States before it started to rain that day.  No one is quite sure exactly how many people were outside when the rain started to fall, but within about an hour 100,000,000 people were dead.  Within a week the population of the world went from 3,000,000,000 to a little over 800,000,000.  Well within a few months as you can probably imagine the population had a fairly steady decline.

I used to remember about making jokes about how many people killed themselves because of the rain.  I don’t laugh about it anymore.

Can you imagine the sound of 100,000,000 people dying all at once?  Painfully dying?  For the short amount of time that we had some left, the experts could not agree on how or why the rain changed to what it is now.  Now the rain is truly acid.  100,000,000 people melted in the street at roughly the same time.

A short time later the bombs started to fall.  The surviving governments didn’t take a long time to start pointing fingers at each other and those that still had nuclear weapons… well a few got used.  Not enough to destroy the world and put the survivors out of their misery.  As a child I remember reading about nuclear winter and how any survivors of a nuclear holocaust would suffer because of how much material would be suspended in the atmosphere.

I never thought I would ever live to actually experience it.

Well, needless to say those that survived have not had it easy.  Every day more and more people simply cannot find the energy to continue.  More and more people cannot find a good reason to wake up and carry on.  More and more people choose to “dance in the rain”.

I can’t remember the first time I heard that expression.  Once upon a time I was known for my dark sense of humor but even I couldn’t have dreamed up such a wonderfully dark joke.  I am having a tough time recalling all the people I used to know that chose to dance.  These days it is becoming harder to simply find anyone to be with.  I can’t remember how many days have passed since I have spoken to anyone other than myself.

Dammit, I have to stop doing that.  If I dwell on the loneliness it becomes harder to pull myself out of the spiral of depression.

For a time people tried to find each other.  It was easier to handle everything with shoulders to cry and lean upon.  But as with everything, human nature rears its ugly little head.  Groups started to prey upon each other because they had a safer place to live.  They have more food and clean water than we do.  Those people have electricity…

Fuck, I do miss my ipod.  Music, music would help so much right now.

Well after a while I said fuck it and struck out on my own.  Traveling is really hard, there are days that pass where I cannot move at all because of the rains.  Days without rain are becoming more and more rare.  As are dry places to rest.  I know a few people who have banded together and chose to live underground.  It isn’t a bad idea, but something about it just doesn’t work for me.  It seems to much like they are justing simply giving up and are waiting to die.  I think they are simply one small hurricane away from being euthanized.

Someone I had the honor of spending some time with had an interesting idea.  She was heading towards the mountains.  Her idea was to find a mine or a cave to live in. It would provide her with a dry place to live and still have access to the outside for when it was not raining.  I don’t know what happened to her, we spent about a week traveling together and then one day she was gone.  Sadly this is the way of things now.  People will occasionally cross each others paths.  Sometimes you spend time together, sometimes you avoid each other.  Either way we no longer spend a significant length of time with other people.

Too much time alone was not considered a healthy thing back before the rains.

I spent quite a lot of time by myself before, so it hasn’t been quite as hard for me as it has for others.  In some ways I am luckier than most, but well it isn’t getting any easier.  Some company would at least help the time pass.

Since I don’t have a better destination the mountains seem like a good idea.  I have to admit I am really trying to simply find her.  I have maddening hints as to which mountains she is heading for.  The maps I have are pretty ragged and obviously the old road signs are few and far between.

I have been stuck under this over pass for three days now.  I am running low on canned food and well, water is obviously an issue.  There are no signs of the weather letting up, I keep having this sneaking suspicion that I will be stuck here.

Listening to the rain…

Maybe I will find signs of her.

Maybe it will stop raining.

Maybe I will write more tomorrow.

I keep having this dream that I am dancing…

7 Responses to Dancing in the Rain

  1. name (required) says:

    Well written and excruciating. I thought you were being literal about work at first.

  2. Bredan says:

    A very sad and scary story written first-person in a voice that stays, depressingly loud, in your head after you have finished reading. More-so because it brings to one’s attention that it seems we are already in the days where the very rain will become dangerous and staying dry will be just not quite fatal. Here we are, where ignorance, denial and fundamentalist servility to vicious deities is faith; where wanting to learn makes you a “snob,” where compassion is a weakness …. death by rain is surely close at hand. Fukushima Nightingale, Dude.

    If you are going to edit this fucking scary story let me know beforehand so I can ask a friend to hide my single-edged razor blades!

  3. Wayne Manchester says:

    “When words are not enough, we sing. And when words fail us, we dance.” I don’t know who said that but it’s a great quote describing the role of dance and the importance behind it. Dance brings so much joy and can highlight the greatest acheivements possible. Here you play with turning so many of our images on their ear. Dance becomes a metaphore for a desire to die. Rain goes from a symbol of giving life to one of taking life. Lonliness becomes the only way to ensure survival while reaching out to others may mean you are in danger.

    A terrifying yet realistic glimpse of what the world could become and how much we all stand to lose.

    I’m going to go get a hug now :)

  4. I really like this. I can’t wait to see more, if you are planning on expanding it into a longer story.

    • deviousimp says:

      I am indeed. This was the first part that got stuck in my brain, I have been thinking about how I want to expand on the story.

      • Brendan says:

        We are waiting.

      • kevin says:

        it’s a great concept, and the tone of the narrator is weary enough to make expressions of optimism especially poignant. at what point is the best choice to simply join those who’ve washed away?

        the broader strokes are painted. if you’re thinking of expanding it, I’d consider a bit of a suckerpunch for the reader…something like having the narrator relating with someone who’s about to go dance (w/o revealing why that’s maybe not a good idea), having the narrator struggle with what he/she knows to be a suicidal impulse, but the reader is clueless about… then actually painting the picture of the death through the eyes of the narrator–what does it look like when this happens? is there anything left afterwards?

        from there exposition about what just happened could easily unfold and the notion that the average reader would have (i.e. why the hell does this person want to stop the other person from going out in the rain?) would evoke an empathy that comes from not understanding someone’s motives except in retrospect.

        Before the reveal, I’d almost consider revisiting some of the idioms we use about rain—especially about being sweet/made of sugar (and melting), maybe some songs about rain in the mix “rainy days and mondays always get me down” by the carpenters….the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz melting from a bucket of water.. idk, there are an awful lot of possibilities because you’ve set up a very rich concept here. looking forward to reading more.

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