Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rain

Ed told us to wait at the abandoned hospital, at the old steps of the main entrance. It was October 30th and it had been raining for the last four days. The river and all the creeks were swollen and overflowing. The water was loud and peach-colored from all the mud it was carrying. Giant tree stumps and massive logs would shoot by, surfacing and rolling over to briefly show their shiny black bark before disappearing downstream. Lord knows where they ended up. And it was still raining. Hard. And we were sick of it. We knew Halloween was going to be a wet and ruined one. So when Ed had said that Halloween would be a day early this year, we would have waited anywhere he told us to wait.

And there we were - at the old hospital. Listening to the rain streaming down onto the marble steps, onto the leaves of overgrown weeds and trees, and gurgling down broken roof tiles and spraying out over missing gutters. We weren't waiting long when we spotted Ed approaching, walking down our old bike path through the property. He was carrying something in his arms. It looked like an oversized shoe box, rounded at the ends. As he got closer, we could tell it was a wooden box, very old and worn. He placed it on one of the steps and answered our unasked questions. "It's a baby coffin!"

Ed said that the river had swallowed up the oldest part of the town cemetery and had washed away the small hills and tombstones. Caskets were being torn from the ground and he said he found his when he was riding his bike the day before. The small box had been sitting half in the water and half on the yellow centerlines of a road which was currently under the swollen banks of the river. So he scooped it up and took it home. We never knew him to lie, so we circled around the object and listened to his story. He told us the police were aware of the damage and that local farmers had reported a few large caskets which had been floating above their drowned crops. He told us he was going to show his parents the coffin, but something had stopped him. A sound.

Ed told us he heard a scratching sound from inside the casket. And that at first he thought it was probably a rat which had climbed through a small hole in the old wood to get away from the rising water. But the surface was unbroken, and the two clasp locks were still tight, corroded and now one piece with the wood of the box. When we excitedly protested, he simply told us to listen for ourselves.

At that precise moment, the rain stopped.


Image source.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love these. Whenever I scroll down and I don't see "text source" and I realize YOU wrote this stuff I'm not surprised. Everything you write has been fantastic. You could do a whole anthology of 1-2 page mini-stories. Please? Or hey at least organize these on the bloggity blog for easy reading - maybe "Rot Originals"?

Rot said...

HA..thanks.

It's like telling a ghost story to some kids when you know that their parents are coming to pick them up at a specific exact time...so you end the story there..cliffhanger-style : )

I try to remember to tag them with "Ghost Stories" ...so if you click that, most of my stuff will pop up (with a few exceptions).

Thanks!

Colleen said...

Somewhere under there is a very soggy child. :/

Pam Morris said...

oh, s--t! that was a really good one!

crudedoodle.com said...

crap. i didn't know you wrote that until checking out the comments below it. i want to know / don't want to know the ending.
well-done.

Marrow said...

Truly great story... A little sad in some ways. I agree with Anonymous. I'd love to see a 'Rot Stories' tag in the sidebar. And a 'Haunt Theory' one to balance it out too.

Seriously. Do so immediately.

The Gill-Man said...

Truly eerie story! I'd love to see all of your prose collected somehow. I echo the sentiments of my fellow bloggers here when I state that your stories are quite good, and you have an impressive talent for writing. Keep 'em coming!

Anonymous said...

First time on your sight. Loved Rain. Didn't want it to end, but glad it did. Sometimes, that makes for a better story.

Do you ever go back to them (stories) and add to??? That would be awesome.

Rot said...

Thanks, all : )

Nah, never go back to them.

K.O. said...

I completely agree with "Anonymous #1" about the superb quality of your short fiction!
And I also happened to notice that the tombstone in the photo bears the date 4/20. (Stoner humor ... Ha!)

Rot said...

: D

I had to have Bean explain that joke to me ..UGH.

Funny.

Thanks! Glad you dig my stories.

Five of US said...

I discovered you only a month ago. I usually start at the first blog entries and work my way to the current ones, but I love that no matter what year I go to everything is amazing.
Rain is a great short. I have found open denouement is best.